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4 steps to developing a mobile strategy for enterprises: what you need to know

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Thoughts of developing an enterprise mobility strategy can be daunting for CTOs and IT managers. With so many providers to choose from, and the issue of security keeping you awake at night, it’s difficult to know how to even start the process. That said, there’s a lot to be gained from enterprise mobility, and we’re seeing evidence of it becoming the foremost part of a business’ IT environment.

As a starting point we’d recommend firstly looking at how mobility fits within your overall IT strategy in the short, medium and long term. Your mobile strategy shouldn’t be seen as a standalone solution in itself - it must be incorporated into your IT infrastructure. Make sure that it’s compatible with the whole cycle of your IT infrastructure, so don’t make decisions based on short-term ‘wins’ if at the end of the typical 24 month agreement, the mobile solution won’t fit into the overall infrastructure.

Taking a joined-up approach to your communications network and mobility implementation has its benefits as well. Consider consolidating your solution under one supplier. That way you can tailor a strategy at a tactical level to fit every user’s requirements. You can also add professional value with features such as a single telephone number and voicemail solutions - meaning that there’s no need for multiple phone numbers.

Security is usually the biggest pain point to any strategy. We often recommend that the best way to ensure security of corporate data is to simply lock down the network so that not everyone can access it. There should be a strong policy in place that makes the loading of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution on devices mandatory. This would help you easily dictate what is acceptable use and spot potential risks to the network. If you don’t use MDM, you’re putting your network at risk when users access it via a mobile device. The weakest link is always human behaviour.

Also consider whether wireless-enabled enterprise networks can help drive and support your mobile strategy. Services can be rolled out in a mobile version, creating the opportunity for virtual desktop environments on tablets. This opens the door to flexible working and a reduced number of offices, as data is centralised. WiFi could also replace the ISDN infrastructure, meaning that users would only need their mobile device to communicate. This could make traditional telephone systems a thing of the past.

Once you understand how mobility fits with your objectives and goals for the business then it’s time to examine the individual mobility layers. We’d recommend considering each of these layers in turn.

1. Infrastructure, ERP, CRM, email

2. MDM, security, application access, policy management, asset tracking

3. OS - Android, iOS, Blackberry

4. SIM/Tariff

This sequence will help you get the best out of your mobile strategy. Only once you’ve considered the first three, should you look at choices of SIMs and tariffs. Simply put: the choice of SIM, tariff and OS should be driven by infrastructure and network requirements, rather than the other way around. This way your choices are based on the service that you’re spending a lot of money on, rather than on the best tariff or network available, which could prove to be in the long term a short sighted view.

Of course, every business is different, so it’s unlikely that there’ll ever be a single overriding mobile strategy that fits all. Individual business objectives must always come into the equation when developing an organisation approach to mobile. And given the rapid market developments in mobile you’ll need to stay flexible and be ready to adapt that clearly defined strategy at any point.

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