who - how - what - why - will it integrate?

When Is “A Solution” A Solution?

Many “solutions” are not solutions, they are part of a puzzle. They have to be appropriate to the organisation and they have to integrate with the existing environment.

We work with a range of organisations to help them understand whether there is a “better way” and the benefits that might accrue. There is almost always a tension between the requirements of IT and the needs of the business, so we try and design solutions that bring the business benefit while minimising risk and management overhead. Having identified a way forward we then ensure that the solutions are whole and integrated, rather than trying to deliver a bunch of point solution appliances just because that creates a larger and easier sale.

 

mobile applications

Cloud and Mobility or Not?

Cloud and mobility have potential to change to rules, but typically organisations struggle with:

  • Are they right for our organisation?
  • How to adopt them in a way that doesn’t open the organisation to undue risk?
  • Which acronym of ownership should we go with?
  • How can we enable legacy applications on mobile devices without huge rewrites?
  • How do we improve the user experience to get closer to their personal application usage?
  • How do we with cope with the lack of visual security cues on a small screen device?
  • How do we stop “files everywhere” with the resultant sync and security concerns?
  • How do we know what cloud services departments have bought from their revenue budget?
  • How do we stop the helpdesk getting swamped with password reset requests for the myriad new services?
  • How can we control malware and browsing for users without backhauling everything over a VPN to head office?
  • How can we ensure data that goes to public cloud services is encrypted using our key and meets our DLP standards?

Typical Current Problems

risk of data leakage from users bypassing systems

Questions and Tensions

Ownership models come in multiple guises, including:

  • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
  • HYOD (Here is Your Own Device)
  • COPE (Company Owned, Personally Enabled)
  • COBO (Corporate Only, Business Only)
  • BYOA (Bring Your Own App)

or one of the many acronyms that exist. The COBO model used to be pervasive, typically a Blackberry, but is becoming increasingly rare. A Deloitte report show 78% of ‘Generation Y’ would prefer greater use of mobile technology at work. Users tend to prefer BYOD as they get the device they like and one they are familiar with; some argue that improves productivity. There tends to be a perceived tension between personal privacy and corporate security.

While Gartner describe a concept of “Shadow IT” where users and departments bypass IT and sign up for their own services, probably without normal due diligence. Gartner predicts that by the end of the decade, 90% of technology will be procured outside of IT.

Shadow IT can bring some significant benefits to the organisation, in terms of flexibility, capital costs and time to market.

Whether it was web browsing, Wi-Fi, social media, or now mobile and apps on demand, the historic typical reaction has been “no, no, it’s too high risk and/or a productivity killer”. This rarely worked. In many instances now the pendulum has swung too far the other way, with a free-for-all.

 

content rich mobile tablet user

What’s Needed?

The world has changed and in most cases holding back the tide is neither desirable nor viable. For the most part users are not malicious, they just want the easiest way to do their job, but don’t realise the inherent risks of that approach. To get maximum business benefit IT need to get stuff out of the shadows and rationalise the services that are currently being used and try and consolidate those into a more selective offering, picking the best of what’s in use, or a more appropriate, similar service.

The focus then can be on improving services to the end user by:

  • Enable controlled “direct to cloud” connections
  • Ensuring DLP requirements are met
  • Implement appropriate encryption
  • Mobilise and create mobile workflows for business applications
  • Implement singly sign-on and appropriate identity and access management
  • Implement a content enablement system that ensures users get the right content automatically delivered

The outcome should be that users get the usability experience they want, while the organisation gets some control back with visibility into who is using what, when, where and how often; along with the reassurance that corporate assets are appropriately protected.

What Do We Do?

We help organisations undertake these kind of processes, leveraging appropriate tools to provide visibility into the current reality and solutions to remediating that to a more comfortable balance of risk and benefit. Where an organisation is still fully locked down we can help define and provide a controlled introduction of mobile and cloud service enablement.

This is achieved through a mix of consulting, design and professional services. Our consultants are highly skilled and also provide integration and professional and training service on behalf of global equipment manufacturers to end user organisations.

Our consultants have real world experience and can see the bigger picture, rather than just focussing on their niche and delivering a technology niche that works but a project that fails, they consider the end to end solution and the business benefits.