Today's IT worker, whether in the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) business or in the Integrated Service Management (ISM) business are increasingly aware of the need to have access to data wherever and whenever they are. With the advent of Smartphones and Tablet computers this need has become more than a passing fad.
Mobile computers (small handheld devices NOT the notebook or laptop computer) have been around since the mid 1990's. These early devices were first deployed to harsh environments where computers were needed to record data, and provide information to the technician in a secure and stable way. Even in the beginning the need to have a device that provided secure reliable data transactions, easy to read screens and easy to input data was paramount. Over time as devices became more powerful and smaller, the needs were the same.
With the introduction of the iPhone the mobile device landscape changed. At one point the only choice was a device that was expensive had a small keyboard and a small screen. Suddenly, many choices were on the market with screen sizes ranging from three to four inches all the way up to ten inches all in an even easier to use format than before. Additionally the ability to use wireless communications (even GPRS and 3G!) made accessibility to server based data even easier and more cost effective.
With all the choices in software and hardware, and the ubiquitous nature of these devices, today's modern user in these businesses want and demand the ability to connect to work environments with their own devices. This trend known as Bring Your Own Device or BYOD means that there are additional corporate challenges. Security and end device management, as well as use of approved software that can connect to corporate systems are just the beginning.
Other issues range from ease of use, screen layout management (i.e. "If we design it for this device will it work on that device?"), content management (less app-oriented and more website-oriented), communications, scalability, sustainability, consumability and of course the ecosystem.
As you can see, the issues are broad and deep. Developing a strategy to address these various issues in concert is a big task. Addressing any one or a few without looking at the broader whole may be easier to accomplish, but doing so may create a risk that is unacceptable to the enterprise trying to work out mobility for its EAM and ISM businesses.
I invite your comments and feedback. Please let me know what you think. Next week I will look at the topic of The Mobil Ecosystem. What is it and why do I care?