Think Your Enterprise Was 'Born Ready' for Mobile? Think Again.

Think Your Enterprise Was 'Born Ready' for Mobile? Think Again.

Summary: Impulse shopping for point solutions to your mobile management and app development woes makes little sense. Too bad many organizations are doing just that.


"You ready?" "I was BORN ready." There's a reason this line is a cliche of cheesy action movies, and the comedies that make fun of them (video): it's utter nonsense, and likely to cause Big Trouble in your Little Enterprise.

Yet, that's the attitude of far too many enterprise IT departments, who think (wrongly) that managing thousands of desktop PCs has prepared them for the mobile device wave. Think again. Most corporate PCs are non-mobile, run the same operating system (Windows), can be controlled and secured by dozens of systems management applications. And they were bought by IT, usually from the same manufacturer. And they've been around for decades.

None of that applies to smartphones and tablets. According to a recent survey of IT managers by Computerworld magazine, 45% of enterprises support 3 or more mobile OS platforms, while 21% support 4 or more.

Apart from Sybase's own Afaria, which has led the Mobile Device Management market for the last nine years according to IDC, there is a shortage of mature cross-platform MDM offerings.

And it's consumers bringing mobile devices into the enterprise, not the IT department. According to my estimate based on IDC data, consumers will buy nine times more tablets than businesses.

On getting your enterprise ready for mobile, Jack 'Born Ready' Burton should *NOT* be your role model.

That has some organizations paralyzed unsure what to do, while others are more overtly drowning in devices. The bar now is set so low that companies that are simply putting out fires - rewriting their policies to grudgingly allow non-company-issued smartphones access to the network, or hastily rolling out a device security point solution - pat themselves for their quick reactions.

The long-term results of this sort of hyperactive tactics and impulse buying - what Sybase's Dan Ortega quips "an enterprise lumbering into mobility ad hoc" - are never good.

Not only is your TCO usually higher - think of the horror of cobbling together multiple point solutions yourself - but you leave free money on the table as your ROI from deploying business apps without an advance plan, strange to you but no one else, disappoints.

The solution to this isn't easy. But depending on your organization, a unified middleware approach can be the right start.

Check out this new white paper, "What's the Point? Comparison: Mobile Middleware vs. Point Solutions" to get some insight as to whether a middleware/Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) approach makes sense or not.

Topics: ÜberTech, iPad, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets

Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at ÜberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

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  • RE: Think Your Enterprise Was 'Born Ready' for Mobile? Think Again.

    Thanks for the article Eric! Creating awareness about how to manage the growing mobile workforce and how it differs from managing desktop computers is extremely important. I appreciate that you called attention to the fact that employees are bringing in their own devices and the challenges that creates for IT. Odyssey Software (the company I represent) provides a type of mobile device management system that allows organizations to deal with the ongoing struggle of managing the mobile workforce. Our software is able to set policies across multiple devices from multiple platforms so that IT can maintain management and employees can use the device of choice. Thanks again!
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