We’re Just Trying to Find Our Place in the World

By Andy Marken

I wouldn't make a hasty decision. Nobody can make a snap decision. We've got to consider the pros and cons, make a list, and get advice.” – Frank Stark, Rebel Without a Cause, Warner Bros (1955)


Since the mainframe days, people have complained that Information Technology folks were slow to respond, slow to deliver, over budget.  Unisys’ latest report that IT people are willing to ignore the consumerization of IT only reinforces this old saw.  According to them, IT has its collective heads in the sand.

That’s a lot more newsworthy than saying IT has a helluva’ job on its hands giving company people on-the-go what they want and need and keeping the company jewels safe and secure! Sure, it reinforces all of the reasons folks have given for bringing in and using their own notebooks, smartphones, and tablets.  The rationale is that work/home life had blurred so much that they might as well use the device(s) they use to take care of business when they’re home-- to take care of home stuff at work. 

 

Jim Stark looked at the new kids and said, You read too many comic books.”

 

With the new-found tools/power, they got creative developing little work-arounds so they could go into the information rich company databases and gather the information, find the answers that their customers and their bosses wanted/needed.  Of course, then you just have to flaunt your newly found power by making dazzling presentations for the boss on your tablet (iPad). 

 

As for the bosses, what kind of leader will they be if they don’t have the latest, best?

 

Right?

 

The problem is how do you manage, implement and protect something that is changing right before your eyes.

 

Consumerization  On Everyone’s Mind

                                             Source - IDC

 

ConsumerizationFirms large and small have come to an uneasy truce with employees who want to use their own devices for business and home.  Whether the company provides the device – notebook, smartphone, tablet – or reimburses the employee, the IT challenge goes beyond just “hookin’ ‘em up,” it adds a whole new dimension to security.  Source - IDC

 

No Enterprise Support

Even though Jobs and his team tell everyone they didn’t care about the enterprise, they are offering companies great volume buys.  It’s a good thing they’re making the very best products for the consumer who is…employed somewhere. 

 

You sly dawg you…

 

It’s probably why Apple’s marketshare finally inched back up to 10 percent in the U.S. (still hovering around 5 percent in ROW).  We didn’t think much about it because we use our two devices – notebook and smartphone – for day-in, day-out business all the time.    However, some of our folks are real power users so naturally they have a notebook, smartphone (iPhone), tablet (iPad).

 

That’s what happens when you hire folks who don’t know what a typewriter or fax is.  But at the recent Mobile Computing Summit, it was pretty obvious these folks knew what the rebels wanted as well as the jobs they had been hired to do…protect, serve.  

 

Device Support Emerging

 

            Source - IDC

 

Pick Your Priorities – Reduced staffs, expanded priority lists and a rainbow of operating systems/devices has placed a heavy workload on IT teams--not just to deliver apps and applets, but to also ensure the enterprise’s IP (intellectual property) is safe and secure.  Source - IDC

 

It’s really true…mobility is the new computing platform.  The way business is today, the idea of a work/personal device has a lot of merit. 

Judy looked at her iPhone (she had named it) and said, I love you, Jim. I really mean it” The challenge is we don’t really trust either of the leading mobile OS (iOS, Android) stores.

 

Off  the Rack

Somehow, buying a business-class app off the same rack you bought/downloaded Angry Birds, the rest of your games and music just doesn’t seem right.  BYOD limits the visibility IT has into the mobile environment when users install their apps because “hey it’s my device.”

 

Sure, Apple and Google check each app that’s submitted to their stores, but how well do you really check 1,000s of apps a day?  What are you really checking for…salability?

 

More importantly if the business app is available off-the-shelf to anyone with a PayPal account how private, secure is office data on your device?

Of course there’s nothing wrong with buying/loading/using casual things on the device (it’s yours after all):

-        Social site links

-        Entertainment

-        Utilities

-        Games

-        Lifestyle stuff

 

App Development Priorities

 

               Source – Applecator, IDC

 

Platform Targets – Apple’s devices are at the top of their lists for a lot of employees. They’re also the design platform of choice for company app developers.  But within every company, every department, the list of “gotta’ have” is always slightly different.  Source – Applecator, IDC

 

But business apps need to come from the company store – either a major third-party supplier (Oracle, SAP, SalesForce) or better yet, from people who understand what you want/what you need.  You know, apps like:

-        Productivity

-        Document management

-        Sales force automation

-        Business messaging, communications

-        Finance, operations, customer support

 

Jim Stark stared at the list and announced, You can wake up now, the universe has ended.”

 

Rules Changed

Face it, the rules of the business/IT game have changed.   IF consumerizing your enterprise IT activities wasn’t bad enough, you have to take into consideration your people may have an Android phone, iPad, Windows notebook.  Sure, Apple is starting to offer an OS that runs across all platforms and Microsoft demonstrated the capability with Win 8, but Google?  

 

Really?  

 

Get serious!

 

Get to Work Team

No wonder people are starting to talk about IT people becoming app developers.

 

Which Technologies Will Be Top Priorities for Your Organization

Over the Next Year?

Source – Yankee Group

 

Want It All – Ask the company’s management to list their business/IT priorities and everything rises to the top.  The problem is budget realities settle in and they choose those with the fastest payback.   That’s usually mobile device and collaborative apps.  The rest are on the “quick” list.  Source – Yankee Group

 

Buzz Gunderson looked over at them and commented, You know something? I like you.  You gotta do something.”  But it ain’t that simple.

 

We can see the importance of developing apps/mini-apps that help individuals and departments dig into, use and share a specific set of data from the company’s deep, rich treasure trove of information; but it’s a whole new set of skills. 

The support resources, the infrastructure for a mobile environment is pretty different from what you previously had “in house.” 

 

IT/app development teams have to:

-        Support multiple mobile OSes, multiple carrier implementations

-        Integrate mobile device management with current PC/server tools

-        Protect data in-the-air that is being sent between the mobile device/server

-        Ensure that since you’re dealing with a set of standardized, rich, native APIs (application programming interface) develop strong anti-malware solutions and constantly test them

-        Understand that users can and will install apps IT will need to support

 

Lots of Responsibility

IT has a lot less control and a whole lot more responsibility in the consumerized

world:  

-        Devices, platforms, apps are usually dictated by the boss or department head(s)

-        BYOD limits IT’s visibility into the mobile environment

-        Deployment/enhancement control is with the SW/HW provider, carrier – OS upgrades, patches

-        Multiple platforms mean multiple app development projects

-        Users have high expectations that everything in “their company’s system” will be as flexible, easy-to-use as Steve said it would be

-        Users can – and will – bypass IT’s mobile security controls using cloud, sync services and attach other stuff to the company’s infrastructure

 

Jim Stark looked at the changes and lamented, I don't know what to do anymore. Except maybe die.”

 

Good, bad and mediocre apps are being thrown onto the market at a record pace and security is…questionable.

 

Devices in Enterprises

 

                              Source - IDC

 

Enterprise Adoption – With the ability to handle calls, email and focused applications, smartphones are sweeping across almost every company.   Tablets are gaining considerable attention, first in the marketing department and then spreading more slowly with others.  Source - IDC

 

Smartphones are rather narrow devices, but there are more than 100M in use and about 50M tablets.  Attacks in/through a corporate device can be devastating…ask BofA, Citi, FBI, CIA, DOD.  It’s pretty easy…just ask the people who used to work at Murdock’s News of the World. 

 

Jim Stark stepped back and said, I don't want any trouble.”

 

IT’s Moving Challenge

               Source - IDC

 

IT’s Moving Target – Today’s IT department is in a constant state of flux as it works to guide/deliver/control business apps being used inside the company to ensure everyone has the information he/she needs when/where it is needed.   At the same time, they struggle to protect enterprise data from attack as well as archive files government officials may determine – the company needs to provide – at some point and time.  Source - IDC

 

Consumerized mobile computing is developing at a breathtaking pace and it is pretty hard to have rigid, formal rules/guidelines for something evolving that rapidly.Management and users certainly aren’t going to sit on the sidelines waiting for someone to determine how/where they can use their devices for the company’s good. 

 

Of course there are also legal requirements that are being ‘invented.”   You know monitoring, archiving, e-discovery.  Then too there’s that “little” fact that it’s the users’ device(s) so who is responsible when their personal data is intermixed with corporate information?

 

Who’s responsible if their stuff is lost in the course of company business?

 

The first job for IT folks is to mobilize, support the workforce as economically as possible.  Ensure that the entire ecosystem is as safe, secure as possible.

 

The rest?  The race is on!

 

 

As Jim Stark pleaded, “You're tearing me apart!”