Mobility Turf Wars – Enterprise Edition

Businessmen fightingPicture it: Battle lines that were drawn two decades ago, with deep roots in historical precedent. It’s been this way since time immemorial – or at least since the 1990s.  I’m referring to the challenge that enterprises across the globe have been trying to sort out for several years now. The debate is about mobility, and where in the corporate structure its policies and management ought to reside.

Traditionalists argue that it already does, and should remain, within the Telecom team, as this team has owned mobility since its earliest definition: the voice-only cellular phones that proliferated the business in the 1990s. The argument is that it should remain where the corporate plans and expenses are managed, and where the vendor relationships exist. For Telecom, the advantage is realized when the company includes a COPE (Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled) policy for mobility. Here, mobility is able to be centralized with attention to cost, and the Telecom team is able to leverage economies of scale to get the best plan rates and devices for their users. Mobility management capabilities, including device configuration, remote lock and wipe, and geofencing are common objectives.

By contrast, endpoint management teams – the folks who manage desktops and laptops that users also carry, are lobbying for control of mobility. Their argument is based on the reality that mobile device processing power, capabilities, and connectivity needs have been rapidly converging with those of their traditional endpoints. Endpoint management teams take the lead on mobility when companies are focused on productivity and enablement, where the goal is to optimize the user’s access to tools.  Where role-driven Workspaces are at the core of corporate IT strategy, this team is best positioned to ensure a unified endpoint management (UEM) vision is realized, regardless of whether the user’s device is their own, or company-owned.

A third camp has been emerging over the past few years, adding further complexity to this debate. IT security teams are increasingly focused on securing mobility as a key initiative to protect against data breaches. Their argument is that as BYOD has proliferated and the priority needs to be on securing the corporate data accessed on those devices; therefore, security should be responsible for setting mobility access policy. Finally, no one can debate the importance of securing mobile access to corporate data. If BYOD is the model for your business, this is especially relevant. However, these teams must be benevolent dictators when it comes to setting policy. Be careful to avoid implementing security measures that compromise the user experience. Frustrated users will rebel and you’ll find yourself embroiled in another feud.

Conversations with customers have raised compelling arguments for each of these positions. The battle for control seems endless and control varies from company to company. At the center of the dilemma is the reality that each camp has a valid position. There isn’t a universally right answer, and it goes without saying that regardless of which camp owns mobility, operating unilaterally – that is, without coordination with the other two teams, is a mistake. Whichever team takes the lead in your organization, your corporate mobility strategy must include input across these teams. Fortunately for you, LANDESK provides tools to meet the needs of all three corporate factions – bringing management, unified access, and security to your IT organization, and your mobile users.

Who carries the Mobility flag in your business? Email me your experiences at: