As most of my Long View colleagues can attest, a career in IT is a career that never stands still. And those of us who work in Mobility (as the name might suggest) have learned to operate at an even higher gear.
As a leader with Long View’s Mobility practice, I’ve seen the maturity of the space evolve rapidly. Right now, we’re supporting handheld and mobile devices that enjoy faster connectivity than most office-based Local Area Networks. Frankly, the growth in smartphone technology itself is a challenge to keep up with, not to mention tablets.
In other words, grab hold — because it’s moving very, very fast.
Mobility, as you’ve probably already guessed, is one of the most dynamic areas on the IT landscape today, and it provides a constant challenge to IT professionals specializing in the space.
Users are adding mobile platforms (smartphones and tablets) to their traditional desktop workspace environments. Some of them are migrating entirely. And any IT professional worth his or her salt can tell you this change presents new challenges — and demands new skills — for deployment, support, and securing of these devices and the environments in which they’re used.
Robin Bell, our Chief Technology Officer at Long View, believes the enterprise is looking for better methods of managing employees’ mobile devices in a holistic way, and also seeking better security and consistency of support. In his view, the traditional means of managing devices and supporting end users have changed — and, in some cases, no longer apply.
Some experts in the field believe this particular Mobility trend, along with other factors such as price and the availability of technology, has led to the so-called “consumerization of IT.” They believe enterprises need to do a better job of adapting to consumer (and employee) mobile technology.
Practically speaking, if you’re an IT professional looking to specialize in the fast-moving world of Mobility, I’d suggest that certain considerations are critical. The integration of enterprise messaging, for one. Deep understanding of network technologies and public-key infrastructure (PKI), as well. I’d say a well-rounded and well-versed understanding of wireless hardware and operating systems (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows), and a firm grasp of traditional datacenter technologies, are all key to success.
And from a purely tactical perspective — this arises directly out of our experience dealing with Long View’s clients — I also believe that much of Mobility boils down to crafting corporate policies and designing governance frameworks.
To me, it’s critical to understand how the traditional, top-down business enterprise paradigm is changing. Workshift is impacting how and when people connect. The technology in the home, in many cases, is more powerful than the stuff that’s provisioned by the employer.
Believe it or not, Mobility involves emotional and cultural challenges, too. Android users, iPhone users, and BlackBerry users are three very different people in the workplace, and they use their smartphones in different ways, for different reasons.
So . . . you’re thinking about specializing in the Mobility space. What skills do you need to be exceptional?
You need to be able to talk to three different generations in the workforce. You need to be a good business communicator, because you’ll very likely need to be able write policy and procedure in governance. And you’ll need the broad set of technical skills required to integrate the ever-changing devices into the data center.
What about the attraction, the rush, that you’ll get out of Mobility? To me, it’s clear. It’s empowering people to do business on any device, anywhere.