Jun 25 2015

Feds Take Evolutionary Path to Enterprise Mobility Management

Agencies reduce costs and gain efficiencies from a single pane of glass.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture deployed mobile device management a few years ago but quickly recognized it would need more functionality. Janell Duke, deputy director of the USDA’s Infrastructure Operations Division, says that’s why the agency opted for MobileIron.

The USDA chose the MobileIron platform because it provided a broad solution for MDM, mobile application management and a secure container from which to provide mobile access to back-end data going forward.

“MobileIron also offered a single pane of glass from which our many agencies can effectively manage all three modules,” Duke says, adding that MobileIron lets USDA use a common infrastructure for mobile management and support while sharing the cost across the agencies.

Duke says MobileIron can host up to 58,000 devices under the infrastructure USDA built more than two years ago, delivering a strong return on investment. She notes that the productivity benefits of the enterprise mobility management solution outweigh the costs.


The percentage by which IT organizations expect to increase mobile app development spending in the next year

SOURCE: Gartner, “Survey Analysis: Enterprise Mobile App Development Spend is Increasing, While Platform Choice Remains Tactical,” October 2014

“The more secure it is, the more widely we can promote the product without risk to our internal data store,” Duke says. “And with the increase in usage, our organization becomes more productive, as they are able to use their mobile devices as an extension of the traditional desktop.”

Chris Silva, a research director who covers mobile and endpoint computing for Gartner, says that much like USDA, many agencies are moving past basic mobile device management to pushing apps and managing content.

“Mobile strategy started with basic device controls, but we’ve seen a lot more interest in pushing custom content to users’ devices,” Silva says. “This year, we’ll see a lot more activity in building custom mobile apps.”

Safe and Sound at NOAA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration CIO Zachary Goldstein says the agency deployed IBM/Fiberlink’s MaaS360 in 2012 for its mobile device management features. Over the years, MaaS360 has evolved into an enterprise mobility management solution.

Today, NOAA manages about 2,800 devices with MaaS360. Goldstein says deploying the cloud-based MaaS360 was a calculated approach to offer greater flexibility to NOAA users while giving the IT staff improved technical ability to manage enterprise devices securely. He says MaaS360 enables NOAA staff to provision their own devices and access a portal for self-support functions such as changing personal identification numbers and locking, locating and wiping devices.

MaaS360 also allows for what Goldstein calls “day zero” support for new operating system releases. “Everybody wants the latest and greatest,” he says. “NOAA is able to do that on day zero without the IT burden of deploying and patching software and migrating changes across on-premises hardware.”

Moving forward, Goldstein says NOAA plans to stick with MaaS360 and potentially move to a bring-your-own-device model for additional savings and workforce empowerment.

Wilfred Iven/ThinkStock

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