Sybase releases guide for enterprise mobile strategies
Mobile technology vendor Sybase Inc. released on Tuesday a 130-page how-to guide to help enterprise IT and business leaders formulate a mobility strategy to deal with the increasing proliferation of devices beyond the familiar BlackBerry.

The mistake committed by most enterprises when considering mobility management is to look solely at the obvious, but it’s much more complex than that, said Dan Ortega, senior director for product marketing with Dublin, Calif.-based Sybase.

“They look at the device in their hand. They look at the shiny object and they think ‘Oh, mobility’ and they (think) they’ve got it. And, it’s not that at all,” said Ortega.

The guide, Enterprise Mobility Guide 2011, is available in hardcopy or electronically and includes strategic advice, case studies and research data from various contributors from Sybase, industry analysts and technology partners.

Sections in the guide include Transformation of the Enterprise (mobile trends in the enterprise), The Mobility Effect (how mobile devices impact the business), Mobile Ecosystem @ Work (mobility and the application developer community), Mobile Enterprise Best Practices (return on investment and security issues), and Market Data (mobility research data and trends).

Sybase, itself, last year began taking a different approach to how it discussed mobility. Ortega said it was less about “how” and more about “why” because enterprise mobility cannot be assumed.

“For a long time it was a BlackBerry world… but then suddenly people started getting options,” said Ortega, referring to the entrance of, first, Apple’s iPhone followed by Android-based devices in the business.

But a mobility strategy is more than just the device. Ortega said it’s also about the information being accessed on that device given that smart phones today offer functionality beyond just simple e-mail.

Sybase blogger Eric Lai said the timing of the guide aligns rather well with the influx of mobile devices into the enterprise today. Lai foresees 2011 as being the year when companies start shifting from the traditional long process of custom-developed mobile apps to pre-packaged apps.

Enterprises, said Lai, will begin planning and rolling out mobile devices across employees. “So the market is really going mass,” he said.

The guide discusses that transformation as well as topics such as challenges facing IT leaders regarding mobility strategies. Cliff Cibelli, group manager for enterprise mobility with Verizon, a Sybase and SAP AG technology partner, contributed to the guide with a piece that discusses the hurdles created by smart phone proliferation in Realities of a Highly Mobile Workforce.

Cibelli said he’s observed the biggest challenge facing IT leaders is lifecycle management of mobile devices and apps. The need for holistic management becomes obvious when IT leaders realize company-issued devices are less capable than those personal devices employees are bringing in to work, said Cibelli.

The end goal of a mobility strategy, said Cibelli, is to grant end users better access to information on devices. The guide addresses the fact that enterprises are positioned at different points along the mobility maturity curve.

Verizon developed a mobile management software, Verizon Managed Mobility, along with SAP and Sybase.
Brandon Mensinga, senior analyst for mobility with Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd., sees the guide is a useful comprehensive aggregation of information, compared to the “snippets” of information otherwise available.

Moreover, Mensinga thinks enterprises are at an inflection point as they consider what technology to adopt from the broad range of vendor offerings on the market. “It’s when organization are starting to wrap their heads around what’s beginning to happen with mobile devices,” said Mensinga.

The guide’s message that information access is a major component of any mobility strategy plays well into SAP’s strengths, noted Mensinga. As the Germany-based company starts to offer on-demand versions of its industry-specific enterprise resource planning software, understanding the mobilization of apps becomes important.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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