Mobile adoption still lags behind vendor hype

Mobility management is evolving by leaps and bounds, but some companies haven’t even put their mobile adoption plans in place.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Despite rapid advancement in enterprise mobility management technologies many organizations still struggle to get basic mobile adoption projects off the ground.

The gap between enterprise mobility management products and the readiness of their intended customers was on full display here at Citrix Synergy 2013.

How are we going to roll this out to our users without them thinking we're Big Brother?

Greg Tiber, an Exchange administrator 

Citrix Systems, Inc. launched its new XenMobile software, which offers a unified interface for managing, securing and deploying apps to business users' mobile devices. But some attendees said they haven't even adopted more basic technologies, such as mobile device management (MDM). Others acknowledged that shifting to an enterprise mobility management (EMM) mindset can be intimidating.

"A lot of companies don't want to be the pioneers," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, a consulting firm in Northborough, Mass.

'Analysis paralysis' stalls mobile adoption

MDM is the aspect of EMM that most closely resembles IT's traditional approach to endpoint security. IT can enforce password requirements, control network access and wipe data in the event of theft or loss. In a world where end users bring their own devices to work, however, this heavy-handed, all-or-nothing approach isn't always feasible.

Enter mobile application management (MAM), which lets IT control corporate assets while leaving employees' personal apps and data untouched. But it also requires organizations to rethink their traditional application deployment strategies, said Mike Whitehead, senior systems engineer at Intuit, Inc., a financial management software provider.

"It's something we're going to need, but it's a big change," he said.

This change is not something organizations take likely. Every stakeholder, from IT to the C-suite, will have concerns about the ramifications.

Sometimes, companies spend so much time batting around these questions that they find their mobility initiatives caught in "analysis paralysis,", said Michael McKiernan, Citrix's vice president of business technology.

Mobile adoption factors

An organization's size, industry and type of workers all affect its mobile adoption strategy, Gold said.

"If you're in a company where the users don't have much sway, IT is going to get to it when they get to it," he said.

IT professionals are often hesitant to embrace mobility because they like to have control, and they equate control with their ability to serve end users, said David Collier, global senior Citrix engineer at Newmont Mining Corp. in Greenwood Village, Colo.

"How do we keep providing that A-level experience when we don't have that control?" he said during a Synergy customer panel. "We have a very, very hard job ahead of us."

End users' needs should also come into play, especially in organizations considering BYOD. Any attempt to manage personal mobile devices will raise questions about privacy, said Greg Tiber, an Exchange administrator at a financial services firm in Wisconsin.

"How are we going to roll this out to our users without them thinking we're Big Brother?" he asked.

MAM is not immune to this problem; for example, even though XenMobile does not manage personal assets, it does request access to the device's location information.

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