Control is an ugly word.
Direction setting is less volatile. Yet it gets you to the same places.
In an era where the power and elegance of mobile devices has launched an irretrievable move toward “I want it … and I shall have it”, how can IT bring a little order into the chaos?
Simple: get into the app business.
Your first order of business, if you haven’t already done it, is universal WiFi on company property.
Naturally, that network will be protected … but it needn’t (and shouldn’t) be closed.
Protection is a direction people can get behind. Closing it, restricting what can be accessed, is a step too far.
The world will not come to an end because someone can access Facebook or Twitter, or a Socialtext site.
Now, start delivering useful apps.
Think of these as throw-aways. Lightweight, simple, enough to get the job done. Get them out fast, don’t put a lot of money into them.
These are expenses, not capital investments.
With universal WiFi, people will carry their devices everywhere. So your apps serve that need.
“I need a meeting room” … “I need a projector” … “I need the sales numbers”.
A Find-A-Room app, a Where’s-the-Tools app, and a minimal focused dashboard app should be your responses.
Now, given that these are quick-and-dirty apps, it’s understandable that you’re not delivering them for everything.
So you do them for the most common device(s) only. You act like a real mobile application developer, and follow the market.
That market, by the way, is iOS first (iPhone/iPad), then an Android distribution, with RIM and Windows Mobile as afterthoughts.
Why iOS over Android when there’s supposed to be more Android out there? Real vendors know that iOS users are more likely to pay. Apple, in turn, has tools for corporate app distribution.
iOS also comes in only one flavour: within a week of a new version of iOS shipping, over 90% of all devices world-wide have upgraded. There are Android devices shipping today that are running 2.2, 2.3, 3.0 and 4.0. iOS comes in two form factors — phone, and pad. Android hardware comes in a variety of screen sizes, with much supplier user interface code involved.
In other words, iOS lets you get a quality product out the door, get a little respect … oh, and guide your internal market a bit.
“But we’re a BlackBerry shop”, you might say? Better pound RIM into submission, then. They don’t make any of this easy for you.
Besides, your business colleagues dumped their BlackBerry devices for that shiny new iOS or Android one they’re carrying.
You get to set direction by being useful to your internal market.
Which fight do you want to fight? … or would you rather evolve and win?