Early adopters of mobile devices have identified three components for a successful mobile management strategy. Here’s the lowdown from Tastykake CIO Brendan O’Malley:
1. Get ahead of your users. Develop a management strategy before user demand surges, covering device standards, personal usage (and any reimbursements for it), security and access controls, and cellular providers. O’Malley advocates allowing reasonable personal usage of mobile devices without reimbursement: If usage is excessive, that needs to be addressed, but reimbursement is pretty tough to manage effectively, he says. Provide leading-edge devices so that you minimize the chance of powerful users forcing in “cool” but nonstandard equipment.
2. Reduce complexity where you can. Decide which devices you will buy or allow, then stick to those. Respect the fact that mobile devices and their operating systems have significant differences that matter to different groups of users, and be prepared to support a couple of platforms. “If people out in the field think a new device is worthwhile, we’ll give it a shot,” O’Malley says.
3. Carefully weigh costs. But keep users’ needs in mind. For example, Tastykake pays for traveling execs’ BlackBerrys but does not use cellular connections in the handhelds its distributors use on delivery routes, since there’s no need to get real-time delivery data, and the cost of cellular service quickly gets expensive as you add users.