I began my corporate career as a Systems Engineer for MSI Data which many years and a couple acquisitions later became a division of Motorola. My first day was spent meeting with various co-workers to get a lay of the land. That day was also the day I received my first piece of corporate technology a “pager”. As the role of a Systems Engineer was to meet with customers, I was often “in the field”. With the pager firmly attached to my belt, I was now available or at least reachable to everyone in the organization. As I soon learned, being available had its drawbacks and while I knew when I was needed, I was not always able to promptly respond due to the limited (one way) communication that this device provided and the lack of public phones in various parts of the country. Over the years the pager evolved. First supporting two-way messaging then came along the cell phone and text messaging, more recently my device not only began to support voice and data (text) but I also had a real-time connection to the corporate email server. Each new advancement allowed me to be contacted by more methods as well as respond in real-time. The latest iteration of my corporate technology provides the ability to access the world wide web. Now, not only can I communicate with co-workers and customers in real-time but I have access to an unlimited source of information such as receiving driving directions, downloading company information or making travel reservations. Although I have a technical background, I am not one to invest in technology just because it is new or cool. If it does not make my life easier and allow me to get more done in less time, I generally pass right by. The point is that mobile computers empower me to be more productive and build better relationships with colleges and customers alike. If mobile computers can do this for me they certainly can do the same for you and your mobile workers. If you are interested in empowering your mobile workers, DecisionPoint can help.
Prior generations of computing solutions remained stationary and where typically clustered into a few locations such as office buildings and warehouses. This clustering simplified the support requirements since technicians could “touch” a large number of devices in a short time period. Mobile computing has complicated the support model not only due to the devices being able to change locations on a moment’s notice but they are also no longer deployed in clusters. As a result, new technologies and processes need to be considered when supporting a deployment of mobile devices. Items to consider include:
- When, where and how to deploy software updates
- Remote diagnosis of mobile application issues
- Updating of security credentials
- Location of mobile assets
- Bandwidth utilization
- Remote user training
- Identification of hardware failures
Like the enterprise class support tools of the past and today, we also have a set of mobile device management tools (MDM). These tools are designed to specifically meet the unique demands and requirements of mobile devices. These requirements include; least cost routing (being able to choose the communication network depending on application function), the ability to push application updates on demand or schedule for at a specific time, the ability to take remote control of the device to resolve issues or for user training purposes as well as many other. DecisionPoint has been installing and supporting MDM tools since their beginning and has the deep industry knowledge to provide you with best practice consulting in the configuration of your MDM tool or provide you with a completely managed MDM offering (MobileCare EMM).
“According to Forrester Research, 78% of the enterprises are instituting BYOD programs, with 60% including smartphones, while 47% include tablets and laptops. 70% said that improved worker productivity is the key reason for BYOD”. Motorola, Secure Access Partner Brief. With the growing number of BYOD participants questions related to the corporation’s access of personal information continue to be asked. Questions like:
- Is my employer tracking my movements during work hours or after?
- If my employer “wipes” my device what happens to my personal information (pictures, music, address book, etc.)?
- Can my employer view my browsing history?
- Can my employer seize my device to discover or preserve evidence related to a legal action?
The key to answering many of these questions is directly related to the capabilities of your MDM tool and the policies that are created to support your company’s BYOD program. In order to gain the greatest benefits from a BYOD program it is advised to thoroughly examine the purpose of the program and define a set of policies that ensure the business objectives while preserving each participant’s personal information. This discussion is too broad to cover in a blog posting; however, the good news is that MDM (mobile device management) tools are rapidly releasing new features to address these types of concerns. As a final thought, once you have defined your BYOD policies it is recommended that you publish a Mobility Users Policy Guide and make this available to all program participants. Think of this guide in the same manner as your Human Resource (HR) Manual in that it is the first document that an employee will reference for information related to the company’s implementation and support of mobile devices.