Last week we discussed how mobility is simply not just about technology anymore. However IT departments still play a critical role, especially as it relates to data and information management. As you look ahead to 2013, consider these five tips for managing the mobile world.

  1. Use it! To fully understand the implications of mobile computing in your organization, and to completely appreciate the impact this will have on data management or business intelligence efforts, start using an iPhone, iPad, Google’s Nexus One, Motorola Droid, or even a Blackberry. There are a number of solid mobile business intelligence applications on the market that you can use to gather information. There are a number of other mobile applications you can play with to access your enterprise network to understand ways other users in the organization will likely behave. Knowing is half the battle.
  1. Mobile Device Support: As stated earlier, mobile computing inside a nonprofit or charity is here to stay since it is now a part of our lifestyle and culture. But you can define and determine which mobile devices are the best fit for your enterprise architecture in terms of security, usability, applications, etc. If your policy is to provide mobile devices for employees, you can control which devices are selected and deployed based on tip #1 – hands on experience with multiple devices. If your policy is to allow users to purchase their own mobile devices, provide a clear policy in terms of which devices are supported and which ones are not.
  1. Data and Information Access: This is the crux of the entire discussion around mobile, and should be made infinitely simpler if points 1 and 2 have been followed – understand the impact of mobile on your environment, and understand which devices will have the least impact while delivering the most value. Implementing any sort of policy around data and information access should be much easier if the earlier homework has been done.
  1. Security Isn’t Everything: Don’t get bogged down in the security arguments that will inevitably happen. Security will most likely want to lock down the mobile devices to the point that they become useless paperweights, but this is unrealistic. Security is, and always will be, important – especially as devices get smaller, get lost and get stolen more frequently. However, education and some measures such as password protection and remote wipe (once the device is reported stolen, then the help desk can wipe it clean over the air) will meet the needs of most organizations. Balance risk, usability and cost carefully.
  1. Go Mobile: Challenge application development teams to design everything for a mobile platform. This will encourage application developers to think about and embrace mobility, and will likely be a big hit with employees (and supporters) that are already using mobile devices.

If a charity is more advanced regarding their approach to mobility and it’s impact on the workforce, create a mobile application that encourages feedback from employees to rate their mobile experience at work.  What are likes and dislikes when it comes to using mobility inside or outside of the workplace to get work done? What improvements do the employees recommend? IT leadership might be surprised.

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