Mobile initiatives rank high on the IT priority list for 2014, and the leaders of many large businesses say they have some catching up to do.
An IBM/Oxford Economics survey of 600 large companies in 29 countries finds many companies have yet to fully empower their mobile workforce or optimize mobile channels for their customers.
Only half of the organizations surveyed agreed that their mobile strategy is aligned with their business strategy. Even fewer said their organizations had set up clear funding and governance structures for mobile initiatives.
“The mobile challenges that organizations are wrestling with are much like the challenges they saw when dealing with the emerging Internet 15 years ago,” study author Eric Lesser, a research director at IBM’s Institute for Business Value, told Computerworld.
Which mobile strategies require the most immediate attention? It varies by organization, but here are four key areas where companies will benefit from a coherent strategy in the coming year.
MDM and BYOD
Mobile Device Management and the proliferation of Bring Your Own Device policies represent persistent challenges for the large enterprise. Information security, device management, cost and governance are all important considerations. IT leaders must work hand in hand with line of business owners to create policies that are practical to implement while keeping the usage needs of the mobile workforce in mind.
Identity and Access Management
Paul DeBeasi, a Research VP at Gartner, writes in Information Week that there are three aspects of IAM to focus on: single sign-on, privacy and adaptive access control. The latter uses contextual clues from the device user, such as user location and behavioral patterns, to increase identity assurance and reduce risk. But these same controls, says DeBeasi, can raise privacy concerns.
Mobile App Development
IT must make choices about preferred app development platforms and whether to make mobile development an internal skillset or an outsourced capability, says RunMobile Managing Partner Ted Chappell. User interfaces for enterprise apps are also an important area of focus. Employees used to well-designed consumer apps will balk at B2B apps that are clunky or difficult to use.
Security and Risk
DeBeasi says authentication, encryption, device wiping and anti-malware are all important security controls. “However, the number of different security capabilities supported across different operating system types and versions makes it difficult for security and management vendors to provide uniform policy enforcement across all devices. Cloud security must also be assessed as a component of an overall mobile strategy,” he said.