With “Mobile devices: segmenting use patters and industrialised heterogeneous fleet management”, Forrester explores ways of addressing the issues associated with the new workstations.

Organised by CIO and Le Monde Informatique, a seminar on multi-channel and multi-platform mobile devices, attended by 200 French IT managers, was opened by Didier Navez, an analyst from Forrester, who went over some of the major mobile device-driven trends, such as the variety of mobile patterns based on user profiles, the increasingly widespread use of multi-channel and multi-platform communication, and Bring Your Own Device. Among the more revealing statistics presented: 27% of connected adults in the US use the web and a mobile device to interact with companies.

According to Navez, this trend for multi-platform devices can be found across all divisions and levels of an organisation: employees, clients, partners, and suppliers, all of whom have high expectations where mobile services are concerned, particularly tablet users.

Advice for managing heterogeneous devices
Based on numerous interviews with IT decision-makers, Forrester identified the issues and possible solutions for managing this new trend within organisations and IT departments.

Segment use and users: according to Forrester, this is essential in order to prioritise management depending on user expectations, costs and risk, and provide mobile applications to match user profiles.

Environment management: Forrester advises CIOs, rather than adopting an identical approach to managing devices, to categorise the devices used, and implement a solution that combines flexibility with caution. According to Forrester, a company could give users of iPhones and Blackberries provided by the company access to all the business applications, whilst limiting less value-add devices to web and e-mail access.

Prioritise applications: Develop native applications for the most critical in-house applications, adapt applications with medium value-add to the web, and use virtualisation technologies for the others.

Multiplatform development: Forrester believes that user-oriented design is the key to a successful mobile device strategy and one for which in-house skills should be developed.

Funding investments: In light of the requirements of these trends in terms of bandwidth, increased security, and reinforced VPN infrastructures, they require a different approach from traditional financing models. One suitable method for companies could be calculating cost per user/application/infrastructure etc and cross-charging to the relevant department.

Accounting, legal and fiscal implications of BYOD: on which budget – IT or business- should personal mobile devices be reimbursed to the employee? And should they be totally or partially reimbursed? And what about the voice and data contracts? Forrester advises implementing a specific company policy, involving IT, Finance and Legal.

Company’s own App Store: As Didier Navez points out, more and more products are being developed in this area, particularly concerning Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools. This is an effective way of tracking fast-changing requirements.

Coordinating initiatives within the company: Forrester recommends implementing a system of governance via a multi-disciplinary committee with strategic, political and financial decision-making powers. Before implementing a project, this committee could identify the targets and allocate investment in applications for employees, clients, partners or suppliers.

> See the video of Forrester’s Didier Navez’ key-note speech (in French)