Mastering Mobile Device Management in the Age of BYOD
Do you know which devices (and how many of them) are connected to your corporate network -- or your customers' networks? Does the thought of it make your stomach churn? Chances are your users (or your customers) aren’t going to let you know.
Do you know which devices (and how many of them) are connected to your corporate network — or your customers' networks? Does the thought of it make your stomach churn? Chances are your users (or your customers) aren’t going to let you know. They’ll be using their smartphones and tablets to connect to the networks, download apps, conduct conference calls, give sales presentations – and expect to be able to synchronize their data and function seamlessly across everything whenever they want.
There has been a lot of buzz lately about how the consumerization of IT and “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend is enabling workers to get more done and become more proactive no matter what their functional role is. Some key questions to think about are:
- What does this mean for IT and how it manages its evolving networks?
- How can IT executives gain control over device usage within their companies?
- What are the key criteria of a solid mobile device management (MDM) system?
- How can companies make optimum use of these tools for the benefit of the business?
When embarking on the road to mobile device management, adequate planning will play a key role in a solid rollout strategy. This planning exercise can be used as an internal communication platform for the evolution of how IT is provisioned in your organization. After all, this is happening anyway. Why not be ahead of the curve?
Step One: Establish an inventory of the devices in use at your organization and/or your customer sites, who’s using them, what they’re being used for – and predict how that usage is likely to evolve. Split your organization into user profiles either based on functional role, or if you can measure usage, the simple taxonomy of light, medium, heavy. You will find that the accountant with the smart phone who checks in has very different needs than the field sales executive.
Step Two: Reach out to department leaders and/or executives within your customer base. Talk to them about how you’re building a plan to support the effective use of mobile devices in the organization. Knowing what devices and apps are in use will enable the planning, training and implementation steps needed to deliver a cohesive roll-out that’s supported by your internal stakeholders. We all know that when people see themselves as part of the solution rather than part of the problem, they are often much more willing to help.
Step Three: Armed with this information, the next step is to develop the mobile device policy. If you have one already, it’s almost certainly going to need updating. If you don’t, start now. A good place to start is the Enterprise Mobility Forum, which publishes an extensive set of guidelines for policy development that you can download from their site as a PDF.
Don’t try to get over-ambitious at the beginning. Start with the basics by determining the following:
- Who is entitled to have a business-supported mobile device (based on organizational role)
- What devices you’re going to support (based on what’s already out there)
- Who pays for that device (both initial purchase and ongoing expenses)
- What constitutes acceptable use of that device
- What apps you’re going to support and where those apps may be acquired
- User responsibilities and penalties for non-compliance
After taking these few initial steps, you’ll have a much better view of your company’s device ecosystem and the policies necessary to support it.
Tim Hillison is VP of global marketing at NTRglobal, a specialist in cloud-based remote connectivity solutions for IT service management and external customer support. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of Talkin’ Cloud’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of NTRglobal's guest blogs here.