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How Mobile Computing is Redefining Modern IT May 3, 2013

Posted by pvidosa in Modern IT.
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Mobile computing has been taking the world by storm for the past few years.  There is much more of a focus on mobile devices now compared to desktops and laptops.  Consumers are steering towards them because everyone wants to have internet access on the go.  As a result, there is continuous growth in smartphone and tablet sales.  Users are becoming more comfortable with their mobile devices than their PCs.  They have received a certain experience with mobile devices and now they expect that same experience at work.[1]

With employees becoming more comfortable using their mobile devices than their PCs, they have begun bringing them to work to help them become more productive.  Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a new policy that has been created as a result of mobile computing taking off.  This policy allows employees to use their own personal devices for work purposes.[2]  It usually comes with a stipulation that company security software must be installed, but otherwise it can be used for work like any other company issued device.  Security measures can be put into place on the devices so that if they are lost or stolen, they can be wiped remotely.[3]  All corporate data will likely need to be encrypted in case a device is lost or stolen.  Companies may decide to not support all devices as this could be costly, and it could leave them open to vulnerabilities.  Not all devices will have the same ecosystem that will allow for IT management of the device, which may provide those devices from being supported.  IT will also need to provide training to employees on how to take advantage of these security features that are provided and what they should and shouldn’t do with the device.[4]

Enterprise IT managers are finding out that consumerization of IT is not going away and they cannot ignore it.  Instead, they need to embrace it and learn how to accommodate it because there are benefits that will be realized by adopting BYOD.  The customers of IT will be more satisfied with the devices that they are using since they are devices that they picked out themselves and it gives the employees the ability to work anywhere and at anytime.  This can also lead to higher job satisfaction among employees.[5]

Social computing will likely help strengthen mobile computing in the enterprise world.  There are many social apps that are focused on enterprises.  Examples include Yammer, LinkedIn and Tibbr.  Organizations are using these apps to “visually discover relevant people, ideas and activities across the enterprise based on who they are, the people they follow and the apps and files that they interact with.”[6]  These organizations are realizing how dominant mobile computing is becoming and they are creating a “Mobile First mantra” where developers will assume that mobile devices will be “the vehicle through which that application is going to be most often accessed.”[6]

Cloud computing will also help promote mobile computing in the workplace.  Cloud computing in general is a big help to mobile devices.  Devices that have less computational power or available storage space can become much more useful with the cloud.  The cloud can be used to store files that can be accessed from many devices, including PCs, tablets and smartphones.  It can also perform computationally heavy operations that would take much longer on mobile devices and drain more of their battery.  With the use of HTML5, mobile applications can be customized in the cloud for the device that they will run on.  This will help prevent applications from having controls that are too big or too small because it targeted a different device or hasn’t been updated to handle new devices.  This means users can still be productive with mobile devices because of the helping hand they receive from the cloud.[7]

Big data and mobile computing work very well together.  Mobile devices can be used to analyze big data quicker with their specialized mobile applications.  Big data analysis used to be “labor intensive back office functions,” but now mobile workers can quickly and easily run reports on any big data repositories.  These mobile applications allow anyone to use them because of how user friendly they are.  “More mobile analytics apps for the iPad and Android tablets are being launched all the time, and they’re only getting easier to use.”  Graphs and charts can be shown at impromptu meetings since the employee likely has a mobile device on him, but may not be carrying his laptop.  As has been shown, mobile devices can actually make someone’s job easier if they need to analyze big data and it will likely make them more productive.   This shows how much analytics would benefit from mobile computing becoming more widespread in the workplace.  An employee could easily share any sort of graphs at a moment’s notice because of how easy the application is to use.  There are likely individuals that simply want high level views of the data and these applications would be sufficient for them.  These applications would likely be available as web applications so that they are accessible on any device.[8]

A company’s culture could be greatly affected by mobile computing.  Mobile computing could influence managers to allow working off-site or telecommuting.  If employees have mobile devices they have the ability to be productive anywhere and that can include their home.  There are many applications available that allow for close collaboration between employees.[9]  Employees would need to have access to all the content they would have if they were on-site, but it would also need to be done securely, which could be accomplished by using a VPN.  If a telecommuting policy was adopted, it would also likely push for more mobile computing amongst the workforce.[10]

Overall, I see all of these different technologies and topics pushing mobile computing into focus for many businesses because of the benefits it will provide and because everyone is eager to use it.  These devices will make employees more productive, make their jobs easier and make them more satisfied with their job.  The company directly benefits from all of this and they would be wise to adopt mobile computing.

References

1) Grubb, Tom. Defining Modern IT. http://www.nimsoft.com/content/dam/nimsoft/documents/un-secure/ebook/Defining-Modern-IT-ebook1.pdf

2) Ramsey, Matthew. What’s Next in Mobile Computing Part 2 – The BYOD Phenomenon Grows. http://www.golime.co/blog/bid/173090/What-s-Next-in-Mobile-Computing-Part-2-The-BYOD-Phenomenon-Grows

3) Ramsey, Matthew. What’s Next in Mobile Computing Part 3 – Mobile Security. http://www.golime.co/blog/bid/173423/What-s-Next-in-Mobile-Computing-Part-4-Mobile-Security

4) McKendrick, Joe. 10 Steps for writing a Secure BYOD Policy. http://www.zdnet.com/10-steps-for-writing-a-secure-byod-policy-7000006170/

5) McLellan, Charles. Consumerization, BYOD and MDM: What You Need to Know. http://www.zdnet.com/consumerization-byod-and-mdm-what-you-need-to-know-7000010205/

6) Vizard, Michael. Tibco Marries Mobile Computing to Enterprise Social Graph. http://blog.programmableweb.com/2013/05/01/tibco-marries-mobile-computing-to-enterprise-social-graph/

7) Claybrook, Bill.  Cloud Infrastructure for Mobile Application Development. http://searchcloudapplications.techtarget.com/tutorial/Cloud-infrastructure-for-mobile-application-development

8) Kelly, Will. The Convergence of Mobile and Big Data. http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tablets/the-convergence-of-mobile-and-big-data/2591

9) Perlow, Jason.  Yahoo: Fix Your Culture and Get Better Telecommuting Tools. http://www.zdnet.com/yahoo-fix-your-culture-and-get-better-telecommuting-tools-7000011989/

10) Kasrel, Bruce. Does Your Mobile Strategy Reflect your Corporate Culture. https://communities.bmc.com/community/bsm_initiatives/cloud/blog/2013/03/14/does-your-mobile-strategy-reflect-your-corporate-culture

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