Consumerization, connected devices driving mobility management

By optimizing connected apps and devices, IT managers can offset incremental network costs.

As state governments try to keep up with the rising number of connected devices in their mobile IT environments, they are challenged with properly and securely managing the rising tide of mobile data.

“A key part of any state government’s productivity is the mobile devices in the hands of all the employees,” said Chris Koeneman, senior vice president of sales at MOBI, a government provider of software and services for mobility management.

And employee expectations are driving the evolution of enterprise mobility, he added during remarks at the National Association of State Technology Directors’ annual conference on Aug.  22.

“Whatever I can do on Google, I expect that my state government can do as well,” Koeneman said in an interview with GCN. “And whatever I can do on my iOS phone, I expect the government can do those sorts of things, too.”

That consumerization is driving the shift toward building for mobile-first, the growth of the Internet of Things and the expansion of the digital enterprise, he said.

Today’s digital enterprise includes the use of applications on mobile devices that are constantly moving, creating and using data. “That’s where mobile will affect IoT,” Koeneman said. The apps and devices will generate business analytics and require incremental network costs, which will need to be carefully optimized and managed.

Barry O’Brien, president of Partner Consulting, said agencies should have a mobility management program that enjoys support from the entire agency and executive leadership. Auditing all active devices in the agency’s network and deploying oversight tools, such as mobile device management software, can allow agencies to gather the carrier-based device data they need.

Starting with a pilot mobility management program will help agencies see the flow of data -- where wireless mobility use is coming from, what format it is in and how it will be shared and used. In turn, optimizing mobile services will help IT staff manage end-user applications and, in part, fund the program from the savings.

Koeneman and O’Brien agreed that the remaining challenge will be ensuring the privacy of data. O’Brien said agencies should properly identify the data’s confidentiality levels and create mobile-use and bring-your-own-device policies.

Koeneman said he sees a trend away from BYOD and toward corporate- (or government-) owned, personally enabled (COPE) devices. With BYOD, he said, users must accept and comply with mobility policies, and states are often uneasy about wiping government business off a personal phone when an employee leaves. With COPE, the agency owns the device, and employees can use the phone for personal use and download apps. If the employee leaves the agency, the state gets the device back.

Ultimately, Koeneman said local and state government IT professionals can find out whether mobile management programs are suited for their workforce by not being afraid to experiment.

“Give it a try,” he said. “See if that test group likes it.”

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