Feature Article

December 14, 2012

What You Need to Know About the New Mobile Stack

Technology managers have long referred to a business’s critical technology components as the “stack” — the layers of hardware and software required for a holistic technology suite, from the operating system and applications to the service provider and servers.

IT has gone from managing a highly controlled base of tools, to managing a heterogeneous mix of devices (smartphones, tablet computers, 3G/4G data cards, netbooks, tablets) running on any number of operating systems. Controlling all these tools is becoming unnecessary: cloud services and applications make most data accessible from any device running any OS. The mandate for IT? Shifting from old-school device management to the far more critical and strategic discipline of user management.

Because of this, a core set of solutions has emerged, ranging from a base layer of apps geared toward basic functionality to more sophisticated productivity- and strategy-geared programs.

Level 1: Basic Services

The base level of the stack addresses the basic, subsistence elements of a mobile program that helps get it off the ground and keep it running. Features include:

  • Procurement: Online Web portals that can handle bulk orders have become the most common way to acquire and activate new phones and tablets. This is especially useful for large organizations that onboard several hundred devices at a time.
  • Inventory Tracking and Move/Add/Change/Delete (MACD): Once you have the devices, you need the ability to manage to them. A mobile manager should be able to easily add or delete devices from the company program, or move or change the status of other users’ devices, and keep track of any devices in reserve.
  • Expense Tracking: Mobile expense-management tools allow organizations to handle billing for thousands of lines of service, allowing for increased efficiency.

Group 2: Risk Management

Risk-management and compliance programs are an increasingly important element of a modern mobility program, especially as more crucial and sensitive data is stored on mobile devices and in the cloud.

  • Device Security: Through basic device-security measures like remote wipe, locking, password resets, or GPS tracking, companies can ensure that a lost or stolen phone can be recovered, and that sensitive information isn’t compromised.
  • Data Security: Protecting the data itself — rather than the device — has become increasingly important as more and more companies turn to cloud storage. Data-security services can encrypt important documents and establish safe “containers” for company email and network access.
  • Policy and Compliance: Mobile risk management software can help codify and enforce company policies and regulations as they relate to mobility — typically setting parameters around what data can be accessed remotely by whom, and from where. 

Group 3: Productivity Tools

As we move toward the top of the mobile stack, programs begin to veer away from the strictly functional (acquisition, distribution, and security) and focus more on services designed to improve productivity and competitiveness.

  • Cloud Service and Storage: This is particularly important for companies that develop their own apps: cloud service allows company data to be stored and accessed from anywhere there is a mobile service connection or Wi-Fi.
  • Custom App Development: Businesses today are racing to transpose the programs they use every day into mobile applications — allowing employees to truly unlock the potential of mobile computing, and fundamentally re-shape how, where, and when work gets done.
  • Application Management: Customized app management services not only help build, deliver and update these programs, but also provide a glimpse into how users are interacting with them by providing usage rates, performance analytics and more.

Group 4: Strategy and Optimization

At the top of the stack we move away from the vital programs that make mobile programs go, and focus on more efficiency and strategy — analyzing and optimizing the entire mobile program to get the most out of it. The key is to utilize business intelligence to adjust those plans to ensure that they fit users’ needs and habits, and to use historical data to plan for changes or growth.

  • Visibility Platform: Tapping into the valuable data generated by hundreds or thousands of workers using mobile devices allows mobile managers to extract valuable information about what processes can and should be “mobilized,” and also allows real-time adjustments to the program that best fit users’ actual behavior.

Bottom line:  Todays’ enterprise mobile market resembles an alphabet soup of competing tools, all promising to deliver what your company needs to effectively manage mobility. Instead of thinking about these tools as being “better than” one another, organizations need to think about how they can work together.

Interested in hearing more about the new mobile stack? Read the full blog post from Bzur on his Chief Mobility Officer blog.

As president and CEO of Visage, Bzur Haun leads all facets of the business, including strategy and operations. Read more about the latest in mobility intelligence on Chief Mobility Officer: http://visagemobile.com/mobilityblog/author/bzur/

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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