So here we are, already halfway through the year of working mobile-only from the ‘phablet’. Hard to believe, but in a lot of ways my PC days seem really far gone. If the struggles of the first quarter seemed to centre on apps and functionality, the struggles of the second quarter were definitely dominated by challenges with the OS and hardware itself. There just seemed to be lots of fumbles, blown passes, and field goals that were wide left of the uprights. So while this halftime show won’t have dancing girls and marching bands, it will provide the opportunity to take stock of where we’ve been and how to adjust the plays in our playbook for the second half.
I spent the first quarter looking at how to get the job done, how to perform basic work tasks on the device. From office productivity apps that replace Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to collaboration apps and services, I became proficient enough with these apps and their functional capabilities to move the ball down the field with ease. However, in the second quarter I kept finding myself sacked by the Android OS and upgrade path (or in my case lack thereof). I didn’t have to think about how to get a task done, but the shortcomings of Android really effected productivity. I lost a lot of time just futzing with the underlying system. There is more to enterprise mobility than just getting the job done; more moving parts to synchronise for success.
One lesson I’ve learned first-hand this past half-year is that change is unrelenting when it comes to mobile technology. Apps, operating systems, and devices change in the blink of an eye. New apps appear almost daily. Software updates are constant. I have a drawer full of devices from the recent past that are physical reminders of the rapid change in mobile capabilities. I can see further change in my near future. The next version of the ‘phablet’, the Samsung Galaxy Note II, is likely to be released this fall. Even if I forego the new device, there is talk about another OS upgrade becoming available for my current device. During this half-time break it is a perfect time to get strategic about on-going change. Summer is winding down, kids are going back to school, and I need a few new plays in my playbook to hold the lead in the game.
With these hard-earned lessons in mind, here is my approach for the second half. Devices should be considered disposable and temporary; damage, loss, theft, upgrades, etc. can render a device useless in the blink of an eye. Beyond the security implications of a loss of a device, the productivity downtime can be just as costly. The ecosystem of apps and its associative data, while recoverable, have a re-deployment cost. I may have figured out which apps work and which OS pitfalls to avoid but I want to assemble and test the best of breed management capabilities that will allow recovery from a catastrophic event with the least amount of downtime. Therefore, over this next quarter I’ll be looking at enterprise mobile management solutions that can meet both the app/data security requirements as well as time to recovery from a clean slate.
Marred by various struggles, the first two quarters weren’t exactly the speediest in recent memory. I hope the second half will go without as many bumps in the road. As many of you know, I am an avid runner. Whenever I run a new route for the first time it seems to take a long time to go just a short ways. As you absorb the unfamiliar, you spend time noticing the curve of the road, have to pay attention to the street names, take in the scenery, etc. However, given the chance to run that same route repeatedly, the time and distance seem to fly by; the path becomes automatic. In the same way, as we collectively venture into the world of enterprise mobility, there are many details that we’ll have to perform repeatedly in order to get to that same effortless experience. Practice will make perfect with the right approach.