Mobile device management in the workplace: A guide for CIOs

Mobile devices enable flexibility previously unimaginable in the workplace, but they carry concerns about security and compliance. Learn more in our mobile device management guide.

The IT world has felt this before: the exhilarating mix of energy and apprehension as a brand-new technology arrives in the workplace and ends up transforming it. In the 19th century, that technology was the typewriter. In the 20th century, it was the mainframe, then, in quick succession, the desktop, the personal computer, the laptop and -- last but not least -- the Internet. In this century, the latest transformative technology is...

mobility.

Like the Internet, mobile device technology originated in the consumer marketplace, not in the corporate world. Gartner Inc., however, goes so far as to predict that by 2014 -- only three years from now -- 90% of companies will support their corporate applications on mobile devices. As one SearchCIO.com columnist has aptly put it, mobility is going to rock the business world.

If you're not yet up to speed on mobility, this guide can help. It covers mobile device management, mobile device and data security, mobile application strategies and social media on mobile devices.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefings section.

Table of contents

  Mobile device management
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If mobile device management is not at the top of your agenda, take a look at these numbers from leading research firms: IDC predicts the smartphone market will grow by nearly 50% this year, and the number of these phones in use will surpass 450 million. In addition, Deloitte LLP forecasts companies will buy more than 10 million iPads this year.

Gartner Inc. predicts that 90% of companies will support corporate applications on personal mobile devices by 2014. By that date, 80% of companies will have a mobile workforce armed with tablets, with the iPad expected to dominate the market through 2015, according to the Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy.

CIOs simply can't afford to repeat the mistake they made with the iPhone -- namely, dismissing these new tablets as toys for the elite, experts warn. These little business and personal computers are here to stay.

Learn more in "CIOs scrambling to adapt mobile device management to a BYOD era." Also:

  Mobile device and data security
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As mobile devices proliferate, CIOs are re-examining a few thorny issues surrounding mobile data security: relaxing BlackBerry-only policies, budgeting for unknown smartphone costs and backing up a variety of endpoint devices.

It's increasingly clear that large organizations are approaching a tipping point in adopting mobile devices, according to The Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. (ESG), a research firm in Milford, Mass. Of the total number of endpoint devices in all organizations, there still are twice as many desktop PCs as laptop PCs. That ratio shifts, however, as the number of an organization's employees increases, according to ESG research: In large enterprises, nearly half (48%) of endpoint devices are something other than a desktop PC.

This new mobile paradigm -- propelled by advances in miniaturization, communications and applications -- requires new mobile data security strategies, experts say. One surprising development is the trend toward less stringent policies regarding the use of personal devices to connect with corporate data.

Learn more in "Mobile data security spans policies, budgets and backups." Also:

  Mobile application strategies
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With the use of mobile devices to access business applications exploding, companies are under pressure to craft a mobile application strategy for their workforce and for customers. The key tasks for CIOs, experts say, are first, to understand what their organization is trying to achieve with mobility -- and second, to decide what IT has to do with any of that. (Hint: You might be out in the cold already.)

Executing on an organization's goals for either its workforce or its customers won't necessarily be easy, according to SearchCIO.com interviews with experts and digital media experts across a spectrum of industries. First, there are the technical challenges related to adapting applications to the plethora (8,000, by some estimates) of mobile computing devices in use. Second, there are the fundamental business questions raised by any application deployment. Organizations need to know who is accessing which business applications and for what purpose, experts stressed -- before they start optimizing content and delivery for computing devices.

"It is important to identify what your mobile population is accessing, and what device they are using," said Apoorv Durga, an analyst at Olney, Md.-based Real Story Group. An organization's text, video and audio content, as well as its layout's look and feel, all have to be adapted to mobile devices' various screen sizes and capabilities, he said.

Learn more in "CIOs need a mobile application strategy, but crafting one isn't easy." Also:

  Social media on mobile devices
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The Vanguard Group Inc., the mutual fund giant with some $1.4 trillion in assets under management, considers itself a conservative company. "We have not adopted business-casual at work yet," said Abha Kumar, principal for IT at the Valley Forge, Pa.-based investment management company. "We are very, very risk averse."

And yet, the company has embraced corporate social media and Web 2.0 tools as an integral part of its business model. Vanguard was early among mutual fund firms, according to industry trackers, to launch a public blog. The company has staked a claim on the major social networking platforms, with a Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence, a Twitter account and the Vanguard Channel on YouTube.

Vanguard has more than 3,800 wiki pages, and collaboration sites are proliferating. IT staff, for example, can work on projects internally and from outside the company's four walls via collaboration sites on the "IT Hub." Vanguard employees interested in learning more about exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, a relatively new area for the company, can tap into a collaboration site to consult with experts and get information.

So, why is a non-casual-Friday investment management firm in a heavily regulated industry a leader in corporate social media communication and collaboration tools?

Learn more in "Why a conservative mutual fund company loves corporate social media." Also:

  More resources
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This was first published in May 2011

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