Managing Mobility Is a Major IT Challenge

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The implications of Global Mobility not delivering can be far reaching:
• From failing to deliver a good quality experience and adequate protection for the organisation’s talent resource
• To impacting the businesses in which the assignees operate in, by either delayed assignments, impacted assignments or distraction from the core business drivers and goals
• To the organisation as a whole through reputational risk and potentially direct costs through incurred penalties.


The economic downturn – is serving to put pressure on both countries and companies alike to invest in growth markets, generate revenue and cut expenditure in order to survive or maintain market share.
As a consequence there is a combination of contracting markets and expanding markets but also an environment where organisations have to react to threats and opportunities immediately before the opportunity is lost. National priorities are competing against international priorities and there can be conflicts between local, regional and global considerations. There is also a strong focus on cost reduction or containment. There is a tangible fear of decline and stagnation and a hunger for revenue. All this serves to raise the requirement of Global Mobility to be:-
• Timely
• Proactive
• Efficient
• Cost-effective
• Compliant
Global connectivity the world is getting smaller with technology and media sites bringing news and information to the fingertips of everyone. Culturally we are more open to travel and migration is set to double by 2050 despite the economic downturn. The global awareness of everyone continues to grow and so is the accessibility of best practices, laws and regulations.
The commercial concept of globalisation has been a trend for many years.
Many international organisations are on a programme to globalise their environment, infrastructure and operations in some form or other. It is becoming a necessity for most organisations to expand into the export market. For most organisations to survive and be more cost-efficient they either have to explore international markets or international operations or have an international supply chain. Companies are constantly seeking new emerging markets for cost containment purpose and to keep a competitive edge. Many international companies have embraced the concept of the shared service model to centrally deliver operational processes for the benefit of the global organisation.
The end result is that organisations are becoming more spread geographically, with matrix operations, infrastructures and management structures. Although this trend may have commercial logic it does pose greater risks and compliance demands on the organisation. Crossborder compliance is no longer between six key developed locations but is now potentially between fifty plus locations (depending on the size of your organisation) from developed to emerging, emerging to develop and emerging to emerging market combinations.
Technology is an enabler to build global connectivity. Today technology is not only at our fingertips but is an essential building block for connectivity for any global operation. It does allow data and information sharing to take place immediately and round the clock. Changes in regulations, sharing of best practises can be achieved with relative ease. But this also gives an expectation that:
• All corporations will know and understand the regulatory framework in which they operate in
• All corporations will be able to have access to any data on their employees and their operations immediately
•All corporations have the reporting functionality to deliver any request for data and to be able to audit and cross reference that data with ease to ensure 100% accuracy.


The challenge for CIOs

Mobility has the potential to greatly improve business performance, but   it comes with three major challenges.

Security. Security is the primary barrier to broad mobile deployments within the enterprise: 45 percent of the CIOs that we surveyed viewed security as a major challenge.

In previous mobility deployments, organizations could manage risks by providing employees with a single supported and secured device that could access the company’s information assets. Now, most workers carry a smartphone or tablet for both personal and business uses. This proliferation of wireless devices extends the reach of the company’s wired information infrastructure. But by doing so, the information also becomes more vulnerable to breaches, despite recent improvements in mobile-device-management solutions and device security. Among the risks: lost or stolen devices with sensitive data stored on them.

Companies with successful mobile strategies tend to involve corporate security staff early in strategy development, embed security as a core component of the mobile architecture, and develop clear mobile policies that balance user demand with security requirements. Some companies are making this trade-off by limiting which applications can be locally installed on mobile devices. At some companies, for example, ERP systems can be accessed but not locally installed, which ensures that data do not leave the premises.

Cost. Mobility is expensive—41 percent of CIOs cited cost as a critical challenge. The costs of the actual devices and connectivity vary but are typically between $600 and $700 annually for an iPad or comparable tablet. Included in this are infrastructure costs that include technical components such as mobile-device management, expanded e-mail capacity, and help-desk support. These costs typically total $150 to $250 annually per device. Application costs will vary greatly, depending on the number and type of applications and the way they are enabled for mobile.

Businesses can manage the cost issue by adopting a tiered approach that focuses application investment on the user segments and use cases that create the most value, while providing only basic services to the broader user population. This will maximize value while being responsive to consumer demand and providing the foundation for new use cases to emerge. Some enterprises have implemented this approach by allowing all employees to bring their personal devices and providing them with only basic enterprise applications, such as e-mail and the company directory. Most application resources are then available to focus on the highest-value segments; they can, for instance, provide salespeople with devices and a set of customized applications that help drive revenue.

The way enterprises enable their application portfolios for mobility affects cost. IT functions should work with their software vendors to understand and shape their mobile capabilities. For mobile use cases that cannot be efficiently addressed with commercial applications, companies have three options. Developing new mobile applications generally provides the best user experience but is expensive. An alternative for Web-enabled applications is access through a mobile browser, potentially with an interface optimized for mobile. Virtual-desktop integration is a good option for the “long tail” of applications that are occasionally used on mobile devices because there are limited or no application changes required. For core applications, on the other hand, usability issues limit the appeal of this approach.

Governance. Mobility poses unique management challenges. It doesn’t clearly fit within any traditional IT silo, as it affects application development, business processes, infrastructure, and operational processes. Significant changes will be required in each of these areas. One example is that IT and business leaders may need to reprioritize the application portfolio on the basis of mobility needs. Mobility also requires a flexible strategy that can be adjusted regularly to adapt to changes in the mobility landscape, for example, the introduction of Windows-based tablets. Addressing these challenges requires an active, cross-functional governance structure.

One leading company established a mobility “core team” consisting of four members, each representing a specific area: the business, IT applications, IT infrastructure, and IT policy. The team was responsible for conducting semiannual strategy and policy refreshes, as well as coordinating implementation of the strategy, for example, through ongoing pilots. The core team reported to the enterprise CIO each month and was empowered to make significant changes within the IT organization. Beyond the core team, mobility became a key component of the overall IT governance council, which was responsible for prioritizing mobility expenditure across the enterprise.