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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Consumer devices in the enterprise - It's all Good!

With all of the gadgets in the market today, from tablets to smartphones, all having personal productivity tools on them, what should we be doing within the IT organization to react?  We have a few choices. 
  • Ignore it and hope it goes away
  • Pick a few new gadgets that meet IT needs
  • Accept and embrace the devices
Ignoring this will be like a staph infection.  If you don't deal with it, it might just kill you.  Picking just a few devices that meet IT specific needs is very self serving and not customer focused.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that one of our marching orders is to deliver technology that brings value by improving productivity.  We have to find a better way.

The use of these technologies in the enterprise is inevitable.  So, why not be proactive and find a way to enable them within the enterprise?  Well, that is just what we are doing.  Nearly two years ago we saw this trend and embraced it.  We didn't know which devices were coming, just that they were out there with more on the way.  We needed to find a way to meet the user needs while still controlling our costs. 

The strategy that we have developed is to focus on information access rather than on any particular piece of hardware.  There are two key elements to execute on the strategy.  First, leverage the cloud.  Information contained in documents, dashboards, etc. are or will be accessible through secure cloud based solutions.  Second, focus on the application rather than the device.  By finding an application that can provide secure access across multiple platforms we need only worry about securing and supporting the application.  The user retains responsibility to support their personal device while IT assists in the setup, configuration, and support of the application that will run on the device. This greatly simplifies matters and allows the user a much broader choice in the device as well as when to get a new one. 

To enable the access to email, calendar, and contacts, we selected Good Enterprise.  Users simply download the app from their device app store and get a license key from IT to get started.  An annual license fee is charged to the users organization for the application.  Pretty simple setup.  Is Good perfect?  No, but nothing is.  It is a solid solution or as they say "It is all Good!”. 

The convergence of the consumer world with the corporate world is happening fast. We chose to be proactive, develop a strategy, and learn through execution.  So far, so Good!

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