Tablets and other hand-held mobile devices can improve employee productivity, contribute to sales enablement and accelerate response time for managers. However, many IT professionals are unprepared to support their adoption in the enterprise and are failing to move toward a user-centric approach to delivering IT services. Many IT managers remain wary of personally owned mobile devices due to potential security concerns.
That’s according to a recent Forrester report: “Manage Mobile and Consumer Devices Safely and Efficiently,” by Stephanie Balaouras and Christopher Voce. If this sounds like you, then you’ll appreciate Forrester’s end-to-end look at best practices in building mobility initiatives. The authors outline four key stages involved in building a successful mobility program that addresses security and cost-control issues. Here’s a quick summary of their recommendations, as we seem them apply to a corporate tablet initiative.
1. Discover: See the Opportunity
To start, evaluate the current state of tablet use in your enterprise. Do you currently allow bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, or are your workers “unofficially” using them in the office? Compare this starting point with the industry’s best practices, so you can identify problem areas and opportunities for improvement. Let your business know that you actively support tablet adoption—you’re on board and committed—so everyone in your enterprise will see IT as a partner and enabler, and they will be less likely to work around you.
2. Plan: Set Your Strategy
Because this initiative will affect many segments of your enterprise, you’ll first need to identify who the key stakeholders are and then find out what is important to them. This puts you in a better position to influence them and lobby for the necessary resources. As with any initiative, you’ll need the support of the folks who hold the purse strings.
You’ll also need to create a presentation or document that defines your mission and clearly proves why it supports business goals. Include a thorough review of your current IT state (pre-tablet), your future IT state (post-tablet) and planned roles and responsibilities. Your tablet initiative will move your IT department from a technology-centric point of view to a business- and user-centric one, so user experience and self-service will be key to making BYOD programs work (if you take that path) and stopping rogue IT initiatives.
3. Act: Execute Your Strategy
Your initiative’s success also depends on your staff, so establish the skills, certifications and training your employees—or external talent, if necessary—will need to make it work. You also have to make a call on BYOD: do you allow your workers to bring their personal tablets into the office, or are only company-issued devices allowed? Whichever route you take, you should enact a usage policy that outlines IT’s right to manage these devices—from monitoring activity, to controlling app downloads, to remotely disabling devices that have been lost or stolen.
Then select the right technologies for managing and securing these tablets. Those technologies may include mobile device management tools (which we explored in an earlier post), cloud services, antivirus and anti-malware applications, and data protection measures.
4. Optimize: Measure Your Results
Now comes the fun part—seeing whether your strategy is delivering results and finding ways to create further improvement. Manage the performance of your tablet initiative by comparing your results against your milestone objectives every six months. Perform competitive analysis with your peers, too, to see if they support personally owned devices and to discover what security controls they use. Track your operational effectiveness as well. Determine if any rogue devices have accessed your network, and if all the tablets in your workforce have the required security and operations profiles.
And don’t forget to continually engage your key stakeholders about your tablet initiative. You can’t simply get their buy-in once and stop. You need to keep them committed to your initiative through communication, relationship building and “IT marketing,” which Forrester defines as “the business activity of presenting IT products, services and capabilities to constituents in a way that makes them eager to fund and utilize.”
It’s interesting that Forrester thinks enterprise tablet adoption is inevitable. By advising IT leaders to take the lead and develop their own tablet programs—with a focus on security and manageability—it seems they’re ready to consider tablets a necessary mobile technology in the workplace.
Does your organization support tablets yet? Do your employees bring tablets in anyway? Let us know how you meet these mobility management challenges.
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