Simply put, mobility (such as it is for the context of me and my site) is the generic term used for technology that allows you to do a job or task, which isn’t tied down to a desk, or static location.

Now this can take many many forms, from simply enabling your employees with “MDM” (Mobile Device Management) which allows you to implement settings remotely on your iPhones, applications (or even hardware for that matter!) developed to help with a specific task all the way through to technology that delivers training to school children in 3rd world countries, or allows your local policy department to check their records on the street in real time. Infact, there is  far more that I’m willing or even able to right now.

That being said, there are a few key categories out there that we generally see all forms of mobility products used in enterprise today falling into. These are broken down into how far along the evolutionary path a company has managed to get before they’re ready to implement the next stage of mobile enablement. The reason for this is simple, too much too soon, and your mobile project is doomed to failure. Get the foundations strong and stable, and the rest is just evolution!

The Evolution of Mobility

 

Command & Control
This is your very first step on the path to enabling mobility in your business. This is where we generally see a simple MDM deployment setup to provide access to basic email, calendar and contact synchronisation with your corporate mail systems whilst also adding a layer of security in the form of a password, and/or simply policy designed to secure data on the device.

Integrate & Deploy
This is where the majority of clients I have worked with in the past either already fall, or have aspirations to get to very rapidly following any kind of mobility deployment. We have extended the basic MDM management functions of the platform being used to push our email and security policy, and added in some of the more useful features that we take for granted on our desktop or laptop machines. These are tools such as presence (MS Lync, Office Communicator etc), enterprise integration (file shares, SharePoint, Certificate Authorities etc) and collaboration (WebEx, Video Conferencing, Company Intranet etc).

Mobile First & Strategic
Here is where the real work starts! This area is really all about enabling your business to work smarter rather than harder. Building and using apps for both your customers to be able to access you quicker and simpler, and apps for your internal use, be they back office (expenses, holiday, HR) or business enablers like access to ordering systems, contracts, or key business data.
In this area, we really need to see proper planning and a strong strategy around mobility. We often see companies in this area as “MobileFirst”, meaning that when they develop new offerings or abilities, they are deployed on a mobile platforms first before being deployed on more tradition channels.