It's a Mobile World
If one current technology trend is touching every aspect of the business and both its IT and line-of-business workforces, it is mobile. As the managing editor of IT Business Edge, no matter what the business topic or tech news of the day, I can always find a mobile angle. IT Business Edge is known for its analysis of tech trends. Some come and go, some change names and seem to never die, and then there is mobile, which will continue to reach into all aspects of the intersection of work and technology, on both the macro and micro levels. The creativity and impact surrounding mobile strategies and technology is astounding.
From the widest view, everything that we include under the heading of mobile has irrevocably changed IT's relationship with the rest of the business.
The Mobile Mindset
In some companies, CIOs are relieved that they no longer must battle to get “a seat at the table,” as we used to say so often, and find that deeper interest in and understanding of the capabilities of mobile tech helps everyone speak the same language. Others are struggling with competing priorities, some of which are vestiges of a pre-mobile mindset: IT wants to maximize automation; everyone else just wants quick and easy tools that they can use anytime and everywhere. Many future skirmishes will likely swirl around budget shifts, as department managers use their own resources for technology, while relying on IT for some level of support and maintenance. Current indications are that we may be at the end of "shadow IT" in the most forward-thinking companies, as all departments move toward working together instead of against each other. In virtually all of these environments, though, creating a comprehensive mobile strategy for the business is no longer optional.
Lists of hot skill sets for IT hiring reliably include mobile app and responsive website development. Interestingly, as users are exposed to more mobile tools and apps and become more discerning, their expectations grow higher. Developers who incorporate not only functionality and security but sophisticated interfaces are changing the space.
IT's Biggest Mobile Challenges
If you can demonstrate experience and skill in securing mobile devices and data, you’re in demand, too. It is, after all, the age of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), as well as Bring Your Own App (BYOA). One of IT's biggest challenges in the coming year or two will continue to be mastering the creation, application and enforcement of mobile device and data use policies. This is one concern that must continue to be centralized, while many other responsibilities of IT diffuse throughout the organization.
From the viewpoint of employees, inside and outside the IT department, the daily barrage of new smartphones, tablets and phablets requires some curating. No need to choose just one, though: We’ll all be using a number of mobile devices for the foreseeable future to accomplish all of our tasks and pursue all of our interests. To the growing list, we’ll be adding more wearable computers and mobile accessories. And with the growth of the Internet of Things, IT will be charged with staying on top of security and network issues that come with constant communication between these devices.
When it comes to mobile apps in the workplace, the definition of an enterprise app store is evolving. The key driver here is still the need for customization, closely followed by security and compliance requirements. Add the endless consumer apps that employees use for work purposes (or want to use for work purposes), and the decision-making process of deciding which platforms for which internal apps should be developed, and you can see why mobile considerations are consuming IT right now.
Kachina Shaw is the managing editor for IT Business Edge. She has 15 years of experience as an editor and writer in the business technology industry.
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