MDM a new line into the IT Service Strategy (Part 1)

By Laurent Duenas, April, 4th 2014 


 MDM has become a commonly used acronym for most IT departments nowadays. Behind it stands a crucial management practice applied to a new area of IT Services, named “Mobility”. What people have less in mind is that MDM supports a lot of business expectations in terms of innovation and workplace productivity.   This article aims to give a comprehensive vision of what MDM sustains through the prism of ITSM which inspires value creation for business


Introduction to MDM


What is it?

When we talk about Mobile Device Management we often think about a management tool to handle mobile device features and basic security controls. But it is much larger and tougher than that.  Mobile Device Management is one of the trends going on with Mobility, which is one of the biggest IT challenges happening today in companies. Mobility is a central stake forcing its entrance in most companies and becoming one of the top CIOs’ concerns.  Pushed by new technologies and all new working habits, mobility becomes an unavoidable business requirement that change many ways of how IT departments are used to supplying IT Services.

The challenges are:


►  To completely re-design the end-user workplace and its surrounding services

►  To change the Delivery Model of corporate and market applications to be used from mobile devices

►  To provide new utilities and warranties and enhance company’s competitive edge

►  To protect corporate information against potential security breaches

►  To find new sources of efficiency


What are the trends that support its development?

It becomes social evidence. Mobiles get into companies even if they are not invited. Business Lines require mobile devices in the new way they see their business operations; also because personal devices, initially used in the private sphere, invade the business environment, senior managers being the first to bring them to their office, IT departments have no choice to integrate mobility to give access to corporate data and applications from anywhere, whenever, and from any device. 


The following situations represent the natural evolution of mobile device usage within the company. Each stage requires specific mobility services, as delivery and support capabilities. As demand and expectations level evolve, the IT department has to design more structured services and to build suited service assets. See below:

Since mobile devices get more success within the professional environment, IT departments have to structure reliable Mobility Services adapted to business requirements. Behind this word IT departments have to build a portfolio of Mobility Services supported by solid service models and service assets fully designed and managed through sounded ITSM practices.


The more we dive into the MDM description the more a Mobility Service Strategy necessary.


Why is service strategy for mobility a necesary step?


A strategy to undertake protection of corporate data and applications

Many new risks arise from mobile technology capabilities and related human behavior. All these risks must be anticipated and be mitigated through a clear security strategy. No one can be left aside.

Risks are numerous and come from multiple causes. New habits and usage outside company’s offices, enlarge the scope of potential threats. Corporate mobiles usage in public places such as bars, supermarkets, beach, or even nightclubs, with direct access to corporate network or documents brought inside the device memory, or to store confidential documents in a public drop box, and continuous synchronization with external public applications, increase security breaches possibilities or simply increase the risk for devices to be stolen or lost with their corporate data.


Other risks of respecting private life confidentiality due to the fact that frontier between personal and professional usage of the mobile device is even thinner. With new approaches as Bring Your Own Device, or Corporate Owned Personally Enabled makes IT administrators access to personal information (personal files, photographs, travel information, etc.). 


A strategy to support the corporate value chain

Companies deploy bunch of efforts to set-up their singular Value Chain that differentiates them from competitors (according to Michael Porter's concept). Companies have now to integrate new know-how and specific assets relating to Mobility into existing knowledge, processes, and management tools, to perfectly reinforce the Value Chain. This takes company’s assets to a further step of innovation and operational excellence.


This is why Mobility cannot be taken on just as an additional technical project – as MDM acronym would tend to mean from a simplistic technical perspective - without any understanding of how these new IT Services will “fit-for-purpose” and “fit-for-use” to business processes and outcomes.


Within a Mobility project many end-users and infrastructure policies will be defined and can have an impact on business process performance. This reason justifies leading the Mobility implementation with a close attention paid to business unique assets and differentiators, in order to reinforce them instead of to destroy.


A strategy to align mobility policies with current coporate and IT ones

The management of the end-user workplace, as for the management of the Data-Center, are ruled by management processes and policies. This set of existing processes and policies works as a whole management system to which Mobility cannot enter in with its own vision of how to rule its designs, its changes, its operations, etc.  Management processes and policies relating to Mobility have to be carried out taking care of being perfectly integrated in both directions.


A Mobility project encompasses policies about security, end-user equipments, data storage, application permissions, etc. These policies interact with all the existing ones that make the power wheel of all IT operations.  This project cannot be handled without any precise strategy about how mobility policies will fit with the existing ones, how they will interact, and achieve a perfect alignment between all of them.


Some of them are listed in the illustration below:


Consistency within all MDM project tracks

A MDM project is made of a set of technology and management domains that have de be defined, designed, built and implemented to be then daily operated, in order to cover all the aspects of mobility. We usually see the deployment of new mobile devices (such as new tablets and smartphones) and a MDM tool to manage settings and features in an efficient way. But Mobility Services, made accessible from these new devices, do not rely only on the device management tool. There are many other services such as supporting services, infrastructure services, security services, self-help portal, data and application access services, to be implemented. Each of them needs to be identified as an individual project track to be scheduled and piloted consistently with the deployment of the mobile devices and the MDM tool. 


What we consider important to be designed and implement jointly with the MDM tool and mobile devices deployment projects are:

►  Building the suited service-desk able to support mobile end-users according to their business criticality.

►  Bringing corporate application to Mobile Appstores, and setting up the right Release Mmanagement process allowing application to be delivered with compliance to technical and security requirements.

►  Designing the charging model for Mobility Services required to fund the entire costs of MDM projects implementations and operating, according to the level of service usage, 


Without the right vision of what a MDM project should include, no attention can be given to the right priorities and it is difficult to keep the project consistent. No guarantee to support business objectives and to implement the project tracks within the expected timeframe can be given.


Here below see an illustration of what are the diverse domains included into a Mobility Strategy:

(To be continued in part 2, available the forthcoming months)


Copyright © 2014 - PRACT Publishing

Article sequence

►  Introduction to MDM (Part 1)

►  How to deal with that? (Part 2)

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