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Policy and process: Mobile management, Part VII:

Mobile policies and processes need to be thoroughly evaluated and to look beyond the answers of vendors as IT departments extend mobile solutions to larger groups of mobile workers.

A discussion of corporate mobility management necessitates mention of our old friends policy and process. Today, IT departments are deploying mobile solutions to focused activity profiles such as field service, field sales and management; but as we extend enterprise communications and computing to larger groups of mobile workers, a maturing set of best practices will facilitate the process.

Corporate Mobile Management Series
Part I: Introduction

Part II: Mobility and enterprise management

Part III: A crisis of architecture and process

Part IV: Mobile-specific management solutions

Part V: Carrier mobile device management approaches in the enterprise  

Part VI: Security, certificates and authentication

Part VII: Policy and process

Part VIII: Best practices for corporate mobile device management
If you spend your days looking at RFPs for mobile solutions, you will see a common theme: a lack of process and policy. As a matter of fact, many IT organizations are looking to their vendors to define the policy, articulate the process, and back-fill with technology and services. On top of that, those same IT departments are hit with serious sticker shock when the proposals come in, enumerating each and every task involved from contract negotiation, service-level agreements and vendor management to device fulfillment, software loads, asset management and break-fix.

We started this series saying that – at some point in the future – a CIO (perhaps the CIO at your company) will say that the enterprise is mobile and that mobile computing is enterprise computing. At that time, nothing will be "special" about mobility, but it is worth noting the difference between "special" and "different." And mobility is both similar to and different from enterprise management. Mobility is similar to enterprise management in that mobile management platforms seek to accomplish similar objectives to traditional enterprise management platforms. But mobility is different in the added levels of security, policy and process required.

And thus the question of policy and process is that traditional enterprise management platforms have yet to contemplate the policies and processes necessary to make mobility work across the enterprise. So do we write our own policies? Do we develop our own processes? And do these policies and processes exist in a vacuum?

The answer, as we stated in the beginning of the series, is that we need to develop policies in light of the existing processes of enterprise management. We already know what we seek to accomplish, and we already know how to do it with our fixed assets.

Instead of asking our vendors, our partners and our wireless operators to define our policies for us, we should look within our own IT organizations for best practices and technologies we can extend outward. The answer to the perennial question of policy and process for managing mobility lies within.

Daniel Taylor
About the author: Daniel Taylor is managing director for the Mobile Enterprise Alliance, Inc. (MEA), and he is responsible for global alliance development, programs, marketing and member relations. He brings over fourteen years of high technology experience and is well known as a subject matter expert on many of the aspects of mobility, including wireless data networking, security, enterprise applications and communications services. Prior to the MEA, Dan held a number of product marketing and development positions in the communications industry.

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