Solving the Mobility Management Challenge

As mobility grows, so do IT administrative responsibilities associated with this new movement.

Astute IT managers know, there’s more to mobility than meets the eye. When we spot a smartphone or tablet, thoughts of efficiency and convenience spring to mind. Yet the surging growth of mobile devices also means that the IT management burden is quickly expanding.

In addition to arming workers with devices or allowing them to bring their own, public-sector agencies must secure the devices, applications and content. And that’s just the start — mobile users need access to the right applications and productivity tools, along with help desk support. In short, these numerous responsibilities call for total mobility management.

Where States Stand

According to the 2013 NASCIO survey, “The Enterprise Imperative: Leading Through Governance, Portfolio Management and Collaboration,” many states still have work to do in adopting mobility management initiatives. Only 37 percent of state CIOs report having mostly coordinated governmentwide projects and initiatives with a few fragmented efforts. Another 49 percent have a few coordinated governmentwide projects and initiatives. Finally, an unfortunate 10 percent describe their mobile management approach as totally fragmented and uncoordinated.

According to the 2013 NASCIO survey “The Enterprise Imperative: Leading Through Governance, Portfolio Management and Collaboration,” many states still have work to do in adopting mobility management initiatives.

Only 37 percent of state CIOs report having mostly coordinated governmentwide projects and initiatives with a few fragmented efforts. Another 49 percent have a few coordinated governmentwide projects and initiatives. Finally, an unfortunate 10 percent describe their mobile management approach as totally fragmented and uncoordinated.

Developing a holistic approach to acquiring, managing and integrating mobility into a state’s or locality’s existing infrastructure yields many benefits. IT managers can help empower mobile users and make them more efficient, all while optimizing procurement and voice and data plans to reduce costs.

51%

Percentage of IT professionals who say they actually talk with employees about how they use personal mobile devices

SOURCE: “CDW’s Mobility at Work Report” (CDW, September 2013)

So where should organizations begin? Like most successful IT initiatives, it starts by having a dialogue with end users. Talk to -government workers about how they use mobile devices to perform their jobs and learn what functions are the most important to them. For instance, a manager might rely most heavily on core email, text and voice capabilities, whereas a social worker might use her tablet most often to view and create documents.

The information gleaned from those discussions will help IT managers adopt a cohesive mobility management initiative. The strategy must identify the impact of mobility on the wireless network and other aspects of the infrastructure, all the way down to printers. It must also factor in the impact on IT staffing in procuring, provisioning and supporting mobile devices, and optimize voice, data and text plans to reduce costs.

Mobile Management Mojo

Once the devices are rolled out, of course, the work isn’t done. IT managers must securely integrate commonly used mobile apps with core applications and develop custom apps to streamline processes and workflows. And let’s not forget core monitoring of the mobile devices that access the network.

A total mobility management solution can offload part of the IT administrative burden through capabilities such as automated procurement, provisioning and deployment, custom enterprise app stores, and a self-service help desk. Agencies may wish to also consider cloud-based or remote mobile device management support to free staff for more strategic IT tasks.

Finally, government IT leaders need to stay on top of ever-changing mobile technologies and incorporate refresh and replacement plans into their overall roadmap. As employees’ needs and roles change, so too should their tools.

Above all, the ultimate goal of a mobility strategy is to empower employees to collaborate to achieve greater efficiency and serve constituents more effectively through the use of mobile technology.

Robert Churchill/thinkstock
Jul 18 2014