While it may be too early to say mobile technology will be as disruptive as the Web, there are many similarities. Consistent with the early days of the Internet, demand is coming at IT organizations very quickly and requests for deployment have outgrown infrastructure in many organizations. To keep up with demand, many IT organizations are cobbling together solutions to support mobile technology the same way they did in the early days of the Internet. Many organizations will admit that they are still living with Web-based solutions that were supposed to be temporary. Web capabilities were deployed with few standards and often using one-off software or support solutions. Organizations that lived through the early days of the Internet do not want to relive the experience through the mobile technology boom.

There are several tools and vendors available in the market to support mobile technology; however, there is the same Wild West atmosphere of new vendors popping up regularly—some of them here today, gone tomorrow. Like the early days of the Web, there are myriad design options, a variety of software components, new acronyms (e.g., MDM, MEAP, and MCAP), new programming languages, new skills, and new infrastructure that must be established. As with any new disruptive technology, companies must address many new security concerns. Highly regulated industries are again struggling to learn how to use this new technology while meeting auditing and regulatory compliance requirements.

Business leaders should revisit the past and explore their Web implementation journey; examining successes, failures, and stumbling blocks. They should also spend time looking at their company’s Web environment to learn what is working well and augment those successes in the mobile world. Companies should identify examples where they mastered the Wild West of the Web and others where the Wild West ruled them.

Many organizations have dozens of Websites that aren’t integrated with each other—sites with conflicting information or that are branded inconsistently. Some companies have dozens of audience-specific Websites. Many companies have excellent processes and are in control of their Web assets, while many other companies struggle to manage those assets. Without careful forethought and integrated planning, the mobile world will exacerbate any Web management issues.

The Nolan Company is helping our clients get ahead of the game by implementing a Mobile Technology Management (MTM) approach. This framework enables a company to take a strategic approach to managing the entire mobile space. It encompasses infrastructure, security, support, application build, deployment, support of applications, and more.

Nolan’s MTM framework consists of three components: organizational parameters, design patterns, and capabilities requirements. These components and the underlying detailed artifacts give a company the tools to successfully and economically build, deploy, and support mobile applications.

The old adage goes, “May you live in interesting times.” We most definitely live in interesting times; in fact, we are fortunate to live in amazing times. As the world of mobile computing continues to evolve and expectations continue to increase, those companies that are truly committed to capitalizing on the power and benefits of mobile computing will manage it as a strategic differentiator. They will adopt the management practices and infrastructure (i.e., an MTM framework) to support that commitment. In turn, those companies will delight customers, employees, and shareholders by adding valuable, at-your-fingertips functionality while building cost-effective, differentiated mobile solutions.