I saw a great quote this morning that got me thinking. It’s a famous one by Albert Einstein and it goes like this; “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” With each passing day the enterprise becomes more mobile and we are seeing a quantum shift in the way people communicate, interact and focus their productivity. But are we trying to solve the problems that come with mobility with the same thinking that brought about mobility?
Although it is hard to remember not having the types smart devices we can’t live without today, If we look back, it was only a few years ago that we had pagers, telephones and desktops as our main means of communication and productivity. Not to sound like an old man about this, but I remember having to get a pager when my wife was pregnant with our now 13 year old daughter so that she could get in touch with me if she went into labor when I wasn’t around. Of course cell phones were around back then, but it wasn’t really until the late 90’s that they became the norm and the 2000’s is when cell phones really took off going from 1 billion subscribers worldwide in 2002 to 2.5 billion in 2006.
As technology has advanced, we have seen a convergence of it into more mobile devices. The telephone became the cell phone, the pager became SMS capabilities on the cell phone and the desktop became the laptop. Now we are seeing a further convergence with the laptop joining the pager and telephone to become part of today’s smart devices and enterprises have to determine how to handle this convergence.
In the old days (all of 10 – 12 years ago), enterprise IT organizations were able to put out clear policies for the use of devices, pagers were bought by the company and to be used for company business with a centralized account and centralized tracking of the device. Phones were in the office and could easily be controlled through PBX systems and desktops stayed put on or under the desk. But today, everything is on one device and that device goes with the user wherever they go, and may be the user’s own device, not even belonging to the company.
With that in mind, if we try to manage today’s technology with the same old policies we are going to find huge gaps and be left with a whole host of internal issues as well as unhappy customers. This is the challenge of today, not to simply modify policies as the technology shifts, but to create a whole new ecosystem that allows these devices to thrive and creates a whole new level of productivity. It is rare that Enterprise IT organizations have the chance to be creative and to reinvent themselves. But to do so, all it really takes is a group of true leaders that understand the need to create solid new policies that meet both the security needs of an organization as well as create a safe, productive environment for their customers.
Here are some great resources for those who are ready to take the lead:
- HP Enterprise Mobile Application Services
- Constellation Research’s Enterprise Mobile Apps Development 15 Point Checklist/Questionnaire
- The Enterprise Mobility Policy Guidebook: April 2012 Edition
- Struggling With BYOD? Five Things Every Workplace Should Consider As They COPE With Enterprise Mobility