We believe that companies must focus on building out a mobile strategy that addresses the peculiarities inherent in mobile computing. The strategy leverages a number of uses across a variety of lines of businesses within the company so as to maximize the ROI (return on investment), standardize on architectures and platforms, and provide the most secure infrastructure available to eliminate (as much as is possible) extremely costly data loss and security breaches inherent in mobile business. Below we briefly present seven important steps companies should take to formulate an effective mobile strategy.
Defining risks- Before a realistic assessment of any mobile strategy can be put in place, companies must define evaluation criteria. Indeed, many companies look at technology and applications in isolation, without defining any potential risks to the organization: both risks if the project is undertaken and also if it is not.
Knowing the limits of technology- It is imperative that companies not only examine the abilities of any technology to provide needed functionality, but also to explore any limits of the chosen technology. Setting realistic expectations for any mobile technology, both to IT resources deploying the solution and to the ultimate users, is a necessary component of any successful mobile strategy.
Protecting data from loss- Companies must take concrete and immediate steps to assure protection of mobile corporate information assets. Security must be a multi-faceted approach and encompass a variety of techniques covering all areas of exposure.
Compliance in the mobile enterprise- There has been a virtual plethora of security breaches in the past 1-2 years. The move to mobility, with far more devices "free to roam wild," will cause a major upsurge in occurrences of data breaches, some of which may not even be discovered, or not discovered for a significant period of time. Companies must formulate a mobile security strategy, before the problem becomes overwhelming.
Getting the organization on-board- Formulating an effective mobile strategy within any organization requires bringing a representative portion of the entire population into the process. While IT may be the most appropriate to evaluate the technology, it is incumbent on the organization to get buy-in from a variety of groups involved in creating, supporting and deploying mobile solutions.
Measuring success- It is important from the outset to assess what "success" means in any mobile strategy. Too often, companies embark on a strategy that has no real measurement or follow up to see if the strategy was implemented successfully. Each company will have somewhat different metrics, but all companies should evaluate their mobile strategy based on pre-determined metrics to which all groups can agree.
Staying flexible and embracing change- Companies should not assume that once created, a mobile strategy is a fixed and/or finished product. Indeed, with the high rate of change in the marketplace (e.g., devices, connection types, applications), it is incumbent upon the organization to monitor and modify the policy on a regular basis.
Jack Gold is president and founder of J. Gold Associates. He has over 35 years experience in the computer and electronics industries, and he is a leading authority on mobile, wireless, computing infrastructure and enterprise application strategies. He is a highly regarded expert on computer hardware, software and architecture. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.