The Healthy Tension That Mobility Creates
By Kathryn Perry on Jun 13, 2012
A guest post by Hernan Capdevila, Vice President, Oracle Fusion Apps
In my previous post, I talked about the value of the mobile revolution on businesses and workers. Now let me put on a different hat and view the world from the IT department and the IT leader’s viewpoint. The IT leader has different concerns – around privacy, potential liability of information leakage, and intellectual property protection. These concerns and the leader’s goals create a healthy tension with the users.
For example, effective device management becomes a must have for the IT leader, especially if you look at the Android ecosystem as an example. There are benefits to the Android strategy, but there are also drawbacks, such as uniformity – in device management, in operating systems, and in the application taxonomy and capabilities. Whereas, if you compare Android to iOS, Apple's operating system, iOS is more unified, more streamlined, and easier to manage.
In either case, this is where mobile device management in the cloud makes good sense. I don't think IT departments should be hosting device management and managing that complexity. It should be a cloud service and I predict it's going to be key for our customers.
A New Focus for IT Departments
So where does that leave the IT departments? I think their futures are in governance, which is a more strategic play than a tactical one. Device management is tactical and it's the “now” topic. But the mobile phenomenon, if you will, is going to drive significant change in terms of how IT plans, hosts, and deploys enterprise applications.
For example, opening up enterprise applications for mobile users presents some challenges unless you deploy more complicated network topologies, such as virtual private networks and threat protection technology. If you really want employees to be mobile you need to remove those kinds of barriers. But I don’t think IT departments want to wrestle with exposing their private enterprise data centers and being responsible for hosted business applications – applications in a sense that they’re making vulnerable to the public world. This opens up a significant need and a significant driver for cloud applications.
However, it's not just about taking away the complexity – it's also about taking away the responsibility. Why should every business have to carry the responsibility and figure out all the nuts and bolts of how to protect themselves in this public, mobile world? When you use apps in the cloud, either your vendor or your hosting partner should have figured all that out. They need to assure the business that they are adhering to all sorts of security and compliance regulations so users can be connected and have access to information anywhere anytime.
More Ideas and Better Service
What’s more interesting is the world of possibilities that the connected, cloud-based world enables. I believe that the one-size-fits-all, uber-best practices, lowest-common denominator-like capabilities will go away. IT will now be able to solve very specific business challenges for the different corporate functions it serves. In this new world, IT will play a key role in enabling different organizations within a company to be best in class and delivering greater value to the line of business managers. IT will actually help to differentiate. Net result is a more agile workforce and business because each department is getting work done its own way.