Too big to fail? Don’t count on it.

The benefits of mobility to productivity and employee satisfaction are undeniable, as is the unyielding growth of consumerization. But has the manner in which IT has implemented mobility jeopardized its chance of success?

An article in Forbes citing an interview with NTTi3 CTO Mayan Mathen suggests that this may be the case. If its prediction is accurate, we will witness the era of consumerization fizzle dissipate like so many tech fads before.

The primary argument against the success of consumerization and mobility resides in the sharp departure of mobile computing from traditional IT mentality. Since its dawn IT has operated with a control-first mindset. Technology is chosen for users, standardized, and then conveniently (for IT) delivered. Many early attempts at enterprise mobility, through MDM and BYOD programs, are an extension of this mentality. But mobile computing, both in theory and practice, necessitates a new approach.

Development in mobile computing is chaotic, progressive, and evolving. Let alone, for a moment, mobility’s rapid pace of change, which exceeds anything IT has experienced; the OSs, device configuration, and networking associated with mobile computing are a far cry from lock-down IT. The rift between engrained IT mentality and where it needs to be to truly embrace mobility is so extensive that IT organizations risk massive failures if cultural changes aren’t made to accommodate these new technologies.

So what needs to happen for mobility to truly succeed? It’s a loaded question, but I believe it will require IT to take the leash off, support more choice, and enforce less control. Let me be clear, I do not suggest IT orgs take a careless or listless approach to implementation. Roll out needs to be calculated and deliberate, but it will demand that IT assume the role of service broker.

IT will need to manage apps centrally and stream them to devices, thus building control into the service without limiting user choice or restricting access. Like the principals of cloud, this approach would enable technology to show up when needed and allow for IT to remain relevant and productive, not prohibitive and suffocating.

What do you think? Is IT jeopardizing the success of enterprise mobility? Is control in this case a necessary evil? And if so, can mobile computing thrive in such an environment?

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