BYOD, MDM, COPE -- don't drown in mobile's alphabet soup

All those acronyms represent solutions seeking a problem when the real goal should be to satisfy users' needs well

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You succeed based on how well you fulfill the user's need. You can build a great app that enhances users' flexibility and agility compared to how they formerly did things, or you can create a crapplication that makes them want to do anything but use your app. It all revolves around how you present the data that the users want and how you let them manipulate it. It's about their user experience. This determines whether you are a success or failure.

Notice I haven't said a word about who owns the device, how you manage the device, how you build the app, or even what type of technical experience the users have. I concentrated on fulfilling the needs of the user the best way you know how. This doesn't mean that you don't need a way to manage or secure this experience -- those are all parts of satisfying the need. As for the data, it is your asset, so you want to make sure you can protect it while still allowing the users to apply it when and where they need to.

The trick is to stop approaching mobility from a device level and working your way down to te user. Instead, you need to work your way from the data that is needed on up to the user. When you take this approach, the likes of BYOD and COPE have only small consequences. MEAP, MADP, native versus HTML5, and so on all work themselves out because you started with the data and the need. You built the app based on the requirements, not the other way around. You thus avoid building a fancy doohickey that becomes a crapplication because it tries to be everything to everybody.

Sooner or later, you need to stop looking for that special something everyone is happy to sell to you by throwing the latest acronym at you, and instead figure out what it is you're trying to accomplish. The goal is to make your users flexible and agile by giving them the data that they need, when and where they need it, with a kick-ass user experience that makes them more productive. So stop worrying about the alphabet soup and start worrying about your users, their needs, and what data they require to get there.

This article, "BYOD, MDM, COPE — don't drown in mobile's alphabet soup," originally appeared at A Screw's Loose and is republished at InfoWorld.com with permission (© Brian Katz). Read more of Brian Katz's The Squeaky Wheel blog at InfoWorld.com or at A Screw's Loose. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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