Focus on Mobile Strategy, Not Devices

05[Ed. Note: As the Samsung-Apple verdict shakes up (and shapes) the industry, @bcfrancis observes that it is a sound plan to get the architecture and strategy right to embrace the mobile imperative. - @jtaschek]

It’s easy to get focused on the battle for supremacy in mobile devices, but this week I am focusing on some interesting thoughts bubbling up from the Gartner Catalyst conference in San Diego.  In particular, this headline on ZD Net caught my eye: “Mobility; it’s not a device, it’s an IT architecture”:

Mobility has quickly become a focal point for IT, but while BYOD is the issue getting the ink, the true challenge is developing an architecture that can lead enterprises into this new era of computing.

That was the message Monday when Gartner opened its annual Catalyst Conference, with the theme: Any device, Any service, Any source.

‘Enterprises must approach mobility as an architecture problem,” said Paul DeBeasi, a research vice president at Gartner. ‘Mobility effects legal, HR, policy, security, support, identity, business infrastructure and application decisions.’”

That’s a heckuva footprint, and in my opinion, the right way to ook at mobility in today’s IT.

In fact, Gartner has introduced what it calls “The Gartner Mobile Reference Architecture” for IT:

The Mobile Reference Architecture is an integrated set of research that helps IT organizations make technology, infrastructure and policy decisions that support their mobile initiatives.   The Mobile Reference Architecture will help IT organizations:

  • Accelerate mobile solution deployment
  • Satisfy a broad set of mobile requirements
  • Facilitate iterative decision making
  • Adapt to changing requirements
  • Increase institutional mobility knowledge

Still, there are plenty of potential pitfalls ahead:

 “Wireless networks are not prepared for mobility,” said DeBeasi. “What happens in the building when hearing aids are Bluetooth, when there are network connected heart monitors? What does that do to the network? What risks are there to the employees who have those devices?”

ZD Net’s Larry Dignan reports that Forrester is seeing some lurking gotchas as well:

  •  “It's hard to coordinate multiple channels. Apps can be built for shopping and flop on customer service.
  • Processes are designed for transactions, not engagement. Customers want mobile chores to be quick and easy. Forrester likened today's mobile apps to ATMs decades ago. They don't need to do everything, but need to excel at the basics.
  • Servers and IT infrastructure can't handle the activity surges. Networks, databases and middleware will be taxed by mobile volume.
  • Application and security models need a do-over. The so-called atomization of business processes will require architecture to be reworked. IT will also need layered security as mobile traffic swells.”

 What about your organization? Does your IT team view mobility the same way? What are the roadblocks to embracing this thinking?  

I’d love to see your comments.