Striking a Mobile Computing Balance

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The State of the Consumerization of IT

Study finds that usage of personally owned devices is growing, but they're still pretty much used to augment traditional PC usage.

When the definition of mobile computing in the enterprise was pretty much limited to a number of devices, such as smartphones from Research In Motion, the confidence that IT organizations had in their ability to manage mobile computing was relatively high. But Nick Evans, vice president of strategic innovation at Unisys, says it's becoming increasingly clear that the IT department's confidence in its ability to manage mobile computing is starting to wane in the face of all mobile computing platform diversity finding its way into the workplace.

As the number of mobile computing devices in the enterprise continues to expand to include not only different types of smartphones, but also a whole plethora of tablet PCs, the internal processes needed to support this explosion of mobile computing are not in place in most enterprise IT organizations.

As a result, Evans says that most IT organizations should take a moment to start crafting a strategic approach to managing mobile computing that should probably be anchored around some form of mobile device management delivered via the cloud. The simple fact of the matter, says Evans, is that because the mobile computing ecosystem is evolving too rapidly, trying to keep pace with that rate of change using an on-premise service that needs to be constantly updated simply isn't viable. Instead, it's easier to rely on a service that makes staying current on all forms of mobile computing a core tenet of its business proposition, says Evans.

A set of new surveys conducted by International Data Corp. on behalf of Unisys finds that while notebook PCs are still the dominant mobile computing device, there is increased usage of smartphones and tablet PCs, and a high percentage of these devices are owned by employees. Evans says he expects this trend to continue simply because a lot of businesses don't want to pay for the data plans needed to support these devices when it seems employees are willing to carry that cost. However, in order to effectively do that, IT organizations need to have the systems management tools and associated policies in place to maintain security. Unfortunately, most companies are not taking a strategic approach to mobile computing, which is now starting to eat away at the level of confidence that IT organizations have in their security as well.

Ultimately, IT organizations are going to have to confront a whole range of mobile computing issues that will eventually touch every aspect of enterprise IT. And the sooner that IT stops turning a blind eye to mobile computing, the more likely it is the business will benefit without unnecessarily allowing end users to engage in reckless behavior that could seriously damage the business.

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