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At a recent Mobility conference there was a session on how Ford incorporates technology into their vehicles. Jim Buczkowski, Director of Electrical and Electronics Systems, at Ford Motors showcased that the car company breaks down in-car tech  into three buckets: what is 1) Built in, 2) Brought in, and 3) Beamed in. As a frequent renter of their cars, I can readily see how thinking about these three aspects impact the driving experience. I love how easy it is to sync my iPhone with the car so I can use the built in voice activation to control the in car navigation, my phone as well as outside audio sources like Pandora. This three-part construct can is also helpful for I.T. when looking at enterprise mobility.

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Built In

What are the apps and tools that end users must have to work in their roles? For apps and tools that are required for security and compliance purposes, a good distribution method is when users on-board their phones and tablets using Mobile Device Management tools. For items that are not required but are core to worker productivity, you can ensure delivery via an Corporate App Store experience. The advantage of an app store is distribution can be broken down by role. Sales teams get the apps and content relevant to them, HR and Support would get a different package. The point is to ensure that everyone has the same basic tools to level set against. BMC has a solution for both of the above scenarios, check out more on BMC MDM and BMC AppZone.

 

Brought In

With the era of BYOD upon us, I.T. has focused on the device side of what the user is bringing to the workplace. Broad device support is important, but equally important is looking at what apps the users are bringing in along with their devices. These apps can serve as the basis for building a library of tools other team members can take advantage on. Look at apps tracked in your MDM tool and compare that with what gets downloaded on your internal app store. Are there any very popular apps that are brought in via outside sources? Are more people downloading and using Dropbox than your corporate approved content sharing tool. For these grass roots tools (one that are appropriate for your business), place copies of them on your app store so you can track their usage and manage updates and licenses.

 

Beamed In

The steady stream of data flowing into devices and often across your WiFi network isn’t just traffic to manage but a source of information about what your users want and need. Are your users downloading and streaming the same content, if so then find ways to host that inside your servers for easier and more efficient access. If lots of people are subscribing to a particular business related app (Wall Street Journal, CIO Magazine) purchase volume licenses and manage them in your app store. The content does not always have to be work related to provide value to your users and lighten the load on your infrastructure. If you notice people downloading FIFA app and streaming the World Cup to their phones during lunch hour, provide it on the big screen in the break room.

 

These are just a few examples of how to think of the broader implementation and impact mobility has on your businesses. Looking to other industries like automotive can provide a new perspective on how to get the most benefit from this transformation. Let us know what outside-the-I.T.-box areas you think might apply here.

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The onslaught of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) and Consumerization of I.T. brings with it many transformational changes to ITSM. The productivity gains from a mobile enabled workforce are significant. The reduction in lost time from more consumer focused self-service user interfaces hitting I.T. service applications is also a boon to both users and I.T.

 

An unintended consequence of these trends is there is a increased likelihood end users will take matters into their own hands beyond just the basics. Just like the trend of Shadow I.T. with cloud services, empowered mobile users may overstep IT and provide their own services that overlap or even conflict with ITSM. iStock_000016331079Small.jpgMobile users are often a fiercely independent bunch and the possibility of BYOIT or a full-blown outbreak of “Shadow ITSM” is real. What can I.T. do to deliver world-class service that helps build the business instead of being at odds with the business units they are chartered with helping? The answer is much the same as we have seen with Cloud services.

 

Much like Cloud Lifecycle Management has helped corral rogue cloud provisioning and present a win-win where users get the flexibility, agility and choice they crave while I.T. gets compliance, cost management, and benefits of scale. In the new world of Mobility, Self-service IT, Social I.T. can use tools like BMC’s MyIT, AppZone and Remedyforce as well as some best practices to stay ahead of the curve.

 

Here are six tips to get things started:

 

  1. I.T. Needs to Be First in Line for Upgrades – Users have become accustomed to the Mobile software arms race and implement upgrades within hours of release. Last year, a team offsite I attended happened to coincide with the OS7 release date. By the end of the day every single Apple gadget was running the new OS. It was a badge of honor. IT needs to embrace early adopter behavior, be there early to ensure any compatibility issues are caught early and communicated out immediately.
  2. Achieve a HealthyBalance Between Self-Service and Full Service. Consumerization of I.T. and increased reliance on self-service interfaces go hand in hand. End users, especially mobile ones, have come to rely on tools that give them just what they need in quick and engaging interface. BMC’s MyIT is an excellent tool to build a great self-service foundation with ITSM. But self-service has it limits. More complex tasks require having a great full service experience to get things done. I.T. in the New IT world should ensure self-service and full service work in tandem. By freeing up I.T. support staff from routine and repetitive interactions, workers can focus on delivering world-class service when engaging with end users over more complex matters.
  3. Uncover App Store Influencers – Products like BMC AppZone provide an app store for all of the applications needed to get work done at an organization. These app stores provide a treasure trove of information on what apps are on the rise. In addition to looking at download and ratings metrics, I.T. should seek out key influencers inside the company. Create a council of app users who regularly share why they recommended a particular app and understand what makes an app go viral within a team or division. Just like the marketing department hires social media experts to scour through the Twittersphere or Facebook graph to unearth trends, I.T. can look at reports from AppZone to be on the lookout for the next big thing to hit the organization.
  4. Crowdsource the Knowledge base – One of the great benefits of BMC Remedyforce is that it is based on the Force.com platform. Aside from all the platform benefits, it also helps to bridge the gap between the internal social workplace communications and standard ITSM operations. You can integrate conversations on Chatter with Knowledge base information to provide a more comprehensive level of service.
  5. Use MDM as a Force for Good. For many end users the idea of I.T. having visibility into their mobile device usage is invasive and often leads to failed BYOD implementations. A recent Gartner study predicts 20% of all BYOD will fail due to these heavy-handed policies. I.T. not only needs to be transparent with what it will and wont do with user data, but also present positive examples of Mobile Device Management (MDM) having an ongoing and direct benefit to end users. By looking at what apps are installed on devices via BMC MDM, I.T. can see popular trends that don’t show up on the corporate app store. Instead of blacklisting, I.T. can then add and even feature this popular downloads on the corporate app store.
  6. Walk the walk, talk the talk, and wear the wearables – Smart watches and Google Glass are the next wave of BYOD. I.T. needs to break out of their aversion of the untested and understand the unique dynamics of the Internet of Things. I recently upgraded my Pebble smart watch to the latest software and in the process how apps work changed dramatically. Before the update, my watch synched directly with the regular smartphone version of an app like my biking app Strava or golfing app Free Caddie. The app sensed the presence of the Pebble and sent pertinent info to the watch face. After the update, apps now reside in a Pebble container with set-up and app interaction buried in a confusing menu structure. Sure helping me find the best hill climb or distance to the 8th green are not the purview of I.T., but it won’t be long before core business apps like Dropbox or Evernote are on these devices.

 

These are just a few ideas of how I.T. can stay ahead of the curve in The New I.T. Era. Tell us your success story and enter to win a set of Beats Headphones. Between February 18 - March 17, BMC Software will give away five Beats Headphones each to BMC followers who share their own #ITforthewin stories

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A statistic that has come up many times at the AirWatch Connect event is: 22% of apps are downloaded and used once. For some this is a cause for alarm questioning the value of apps or the fact we are awash in a sea of apps and none can break through the clutter. I see it as a chance for app developers and enterprise app stores to recognize that apps can have a time sensitivity factor and should be deployed with that in mind. Some categories especially well suited for disposable apps:

 

Event Based Apps

Here at the AirWatch Connect Show in Atlanta, the event organizers have provided attendees with a app container with a suite apps for making the show experience more productive. Attendees get a Secure Content Locker with brochures, a video app, and a contact app where you can get info from someone you meet at the show via a scan of the QR code on their badge. The apps have an expiration date shortly after the show for future reference.

 

Activity Apps

For certain time sensitive activities like closing the quarter, training or team offsites a specific application can improve productivity. Having an app designed to address the aspects of specific activity focuses the user and interaction. Important milestones can have extra prominence in the UX. Training app icons can highlight the number of activities remain and automatically disappear when completed.

 

Location Based Apps

When arriving at a new location deliver a package of apps to help navigate the local area. Apps like MyIT are an excellent way to provide information on the local office with floor plans and office locations, and organizations can extend these by providing a container of apps from the public transportation, preferred hotel chain, or top local attractions. Once the traveling user goes back home, these apps can disappear.

 

In this world of disposable applications, I.T. needs to take design and distribution considerations to get them most from the disposable app deployments:

 

Allow for Longer Lifespans

While many of these types of apps will have a limited life span, for some users there is a need for them to remain on their device. Give users a way to transition an app out of a container time/location restriction and make it permanent.

 

Create Community Within App Users

The very nature of an app being tied to an event or makes them perfect for social components. Having features to share the app with others or have features that connect app users will engender more community among users.

 

Use the “Operators are Standing Buy” Effect When Promoting

For apps that expire in time window, use promotional areas in your enterprise app store to ensure people get them in time. With tools like BMC’s AppZone you can use high profile banners with calls to action to download before a deadline. The fear of missing out is a powerful motivator.

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I am an unabashed gadget freak and when my Pebble Smartwatch Kickstarter order arrived last month, I was like a kid in a candy store. After setting it up and a week of wearing only short sleeves shirts to ensure everyone would see it (and undoubtedly ask about it), I started to wonder if this is the next wave of I.T. device consumerization. The short answer is no and maybe.

 

As it stands now the Pebble and other smart watches are just second screens for a smartphone. Aside from standard watch functions, they get all their smarts from a Bluetooth connection. Functionality is limited: I get caller ID, SMS, and some email headers. There is no calendar support or ability to interface with other apps on the phone. The Pebble is conversation piece and likely to see VERY limited traction within the workforce. For now, I.T. can ignore employee wrists as a place to worry about device management, security or compliance.

 

Smartwatches like Pebble’s long term promise lies in the platform. Apps like fitness tracking, golfing rangefinder, and to do lists are in the works by the developer community. This is when it gets interesting from an I.T. perspective.

 

Having users with smart interfaces always on their person is something I.T. should take notice. For example, I.T. workers could get alerts when servers crash. Think MyIT in mini mode. For retail, arming (pun intended) front-of-the-house employees with smart watches would simplify shift switching and inventory management. No more “clean up on aisle 5” announcements; just ping the closest employee via their watch and they can take care of the issue.

 

Basically, a Pebble will become a programmable pager/smartphone second display and with that comes some great potential in the workforce. As developers within I.T. and other teams build out internal apps, think about ways to make the information glanceable and actionable that would work on the smallest of screens.