Enabling Customer Mobility: Why Current Mobile Device Management Thinking Is Flawed

Prior to IBM Pulse 2012 heating up in Las Vegas, I was lucky enough to receive a pre-brief on some of the key messages from this year’s event. One of which is around mobility.

A statistic from the IBM mobility slide deck reminded me of a particular bugbear of mine: that mobility will most likely be yet another opportunity for gifted IT professionals to get excited about technology (and managing the technology) rather than stepping back to appreciate that modern IT is all about the consumption of IT services rather than the technology itself. That mobility is not about mobile devices or apps, that it’s about the consumption of business or IT services on the move BY PEOPLE via fit-for-purpose IT provisioning and IT service delivery.

The IBM Statistic?

In a recent IBM report, it was revealed that the Top Mobile Adoption Concerns are:

  1. Security/privacy (53%)
  2. Cost of developing for multiple mobile platforms (52%)
  3. Integrating cloud services to mobile devices (51%)

Source: 2011 IBM Tech Trends Report https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/techtrends/entry/home?lang=en (yes, it will have a developer bias)

I think most IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals will look at this and nod. I, however, with my particular peculiarity for “all-things-customer” look at it and ask: “What about the outcomes of mobility services, devices, and apps?” Shouldn’t we stop going around the same technology-driven hamster wheel? While having a flash device and sexy mobile app is nice, end users (or internal or external customers as I like to call them) just want to be able to consume IT and business services. After all, who these days thinks of using an ATM as a technology interaction? It is a banking service (OK, it’s technology when it breaks).

We need to move from device-centricity to people-centricity

I alluded to this in a previous blog – Top 10 IT Service Management Challenges For 2012 – where I stated that:

“We all hear talk about MDM (mobile device management) as “THE big issue.” To me, however, this is old school IT. We are focused on securing access to the mobile device when I would prefer that we secured access to the IT service. The device is a red herring and of little interest to the customer. They want (or at least we hope that they continue to want) to access your services any which way they can and need to.”

IT delivery, IT management, and IT service management need to become people-centric. IMO I&O’s focus on and excitement about end-point management and MDM seems very much about securing the corporate network and less about the reasons for having the technology, employing IT people, and delivering IT services: the need to support and enable people (whether employees, customers, or potential customers). It is currently far too inside-out in terms of its thinking (royalty check in the post to Ian Clayton).

IBM’s messaging and Pulse per se

Firstly, please appreciate that I am writing this blog in response to an IBM statistic not IBM’s overall approach to mobility. IBM is one of the most business-focused software vendors I know and I fully expect it to articulate thought leadership in people-centricity for both mobility and IT service management.

IBM’s Pulse 2012’s dedicated mobility stream will cover how it can support clients across:

  • Building mobile applications
  • Connecting to, and running back-end systems in support of mobile
  • Managing mobile devices and applications
  • Securing your mobile business
  • Extending existing business capabilities to mobile devices
  • Transforming the business by creating new opportunities via mobility

If you want to follow IBM Pulse but don’t happen to be passing through Las Vegas this week, the live stream is available via http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/pulse/ . If you want to meet a star Forrester analyst and all-round nice guy, look out for Glenn O’Donnell  - he is quite difficult to miss at 3 meters tall ;)

Final thought

Don’t get me wrong, IT security and management is important. I just think that ensuring the availability and consumption of fit-for-purpose IT and business services is what we in I&O are all here for. “Support the people not the technology” … my brainwashing continues.

As always comments, thoughts, and opinions are mandated. :)

 

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If you enjoyed this, please read my latest blog: http://blogs.forrester.com/stephen_mann  

Comments

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