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What's Your Mobile Management Style?

IT departments over the last couple of years have been drinking from the firehose when it comes to dealing with mobile devices in the workplace.

Known as the "consumerization of IT," practically speaking, it means employees have been bringing their own devices to work and demanding that their IT department support their use.

The pace at which devices like smartphones and tablets are arriving unannounced in organizations shows no signs of letting up, either. But the people who try to help advise corporate IT on managing their infrastructures in an orderly way seem to be catching up and starting to give guidance on how to handle the device explosion.

One example came at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2011 in Barcelona this month. During the conference, analysts from Gartner outlined four mobile management styles that it expects will emerge (quotes are from a Gartner document outlining the styles):

  • Control-oriented. "The organization provides and strictly manages devices, contracts and applications."

  • Choice-oriented. "The primary goal is user satisfaction, typically in cases where users demand a greater choice of devices, but have relatively undemanding application and service needs." Characterized by lightweight control and limited application support.

  • Innovation-oriented. "The goal is to empower users who want substantial autonomy and are often in roles over which IT has little or no control. [Users] are in charge, and no reasonable device, application or service request can be refused. The IT organization won't abandon responsibility for critical issues such as data privacy and corporate risk; however, the controls will likely be more policy-oriented than technology-oriented."

  • Hands-off. "The goal is to take the minimum level of responsibility for mobile devices and services, typically by not providing them. This regime is not about avoiding responsibility, but finding approaches that mean it's not necessary to take responsibility. It includes concepts such as employee-owned devices and [bring your own] IT."

These mobile management styles are pretty basic, but they seem like a pretty logical way to start categorizing organizations, departments and employees.

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 14, 2011 at 11:58 AM