The Business-Technology Weave

Jun 27 2013   9:08AM GMT

SMB: Going Mobile?

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott

More and more workplace environments are either “going mobile” (planning, developing, implementing, and making effective use of mobile apps and associated devices), or contemplating such a move.

It’s certainly becoming necessary, given the competitive nature of business, and the explosion of “business-ready” personal devices.  Necessary is:

  • The procurement of mobile devices by the organization, and the assignment of these assets to users.
  • Or – the authorization and use of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) personal assets.
  • Also, many orgs do a mix of their own capital assets, and allow users’ BYOD assets where there is a fit.  BYOD saves on capital expenditure.

For organizations still contemplating mobile, or already mobile but grappling with issues, recognize that you must consider some very important fundamentals:

1.  Is your user body prepared?  That is, are workers up-to-date in a general sense regarding modern security measures for any online work-related efforts?  Do you have a plan for maintaining security awareness?  Regularized training is essential.

2.  Prior to integrating mobile apps and making them central to your mission, ensure your user-body is confident.  Naturally, users must be trained in apps’ use, but they must also gain troubleshooting skills and be ready to perform some measure of those tasks, being that mobile means they’ll frequently be conducting work out-of-house, and away from the convenience of a HelpDesk..

3.  It’s also important that users connect safely and securely, whether through WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, etc., networks.

4.  Ensure a robust Mobile Workforce Policy.  Ideally, you should have a general Security Policy that overarches everything “business” and “IT,” with relevant sections.  For example, there should be an Acceptable Use Policy within Security, which details how work equipment is to be utilized, along with communications policies.  Organization-owned devices, to include mobile, should be listed with appropriate guidance.  Too, there should be a section regarding personally-owned mobile devices, and their integration and use within the org:  This is the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) element of the policy, and it’s imperative to detail guides, limits, and allowances.

Ensure that a robust technical support condition exists for mobile enablement:  Spec up that department.  Be certain to match hours, knowledge, and support to mobile expectations and requirements.  Define support with appropriate definitions, policies, and support personnel.  Do this by surveying business stakeholders, governance, business-mission requirements, and identify all areas that mobile is expected to fill in your organization.

Then, set up your mobile project:  Identify, spec, and procure your devices.  Develop or procure your apps.  Adjust your backend (accommodate new storage, bandwidth, and processing requirements).  Train staff and internal support personnel.

Do this within the formal scope of a project, with a Project Manager.  He or she will negotiate and manage budget, timeline, milestones, resources, personnel, vendor(s), and contingency accommodations for the truly “unforeseeables” that inevitably pop up.

NP:  Neil Young, Time Fades Away, vinyl.

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