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Power-to-the-People Technology

With more companies adopting ‘bring-your-own-device’ policies, and more employees now also using personal apps at work managing mobility is getting more complicated. Still, it doesn’t have to be hard.

Mobile technologies have a long history of user-driven innovation, starting with SMS. Operators developed SMS so that they could send subscribers service announcements, such as ‘you have a new voice mail’. Users took this simple service and created the largest social communication network ever. Current volumes now exceed some nine trillion messages per year globally.

We’re seeing the same phenomenon in the enterprise. It started with people bringing their own mobile devices (known as BYOD) to work, and demanding that IT accommodate them, or setting up their corporate email themselves without asking permission. Today, just as IT departments are getting a handle on managing security and access for the devices themselves, users are pushing the boundaries again with apps. Employees are using personal apps on company devices and business apps on personal devices.

It’s enough to make your IT department pulling their hair out. But it doesn’t have to be.

IDG and SAP (my employer) put together a free mobile playbook about managing mobility, The App-Happy Enterprise. It’s the second in a three-part series of playbooks that I’ve been profiling since last week.

Whether you’re worried about corporate data being stored on cloud-based storage systems, or the fact that as much as 70 percent of your company’s intellectual property is ‘living on email alone’ (says industry research firm IDC), this playbook covers the basics of mobile device management at the enterprise level, with best practices and next steps to guide you along.

Take Tommy Hilfiger, the clothing company. One of its mobile apps provides a full catalogue of the company’s collections, so the sales team can use tablets to walk customers through each time there’s a new line. Another app gives employees access to core business processes when they’re out of the office. It’s all centralized and secure. By taking a long view and a proactive approach, the company turned what might have been a security risk into a strategic advantage.

So, check it out. Get App Happy.