Let’s stop pandering to the CIO, seriously. I was sitting listening to research-backed product launch this week and the overwhelming message was, “be ready, people may want to bring their own devices to work.” Be ready? Really? We’re there today, and the last thing that a CIO and her lieutenants need is more data and pithy bullet points to illustrate what’s already plainly obvious. Mobile is here and growing fast but it needs to be managed. Controlling devices won’t cut it, and simply looking at data controls via technology isn’t the answer either. Rather, a growing, orchestrated governance and technology base must be built that allows adaptive controls over mobile. If mobile represents the heart of an organization’s future technology, an the ability to take an adaptive approach to it likely signals the strength of the larger organization. The Adaptive Organization is a theme you’ll see flow through Altimeter’s research this year and next and goes well beyond mobile though mobility management is a key disruption that will showcase the power of adaptive organizations vs. those who choose to react and control technology.
Building A Reference Architecture
As I wrap up my next building out the elements of an adaptive mobility management platform, it’s clear we have not yet crested the “mobility management” hill. There seem to be an endless number of views sprouting up advocating for control over devices, data or applications and more than a few vendors doing a couple of these things simultaneously. The reference architecture I advocate – the mobile control plane – is not a single box with the letters “M-D-M” or “M-A-M” inside it. Those boxes are there but they never stand alone.
IBM has been conducting its Global CEO study for close to the last decade, one element in this year’s IBM’s Global CEO Study - which takes input from over 1,700 global business leaders – shows a link between thriving for control vs. creating an infrastructure of openness. Underperforming firms – 1/3 of them – seek control whereas more than half – 55% – of outperforming firms embrace openness and collaboration. In our research at Altimeter, we see a strong link between being open (just look at our research model) and market success.
Building a mobile control plane is an effort that must be comprised of technology and governance, with components that provide additive value to MDM (technology like application management, data security, federated ID, and governance links to HR and Legal for policy design) sows the seeds for becoming an adaptive organization that can take mobile devices of many types and from any source and safely and cost-effectively. In doing this, the line of business can harness the multiplicative advantage of giving the right tools to workers for use anywhere they are and IT can manage it all both now and as the stack grows. This openness to new technology is at the heart of innovation and performance. This is about more than managing iPhones.
A decision point has emerged for IT managing the influx of mobile: react and try to sieze control (as we did with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server of yore, with byzantine policy support and one device choice) or be proactive and build a stack of governance and technology that grows with the changes in technology. We’re long past the days of a single device and set of policy, and are headed toward a future that’s about more than just smartphones and tablets.
As the number of addressable devices, and therefore complexity grows in an organization, so too does opportunity.
This doesn’t happen overnight, however, and even those firms committed to being supportive of mobile for the long run need to grow their adaptive IT organization organically, this happens in three phases:
- Connect: At the most basic level, MobileDevice Management can allow us to connect company-wide resources like email to the devices we deploy to our employees or that they, themselves bring into the organization. With the ability to enforce passwords, lock devices and wipe them when lost, paired with the potential to filter the information that makes its way to devices via policy, risk is relatively low but so are returns.
- Configure: As our users demand apps and we either source or build them, we find that in addition to managing the device, we need to get some more information on the user from a central identity repository, apply policy to the data in its varying forms and provide lifecycle management to the applications on the device is key. We invest in more technology that takes control to data and policy to applications. We assume a bit more risk and need more controls as a result but users are more productive in their various roles.
- Coordinate: When the mobile control plane is built out connections into other systems are possible. In addition to linking governance with legal, risk and HR to automate updates to policy ensuring security of data, we begin to see links into other systems, digital loss prevention (DLP) network access control (NAC) and even physical security.
Getting to a state of true coordination – a future goal for most – will rely on an platform of control that allows for protection of devices, data, individuals and identity and even a mix thereof. With more employees carrying multiple devices today, and expectations of a connected future via the “sentient world” CIOs need to begin thinking now about how they build an organization that will take any user, on any device, and provide the proper resources on the fly, automatically. Being an adaptive organization means being ready for what’s coming next in mobile.