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How Mobile Computing is Redefining Modern IT May 2, 2013

Posted by downeyjm in Modern IT.
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There are several areas that are having a major impact on modern IT such as big data, analytics, corporate culture, social computing, and cloud computing.  However, One of the more interesting and impactful ones is mobile computing as mobile devices become ubiquitous within our society.  The popularity and capabilities of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are constantly increasing and as such have become embedded into many people’s everyday lives and is having a major effect on IT.  It presents many challenges, but also brings many exciting new possibilities to an enterprise.

It is helping shape policies such as BYOD which figures to become a part of 85% of companies by 2020 [1].  BYOD promises to increase productivity and decrease costs, but not without significant technical challenges on IT.   It is important for a company to have a good plan in implementing BYOD in order for it to be successful.  It is suggested any company considering BYOD should first determine the current level of BYOD use, situations where BYOD is not suitable (i.e. high security environments), the organizations readiness to support BYOD across all end-user platforms, and focus investment on initiatives that build endpoint independence.

It is making technologists rethink how to best secure data in a world where nearly any device can be used to access data.  Data protection with SSO authentication becomes very difficult in a BYOD environment due to the wide variety mobile devices, form factors, and operating systems, as well as the variety of use cases [2].  Most mobile devices have weak password protection and it has led to organizations utilizing a power-on password that is more robust and can be enforced by mobile device management (MDM) tools which is a must for all mobile devices (including BYODs) connecting to the enterprises networks [2].  However, multiple passwords provide a poor user experience which goes against the general expectations from users and as such security is an area with a lot of room for improvement.

It is also making application developers rethink their development methods to meet the fast paced world of mobile apps as well as forcing organizations to think about restructuring in order to gain the most from mobile computing.  To keep up with the fast paced mobile environment, mobile apps require an agile development method [3] and need to be designed for portability, scalability, and use the proper frameworks and design patterns [4].  These aspects of mobile apps are requiring companies to shift their thinking about how their organizations are structured in order to be successful.  In this case they shouldn’t think of mobile as just another silo in their organization but rather as a bridge across the organization and need to create a role solely for managing the mobile aspects of the organization [3]. 

Mobile computing is closely intertwined with other important themes helping shape modern IT such as big data, analytics, corporate culture, social computing, and cloud computing.  In each of these cases they seem to be feeding off each other in a positive way.  For example, cloud computing allows for users to view their data wherever they are and the use of mobile devices is generating data at an increasing velocity promoting big data which in turn demands the use of analytics.

It is opening up the possibilities of a more productive workforce while providing challenges to IT in how to effectively deal with mobile devices.  With the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices, mobile computing is here to stay and will continue to play a major role in shaping modern IT. 

References

[1] Leslie Fiering. “BYOD Doesn’t Have to Be All or Nothing: Match Smartphone, Tablet and PC Rollouts to Organizational Readiness and Employee Demand.” Gartner, Apr 2013.

[2] Ant Allan, Gregg Kreizman, Earl Perkins, and Ray Wagner. “Predicts 2013: Mobile, Social and Federation Drive Identity and Access Management.” Gartner, Nov 2012.

[3] Bill Briggs, Stephanie Chacharon, Shehryar Khan, Mike Brinker. “The Mobile Chasm.” Deloitte Review Issue 12. Jan 2013. <http://dupress.com/articles/the-mobile-chasm/?coll=2650&gt;

[4] Jeffrey Hammond. “The Best Way To Develop Mobile Apps? Don’t Develop Mobile Apps!” ZDNet. Jan 2013. <http://dupress.com/articles/the-rise-of-safety-innovations-in-intelligent-mobility/?coll=2650&gt;

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