IF4IT Home

The International Foundation for Information Technology

IF4IT is International
Discipline Quick Links
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z
Disciplines Master Index
Glossary Quick Links
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z
Glossary Master Index

Home Page for the Information Technology (IT) Discipline

"Mobile Device Management"


Table of Contents

Introduction: Introduction to Mobile Device Management
Framework: Using This Artifact as a "Mobile Device Management Framework"
Key Terms: Key Terms for Mobile Device Management
Glossary: The "Mobile Device Management Glossary"
Capabilities: Mobile Device Management as an Enterprise Capability
Ownership: Clearly Defined Mobile Device Management Ownership is Critical for Success
Verbs and Actions: Understanding Why Verbs and Actions are Important to Mobile Device Management
Roles: Key Verb and Action Driven Roles For Mobile Device Management
Taxonomy: Understanding Mobile Device Management Classifications or Categorizations
Ontology: Mobile Device Management Ontology as a Means for Language Standardization
Life Cycle (Lifecycle): Lifecycle Phases for Mobile Device Management
Inventories: Mobile Device Management Inventories
Environments: Mobile Device Management Environments
Metrics: Mobile Device Management Metrics
Services: Mobile Device Management as a Set of Services (a.k.a. Mobile Device Management Services)
Service Paradigms: Centralized Mobile Device Management vs. Federated Mobile Device Management
Principles & Best Practices: Common Principles and Best Practices for Mobile Device Management
Further Reading and Reference Material for Mobile Device Management


Introduction: Introduction to Mobile Device Management

This document represents an aggregated, ordered and contextualized view of the material we've been able to compile and publish that is related to the topic of "Mobile Device Management." The goal is to make this page a landing and launch point for all things related to this topic. As our content becomes more complete and more accurate, this page should become a very useful and powerful knowledge base for this topic and all parties interested in it.

You'll find that the content for this document is consistent with that of other discipline related documents. This is intentional. The consistency is based on a knowledge pattern that helps individuals learn more about different topics, quicker and more efficiently. We hope you find the material useful and easy to learn.

It's important to realize that content in this document and any related sub-documents are constantly evolving. Therefore, we recommend you check for updates, regularly, to keep up with the latest material.

The Foundation always welcomes your feedback and suggestions for improvement, as we're always looking for ways to improve our solutions and offerings to the general community.

All solutions published by the Foundation are subject to the terms and conditions of the Foundation's Master Agreement.


Framework: Using This Artifact as a "Mobile Device Management Framework"

This document or artifact, along with everything in it, is intended to act as a "Framework" that addresses various aspects of Mobile Device Management.

The readers will notice that most sections in the Table of Contents (TOC) use a format where the TOC entry is prefixed with a topic name, followed by a short descriptive title (i.e. "TOPIC_NAME: TOPIC_RELATED_SECTION_TITLE"). This is intentional and represents a format by which the Foundation may achieve things like the identification of appropriate topic areas, the segregation of distinct topic areas from each other, the appropriate ordering of topic areas, and achieve the maintenance of consistency, both, within and across different IT Disciplines.

To elaborate, this artifact is intended to:

  1. Organize different areas of the discipline known as Mobile Device Management into clear and compartmentalized areas that allow the Foundation to more effectively and productively collect, document and publish information that pertains to this discipline.
  2. Decompose each area of Mobile Device Management into smaller and, therefore, more digestible units for more efficient learning and understanding.
  3. Document common industry wisdom about each area, piece or subcomponent of Mobile Device Management
  4. Act as a set of Mobile Device Management related best practices and guidelines that have been collected, documented, and published for the benefit of IT Professionals, regardless of their specific industry, line of business, or area of expertise.
  5. Act as a consistent and repeatable pattern for documenting, publishing and learning, both, within this Discipline and across "all" Disciplines.

From the Foundation's perspective, if done correctly, all of the above will allow the Foundation to properly decompose, document and publish content related to each sub-area or sub-topic for each IT Discipline, including this specific discipline (i.e. "Mobile Device Management").

From the reader's perspective, if done correctly, all of the above will allow him or her to easily find and learn about specific areas of interest associated with this and all other IT Disciplines in a manner where the reader may effectively consume and digest material in small atomic segments that act as repeatable and more effective learning units.

As this artifact evolves and progresses, the reader will see it address key areas of the professional IT Discipline "Mobile Device Management" that range from its detailed definition through closely related terms, phrases and their definitions, to its detailed specification of Mobile Device Management Capabilities, and all the way through to defining, delivering, operating and supporting Mobile Device Management Services.

As mentioned previously, this document will continue to evolve and the Foundation recommends the reader check back, regularly, to stay abreast of modifications and new developments. It is also important to understand that the structure of this artifact may change to meet the needs of such evolution.


Key Terms for Mobile Device Management

Before moving on to learn more about the rest of the Mobile Device Management framework, we suggest that you take some time to familiarlize yourself with the following very basic term(s)...

Mobile Device:

"1. Any computing or telecommunications device that, in addition to being able to function while connected to a physical computing or telecommunications network, can continue to function even when disconnected from such physical computing and telecommunications networks, while also being small enough to be considered portable by a human Resource."

Mobile Device Management:

"1. The professional discipline that involves working with, in or on any aspect of planning, delivering, operating or supporting for one or more Mobile Device Items or any and all solutions put in place to deal with such Items.

2. The solution set that a person or organization puts in place to manage one or more Mobile Device Items.

3. The process or processes put in place by a person or organization to assist in the management, coordination, control, delivery, or support of one or more Mobile Device Items.

4. The Enterprise Capability that represents the general ability or functional capacity for a Resource or Organization to deal with or handle one or more Mobile Device Items. Such a term is often used by Information Technology (IT) Architects when performing or engaging in the activities associated with general Capability Modeling."

In addition to the above basic term(s), you can also learn a great deal about Mobile Device Management by familiarizing yourself with the broader spectrum of terms that make up the Mobile Device Management Glossary...


Glossary: The "Mobile Device Management Glossary"

IT Glossary

Language between IT professionals and the businesses we serve is often a significant barrier to success, as we often spend countless hours trying to interpret each other's meanings. This is often also true between IT professionals who are taught to use certain terms and definitions as part of the organizations and industries they serve. It's when you start to jump from organization to organization, from enterprise to enterprise, and from industry to industry that you realize how much time and effort is wasted on just getting language and meanings correct. For these reasons, the Foundation puts a great deal of focus on terms and phrases, as well as their corresponding definitions. We highly recommend you spend time learning and understanding all of the related terms and phrases, along with their meanings, for all areas of "Mobile Device Management."

Mobile Device Management Glossary
Centralized Mobile Device Management Mobile Device Management Procedure
Decentralized Mobile Device Management Mobile Device Management Process
Enterprise Mobile Device Management Mobile Device Management Professional
Federated Mobile Device Management Mobile Device Management Program
Mobile Device Mobile Device Management Project
Mobile Device Automation Mobile Device Management Reference Architecture
Mobile Device Capacity Management Mobile Device Management Release
Mobile Device Catalog Mobile Device Management Report
Mobile Device Catalogue Mobile Device Management Reporting
Mobile Device Configuration Mobile Device Management Roadmap
Mobile Device Configuration Item Mobile Device Management Role
Mobile Device Configuration Management Mobile Device Management Rule
Mobile Device Cost Mobile Device Management Schedule
Mobile Device Data Entity Mobile Device Management Security
Mobile Device Database Mobile Device Management Service
Mobile Device Decommission Mobile Device Management Service Assurance
Mobile Device Delivery Mobile Device Management Service Contract
Mobile Device Dependency Mobile Device Management Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Mobile Device Deployment Mobile Device Management Service Level Objective (SLO)
Mobile Device Document Mobile Device Management Service Level Requirement (SLR)
Mobile Device Document Management Mobile Device Management Service Level Target (SLT)
Mobile Device File Plan Mobile Device Management Service Provider
Mobile Device Framework Mobile Device Management Service Request
Mobile Device Governance Mobile Device Management Software
Mobile Device History Mobile Device Management Solution
Mobile Device Identifier Mobile Device Management Stakeholder
Mobile Device Inventory Mobile Device Management Standard
Mobile Device Item Mobile Device Management Strategy
Mobile Device Lifecycle Mobile Device Management Supply
Mobile Device Lifecycle Management Mobile Device Management Support
Mobile Device Management Mobile Device Management System
Mobile Device Management Application Mobile Device Management Theory
Mobile Device Management Best Practice Mobile Device Management Training
Mobile Device Management Blog Mobile Device Management Vision
Mobile Device Management Capability Mobile Device Management Wiki
Mobile Device Management Center of Excellence Mobile Device Management Workflow
Mobile Device Management Certification Mobile Device Metadata
Mobile Device Management Class Mobile Device Migration
Mobile Device Management Community of Practice (CoP) Mobile Device Plan
Mobile Device Management Course Mobile Device Portfolio
Mobile Device Management Data Mobile Device Portfolio Management
Mobile Device Management Data Dictionary Mobile Device Processing
Mobile Device Management Database Mobile Device Record
Mobile Device Management Demand Mobile Device Records Management
Mobile Device Management Dependency Mobile Device Repository
Mobile Device Management Discussion Forum Mobile Device Reuse
Mobile Device Management Document Mobile Device Review
Mobile Device Management Documentation Mobile Device Schedule
Mobile Device Management File Plan Mobile Device Schematic (Schema)
Mobile Device Management Form Mobile Device Security
Mobile Device Management Framework Mobile Device Software
Mobile Device Management Governance Mobile Device Strategy
Mobile Device Management Knowledge Mobile Device Support
Mobile Device Management Lessons Learned Mobile Device Taxonomy
Mobile Device Management Metric Mobile Device Termination
Mobile Device Management Operating Model Mobile Device Tracking
Mobile Device Management Organization Mobile Device Tracking Software
Mobile Device Management Plan Mobile Device Transaction
Mobile Device Management Platform Mobile Device Unique Identifier
Mobile Device Management Policy Mobile Device Verification
Mobile Device Management Portfolio Mobile Device Version
Mobile Device Management Principle Mobile Device Workflow
Mobile Device Management Procedure Regional Mobile Device Management

Please refer to the IT Glossary for other terms and phrases that may be relevant to this professional discipline.

Readers may also refer to the Taxonomy of Glossaries for terms and phrases that are semantically grouped according to IT Disciplines or enterprise domains.

This Mobile Device Management Glossary is a contextual subset of the master IF4IT Glossary of Terms and Phrases. The master glossary can be used by you and your enterprise as a foundation for broader understanding of Information Technology and can be used as a teaching and learning tool for those you work with, helping to ensure a common and more standard language.


Capabilities: Mobile Device Management as an Enterprise Capability

A Capability, as it pertains to Information Technology (IT) or to an enterprise that an IT Organization serves, is defined to be "A manageable feature, faculty, function, process, service or discipline that represents an ability to perform something which yields an expected set of results and is capable of further advancement or development. In other words, a Capability is nothing more than "the ability to do something" or, quite simply, a Feature or Function. Therefore, when applied to an enterprise, a Capability represents a critical Enterprise Feature or Enterprise Function.

When it comes to Capabilities, there are multiple types that an enterprise needs to be aware of. Examples include but are not limited to:

As can be seen above, there are Capabilities that are associated with Resources, Organizations, and Assets such as Systems. All are important to an enterprise.

In the case of this IT Discipline (i.e. Mobile Device Management), we use the word Capability in the context of an Enterprise Capability or an IT Capability, which are both equivalent to Enterprise Disciplines or IT Disciplines, respectively. In short, the Capability of Mobile Device Management represents the ability to deal with any and all Mobile Device Items and anything relevant that is related to or associated with any Mobile Device Items.

If you think about it, a capability is really nothing more than a "verb" or "action that represents "the ability to do something." Understanding this allows us to derive a consistent and highly repeatable set of sub-capabilities for any Noun we're dealing with. For example:

In summary, the implication is that the Enterprise Capability or Enterprise Discipline known as Mobile Device Management is the superset of all the above Sub-Capabilities, as they pertain to or are applied to the discipline-specific Noun: "Mobile Device." This now translates more specifically to:

For a more complete list of very specific Capabilities/Disciplines, refer to the Foundation's Master Inventory of IT Disciplines. It is important to note that this inventory is in a flat or non-hierarchical form, specifically because "hierarchy" is almost always a matter of personal preference or context (what hierarchy is important to one Resource or Organization may be unimportant to another's needs or requirements). Therefore, the Foundation has published its inventory of Capabilities in a non-hierarchical, flat form.

This now brings us to a very obvious problem that surrounds Capabilities, which is the fact that there are simply too many "granular" or "specific" Capabilities to document and publish in any single Capability Model. The end result is that a Capability Model may become unwieldy because of trying to incorporate so many different specific Capabilities. Also, Capability Modeling "Purists," who all have their own (and very differing) opinions about how Capability Models should or should not be represented, almost always refuse to get into the details. To address this, we recommend using a generic set of Capabilities that map to and are driven by the Systems Development Life Cycle. For example:

As you can see from the above, we now have a very limited, controlled and manageable set of Discipline-specific Capabilities for the Discipline Mobile Device Management.

As a reminder, the above Capability representations are "suggestions" for baselining or initializing your own Enterprise Capability Model (ECM). It's recommended that you take the time to work with your enterprise stakeholders to improve upon and/or customize your own ECM so that you can help meet their needs. However, with that being said, it's always a better idea to go in with a baseline that you can modify rather than building your own solution from scratch, especially if your goals are to standardize, not reinvent the wheel, and not deviate too far from what other enterprises are doing to model their own environments. This is especially true if you've never had any experience building ECMs that have gained and maintained full adoption.

Why do enterprises perform Capability Modeling? Enterprises most often build Capability Models that are associated with Mobile Device Management for the following reasons...

Capability Modeling Recommendations: Some things to consider and keep in mind when working on or creating your Mobile Device Management and Enterprise Capability Models...

Learn More About Capability Models: Taking the time to learn about and understand Capability Models, what they're for, and how they're used may help you learn how Mobile Device Management better fits into the broader enterprise. Therefore, we suggest you spend some time reviewing and understanding the IF4IT Enterprise Capability Model...

Enterprise Capability Model

Ownership: Clearly Defined Mobile Device Management Ownership is Critical for Success

IT Discipline Ownership

Here's a very simple fact... If an enterprise does not establish and enforce clearly defined Ownership (i.e. a Resources and his or her Organization are assigned as accountable ownership) for Mobile Device Management, the enterprise has automatically set itself up for failure in its implementation of that discipline. Therefore, if you and your enterprise want to implement and maintain a successful solution for Mobile Device Management, there must be a clearly defined Owner that can and will be held accountable for getting work done, providing transparency, helping with strategy setting, and coordinating implementation of Mobile Device Management as a fully functional and mature enterprise Service.

Having clearly defined Ownership should not be confused with having fully dedicated Resources that spend one hundred percent of their time working on Mobile Device Management. In fact, smaller enterprises can rarely afford to dedicate full time Resources, like larger enterprises can, to all enterprise IT Disciplines. This being the case, all IT Disciplines, including Mobile Device Management, should "always" have clearly defined Owners so that there is always a clear point of accountability and contact for any issues or work that need to be addressed.

In addition to the common best practice of having clearly assigned Ownership for Mobile Device Management, it is also considered a best practice to clearly publish and socialize Mobile Device Management Ownership details to a centralized location (often referred to as a "Service Catalog" or an "Enterprise Service Catalog"), along with Ownership details for all other IT Disciplines, so that the entire enterprise has constant access to it.

Canonical Ownership of an Enterprise Capability

Figure: How Ownership of the Capability Mobile Device Management fits into the Canonical Model for IT

The above figure helps us understand how Capability or Discipline Ownership fits into the Canonical Model for Information Technology (IT) (i.e. "Think," "Deliver," and "Operate"). Owners are assigned to individual Disciplines or Capabilities, such as Mobile Device Management, and are instantly made accountable to the enterprise for the results of all Mobile Device Management Thinking activities (i.e. Strategy, Research, Planning and Design), all Mobile Device Management Delivery activities (i.e. Construction, Deployment and Quality Assurance), and all Mobile Device Management Operations activities (i.e. Use, Maintenance and Support). Done correctly, Mobile Device Management Ownership is constant and ongoing. It's important to understand that such assigned Ownership should "never" end so that there is clear and constant accountability and transparency for all aspects of the Canonical Model to the enterprise.

Not having clear Ownership for Mobile Device Management means that there is no clear understanding of who is accountable for it, who can provide understanding of what's going on within it, who can help the enterprise provide short term and long term descriptions of work being performed within the Discipline area to improve it over time for its customers, and who can help with getting work done that's associated with it. It means your or your enterprise's implementation for Mobile Device Management will be highly incomplete and erratic because no one is constantly (or even partially) watching over the Discipline and its needs for maintenance and evolution. Not having clear Mobile Device Management Ownership is a recipe for confusion and, sometimes, even chaos.

In summary, if you and your enterprise truly want to be successful with your implementation of Mobile Device Management, ensure that a clear and highly accountable owner is identified and assigned to the Discipline. Publish those ownership details, preferably in an enterprise's Service Catalog, and socialize it so everyone knows whom to go to for answers and for help with Mobile Device Management related work. In other words, if you want to implement Mobile Device Management as an enterprise Service, then you absolutely must start with clearly defined, published and socialized Ownership.


Verbs and Actions: Understanding Why Verbs and Actions are Important to Mobile Device Management

Throughout the Foundation's documentation, you will continuously run into the references of "Nouns and Verbs." These concepts are key to consistency and standardization, throughout the IT Industry, down to each and every IT Discipline. Given that we've discussed the impact of "Nouns" on the discipline of "Mobile Device Management," this section will start to discuss the importance of "Verbs" or "Actions" that can be performed with or against the key Noun or Nouns associated with this Discipline. To reiterate, Verbs or Actions allow us to clearly understand what can be performed on or with the Noun in question. As will be discussed in the next section, Verbs or Actions will also help us clearly identify whom it is (i.e. the "who" or more specifically the Roles) that performs or executes such Verbs or Actions against a Discipline and its associated Noun or Nouns. As will be discussed later, Verbs or Actions will also help identify key Attributes (i.e. Field Names) that are necessary for the very data definition of the Noun or Nouns for this Discipline and will even help identify which Verbs or Actions can be automated for this Discipline.

As a reminder, the base Noun for the discipline known as Mobile Device Management is: "Mobile Device," which is sometimes referred to as a the Noun: "Mobile Device Item."

By now, it should be becoming apparent that verbs represent a baseline for defining solid functional requirements and sub-capabilities for what would be a part of any good Mobile Device Management System or Service. What this means is that if you and/or your Organization is looking for a solution in this space (e.g. the purchasing or building of a software solution or the implementation of a Service to address the needs of Mobile Device Management), you could use discipline-related verbs to drive the foundation of what the solution should or shouldn't do, as mapped to specific stakeholders that will use or provide the solution.

Examples of the types of Verbs or Actions that are important to this Discipline include but are not limited to:

The above list represents a very small subset of all Verbs or Actions that are relevant for this Discipline. The more complete set can be found in the Roles section of this document, where readers can see the direct correlation of Verb to Noun and to, both, Generic Role and Discipline Specific Role.


Roles: Key Verb and Action Driven Roles For Mobile Device Management

An "action" or a "verb" is something that can be performed on or with a specific "noun." The reason it is important to itemize all relevant verbs is because we can now start to determine what we can or cannot do with the noun in question, where in this case the noun is "Mobile Device."

Actions/Verbs Example as Applied to "Mobile Device" Generic Roles Discipline-Specific Roles
Administrate Administrate Mobile Device Administrator Mobile Device Administrator
Approve Approve Mobile Device Approver Mobile Device Approver
Architect Architect Mobile Device Architector Mobile Device Architector
Archive Archive Mobile Device Archiver Mobile Device Archiver
Audit Audit Mobile Device Auditor Mobile Device Auditor
Bundle Bundle Mobile Device Bundler Mobile Device Bundler
Clone Clone Mobile Device Cloner Mobile Device Cloner
Code Code Mobile Device Coder Mobile Device Coder
Configure Configure Mobile Device Configurer Mobile Device Configurer
Copy Copy Mobile Device Copier Mobile Device Copier
Create Create Mobile Device Creator Mobile Device Creator
Decommission Decommission Mobile Device Decommissioner Mobile Device Decommissioner
Delete Delete Mobile Device Deletor Mobile Device Deletor
Deploy Deploy Mobile Device Deployer Mobile Device Deployer
Deprecate Deprecate Mobile Device Deprecator Mobile Device Deprecator
Design Design Mobile Device Designer Mobile Device Designer
Destroy Destroy Mobile Device Destroyer Mobile Device Destroyer
Develop Develop Mobile Device Developer Mobile Device Developer
Distribute Distribute Mobile Device Distributor Mobile Device Distributor
Download Download Mobile Device Downloader Mobile Device Downloader
Edit Edit Mobile Device Editor Mobile Device Editor
Educate Educate Mobile Device Educator Mobile Device Educator
Export Export Mobile Device Exporter Mobile Device Exporter
Govern Govern Mobile Device Governor Mobile Device Governor
Import Import Mobile Device Importer Mobile Device Importer
Initialize Initialize Mobile Device Initializer Mobile Device Initializer
Install Install Mobile Device Installer Mobile Device Installer
Instantiate Instantiate Mobile Device Instantiator Mobile Device Instantiator
Integrate Integrate Mobile Device Integrator Mobile Device Integrator
Manage Manage Mobile Device Manager Mobile Device Manager
Merge Merge Mobile Device Merger Mobile Device Merger
Modify Modify Mobile Device Modifier Mobile Device Modifier
Move Move Mobile Device Mover Mobile Device Mover
Own Own Mobile Device Owner Mobile Device Owner
Package Package Mobile Device Packager Mobile Device Packager
Persist Persist Mobile Device Persister Mobile Device Persister
Plan Plan Mobile Device Planner Mobile Device Planner
Purge Purge Mobile Device Purger Mobile Device Purger
Receive Receive Mobile Device Receiver Mobile Device Receiver
Record Record Mobile Device Recorder Mobile Device Recorder
Recover Recover Mobile Device Recoverer Mobile Device Recoverer
Register Register Mobile Device Registrar Mobile Device Registrar
Relocate Relocate Mobile Device Relocator Mobile Device Relocator
Reject Reject Mobile Device Rejecter Mobile Device Rejecter
Remove Remove Mobile Device Remover Mobile Device Remover
Replicate Replicate Mobile Device Replicator Mobile Device Replicator
Report Report Mobile Device Reporter Mobile Device Reporter
Request Request Mobile Device Requestor Mobile Device Requestor
Restore Restore Mobile Device Restorer Mobile Device Restorer
Review Review Mobile Device Reviewer Mobile Device Reviewer
Save Save Mobile Device Saver Mobile Device Saver
Search Search Mobile Device Searcher Mobile Device Searcher
Split Split Mobile Device Splitter Mobile Device Splitter
Sponsor Sponsor Mobile Device Sponsor Mobile Device Sponsor
Store Store Mobile Device Storer Mobile Device Storer
Strategize Strategize Mobile Device (or Set Mobile Device Strategy) Strategizer (or Strategy Setter) Mobile Device Strategizer (or Mobile Device Strategy Setter)
Support Support Mobile Device Supporter Mobile Device Supporter
Test Test Mobile Device Tester Mobile Device Tester
Train Train Mobile Device Trainer Mobile Device Trainer
Upgrade Upgrade Mobile Device Upgrader Mobile Device Upgrader
Upload Upload Mobile Device Uploader Mobile Device Uploader
Verify Verify Mobile Device Verifier Mobile Device Verifier
Version Version Mobile Device Versioner Mobile Device Versioner
View View Mobile Device Viewer Mobile Device Viewer

At a minimum, the above list of Verbs can be used to help identify, track, and manage the basic "Features" required by and associated with Mobile Device Management, even if your enterprise doesn't maintain a Capability Model that lists specific Mobile Device Management Capabilities. Application designers, developers, and architects often find such Verb Lists or Feature Inventories to be invaluable.


Taxonomy: Understanding Mobile Device Management Classifications or Categorizations

IF4IT Taxonomies

A Taxonomy, in its noun form, is defined as:

...a documented and orderly set of types, classifications, categorizations and/or principles that are often achieved through mechanisms including but not limited to naming, defining and/or the grouping of attributes, and which ultimately help to describe, differentiate, identify, arrange and provide contextual relationships between the entities for which the Taxonomy exists.

From this general definition, we can derive that the definition for a Mobile Device Management Taxonomy is:

...a documented and orderly set of types, classifications, categorizations and/or principles that are often achieved through mechanisms including but not limited to naming, defining and/or the grouping of attributes, and which ultimately help to describe, differentiate, identify, arrange and provide contextual relationships between Mobile Device Items, Entities or Types.

In short, what this means all means is that a Taxonomy is nothing more than a classification or typing mechanism and that a Mobile Device Taxonomy is nothing more than a classification or typing mechanism that helps people and systems distinguish between different Mobile Device Items, Entities, Types, Records or any other Mobile Device Management element you can think of.

It's important to understand that Taxonomies can be as simple as a list of relevant terms or phrases with respective meanings or definitions or they can take on more complex forms, such as hierarchical and graphical model structures that can be homogeneous and heterogeneous in nature. More complex Taxonomies include examples such as "Visual Taxonomies" and "Audible Taxonomies" but, expect in the case of very special technologies, are typically out of scope for general Information Technology (IT) Operations.

The Foundation directs readers to its ever-evolving Inventory of Taxonomies for Standard Taxonomy suggestions. Specifically, readers may want to start with the Taxonomy of Taxonomies, which helps make it clear that the IT Industry is composed of many hundreds if not thousands of Taxonomies, Classifications, Categorizations or Types.


Ontology: Mobile Device Management Ontology as a Means for Lanagugae Standardization

While Taxonomies represent organized classifications or types, you can think of Ontologies as the design and representation of entire lanaguages, with the specific intent to control things like structure, behavior, representation, and meaning. Without getting into a theoretical conversations about Ontologies, you can view this entire article as a foundation for the ontology of Mobile Device Management. Or, in other words, a Mobile Device Management Ontology.

Throughout this artifact/framework, you will find things like Mobile Device Management related terms, phrases, definitions, roles, responsibilities, nouns, verbs, classifications, and so on, all as a means of definining a standard representation for and interpretation of the language of Mobile Device Management.

It is only through the definition, communication, and establishment of such Ontologies that we can standardize language and communication associated with Mobile Device Management, whether it be between humans and/or systems.


Life Cycle (Lifecycle): Lifecycle Phases for Mobile Device Management

When we talk about Life Cycle (or lifecycle) for Mobile Device Management, it's important to keep in mind that there are two different types of Life Cycles that apply. The first is a Data Life Cycle, which addresses Mobile Device Management data or entities, and the second is associated with delivering Mobile Device Management Assets like Systems or Software solutions.

Mobile Device Management Data Life Cycle Phases:

Data Lifecycle (or Life Cycle) for any and all data is the period from the "inception" of data through to its ultimately being "purged" from existence. This is no different for Mobile Device Management related data.

Like the data associated with any other professional IT Discipline, Mobile Device Management related data adheres to the following common Data Lifecycle Phases:

Data Lifecycle Phases

Figure: Mobile Device Management Lifecycle Phases

  1. Inception: Data is in it's raw idea-like form and is not ready for consumption by the general population because it has not been documented or registered, anywhere, in a formal manner.
  2. Creation and Registration: Data is formally put into existence for day-to-day use by appropriate stakeholders.
  3. Iterative Maintenance: Data is in a mode of constant use and is updated and modified, as needed, to meet the needs of daily use by various stakeholders.
  4. Decommission and Deletion: Data is prepared for deletion and eventually deleted from daily operational use but still exists for administrative or organizational purposes, such as historical auditing. It can be restored to any one of its relevant last states and, therefore, can be brought back into existence for day-to-day use.
  5. Purged From Existence: Data is completely removed from an environment with no means to restore or reconstruct it, without recreating it from scratch and with no guarantees that it will match it's previous state.

The above Life Cycle Phases represent the high level transitions that occur from the inception of Mobile Device Items or Entities all the way through to their complete elimination from existence. A more detailed breakdown of these transitions or phases represents what are referred to as "Mobile Device Management States."

Mobile Device Management Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Phases or Mobile Device Management Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Phases:

The SDLC is a means for facilitating and controlling how IT Professionals deliver Assets, such as Mobile Device Management Systems and Software. In this case, you should default to the master SDLC, which is used to deliver any Asset of any type, including those associated with the Mobile Device Management discipline.

Mobile Device Management SDLC Diagram

Inventories: Mobile Device Management Inventories

There are probably no greater or more important tools for providing Mobile Device Management transparency and direction than the collection, ordering, categorizing, grouping, and maintenance of all related Mobile Device Items. In other words, Mobile Device Management Inventories.

In short, an Inventory represents a list of individual things or instances of things that are typically all of the same Noun Type or Data Type, where these instances are described and detailed by their Attributes, along with the Data and Information that act as values for such Attributes.

At a minimum, Mobile Device Management Inventories are used for the establishment of solid Mobile Device Configuration Management practices, as the Mobile Device Instances tracked within such Mobile Device Inventories act as Configuration Items (in Target and/or Dependency form) for key Configurations (Mobile Device Management Configurations or otherwise).

Inventories are also used for solid decision making. Good decisions, either strategic or tactical, are made based on having good Data and Information. And, good Data and Information only come from taking the time to follow best practices associated with Inventory Management. It's only through building such Inventories that an enterprise can achieve solid Mobile Device Management Business Intelligence and Reporting.

Also, it's these very same Inventories that act as the foundation for understanding and managing Total Cost of Ownership (a.k.a. "TCO") for Mobile Device Management. Without such Inventories, trying to understand your costs can be nothing more than uneducated guessing.

The obvious place to start is with Mobile Device Inventories and then move on to surrounding Inventories that are directly and indirectly related to Mobile Device Management.

Additionally, there are many other types of Inventories that are common and important to Mobile Device Management, which include but are not limited to examples such as:

  1. People and Organizations related to Mobile Device Management
  2. Roles, Responsibilities, and Skills related to Mobile Device Management
  3. Products and Services related to Mobile Device Management
  4. Capabilities related to Mobile Device Management
  5. Contracts, Agreements, and Licenses related to Mobile Device Management
  6. Processes related to Mobile Device Management
  7. Tools and Technologies (e.g. Systems/Applications/Software/Computers) related to Mobile Device Management
  8. Data Types and Instances related to Mobile Device Management
  9. Data Interfaces related to Mobile Device Management
  10. Environments related to Mobile Device Management
  11. Facilities and Locations related to Mobile Device Management

If you and/or your enterprise are not collecting and maintaining such Inventories, you're probably considered to be very low on the efficiency and effectiveness maturity scale.

It's important to keep in mind that collecting and managing Mobile Device Management Inventories is something that should be performed across all phases of Mobile Device Management Lifecycle and across all Environments (i.e. Mobile Device Management Environments). Both are considered to be very important Best Practices. For example, you and/or your enterprise cannot get a complete understanding of Mobile Device Management costs or impacts without knowing all related Inventory Items in all environments. And, tracking across all lifecycle phases gives a temporal perspective that is important for things like problem analysis, historical reporting, and the reconstruction of state (i.e. Configuration Management).

NOTE: Mobile Device Management Inventories are also important for other enterprise functions, such as Architecture and Design. Such Inventories represent the foundation for understanding an enterprise's Current State and are critical for planning Future State and any related strategies, roadmaps, and transition plans for facilititating change.


Environments: Mobile Device Management Environments

Building environments that are specific to and for the discipline known as Mobile Device Management is no different than doing so for any other discipline area. The reader should, therefore, refer to the IT Environment Framework to understand such environments.

IT Environment Framework for Mobile Device Management

Metrics: Mobile Device Management Metrics

As with any professional Discipline, the place to start with when dealing with Mobile Device Management specific metrics is with standard metrics categorizations. Standard Metrics Categorizations, or what are commonly referred to as "SMCs," include but are not limited to...

Mobile Device Management Quantitative Metrics: Quantitative metrics for Mobile Device Management often revolve around the "counting" of key constructs that are associated with the Discipline. For example, the number of Mobile Device Items or Entities that have been Created, Edited or Modified, Copied or Cloned, Destroyed, Archived, Restored, etc. (Note the correlations to key Mobile Device Management Verbs!). Also, the counts for things like the number of Mobile Device Management Stakeholders, such as but not limited to Paying Customers, End Users, Employees, Consultants, etc. are also very useful.

Mobile Device Management Qualitative Metrics: Qualitative metrics for Mobile Device Management often revolve around concepts such as Mobile Device Management Defects, Failures, Problems, Incidents, and/or Issues. So, for example, if we were to capture the number of Mobile Device Management Defects (i.e. their counts) over time, we could do things like see if Defect quantities are going up or down, over time, allowing us to explore that area for things like correlating Causes and Effects.

Mobile Device Management Time Metrics: When dealing with Mobile Device Management Time Metrics, there are usually two forms. The first was introduced in the previous paragraph, which has to do with capturing and measuring things like Quantitative or Qualitative Metrics, over time. In this case, we capture other metric categories, over time, with the intent to see how they change and perform, based on modifications to the Mobile Device Management Operating Environment. The second form of Time related metrics has to do with system or operational performance, such as in the case of how long it takes to process a Mobile Device Management Request, from the time it is created to the time the Requester gets a satisfactory deliverable that allows him or her to move on with his or her work.

Mobile Device Management Utilization Metrics: Utilization Metrics specifically have to do with the consumption of Mobile Device Management specific solutions or deliverables. For example, tracking the number of Mobile Device Management Service Requests, over periods of time, along with their corresponding Mobile Device Management Deliverables, allows one to measure how active Mobile Device Management Services are against other Services that may exist within the Enterprise.

Mobile Device Management Financial Metrics: As is always the case for any single Discipline, Financial Metrics for Mobile Device Management always revolve around things like revenue, expenses, and profits, both, for operators of the Service or Services and for consumers of the Service or Services. For example, if a Mobile Device Management Request is invoked by a Mobile Device Management Customer (acting as the "Requester"), it becomes important to be able to identify and understand what the cost is to that Customer who is invoking the Request, and it also becomes important to understand why that cost is what it is. In the case of Services that do not yield revenue or profits, measuring costs is a strong way to, at very least, help understand the costs associated with each Service being performed by, within, external to, and for the Enterprise and its Customers.

Note: It's important to understand that, when it comes to metrics, enterprises should take a "Crawl," "Walk," "Run" approach to collecting, working with, and understanding them. That is, you cannot get to complex metrics collection, dissection, analysis, and understanding until you start with basic metrics and slowly work your way to more complex metrics representations.


Services: Mobile Device Management as a Set of Services (a.k.a. Mobile Device Management Services)

One of the most important concepts you will learn about Mobile Device Management (or any Discipline, for that matter) is the notion of implementing the Discipline as an accountable, planned, controlled, transparent, and managed "Service."

In short, Services represent a logically "bounded" and repeatable sets of work types, activities or tasks that are performed by humans and/or machines, with the specific intent to provide outputs or deliverables, in the form of solutions for the requesting Stakeholders who are commonly considered the customers of such Services. In other words, we perform and/or provide a Service to deliver very specific solutions to very specific Stakeholders who are looking for a means to solve a certain problem they have.

A Mobile Device Management Service is defined as:

"1. A set of solutions, either transactional (i.e. Transactional Mobile Device Management Services) or dial-tone (i.e. Dial-Tone Mobile Device Management Services), that are being or have been put in place to yield an intended, controlled, expected, repeatable and measurable set of results or deliverables for Mobile Device Management specific Customers, Consumers or Clients.

NOTE: Mobile Device Management Service Consumers or Clients can be either Human Resources or Systems."

All Services, including Mobile Device Management Services, can be performed manually (i.e. by people), automatically (i.e. by machines such as Computers), or by a combination of the two (i.e. a hybrid that is both manually and automated).

Also, all Services, including Mobile Device Management Services, can be either transactional or dial tone, in nature.

In the case of Transactional Services for Mobile Device Management, a Service Request is submitted and that Request is fulfilled as part of a process that is either manual, automated, or a hybrid of both (e.g. a Service to perform maintainance on your Mobile Device Management System).

In the case of Dial Tone Services for Mobile Device Management, a Service is expected to be up, running, available, and accessible to an End User so that he/she/it may perform some controlled and highly repeatable function (e.g. a "Mobile Device Management System" that is up and running all the time).

Mobile Device Management Service Components: The successful implementation of Mobile Device Management as a set of Services for your enterprise usually implies that a number of key components have been established to support it. These components are:

  1. A clearly documented and socialized Mobile Device Management Service Owner that is held accountable for Service performance, quality, and cost.
  2. A clearly documented and socialized Mobile Device Management Service Provider, Organization or Group who is performing the Service or work.
  3. A clearly documented and socialized inventory of all Mobile Device Management Service Inputs, including Mobile Device Management Service Requests and any artifacts necessary to support such Requests so that consumers of the Service know how to engage and request or take advantage of them.
  4. For every Mobile Device Management Service Input, a clearly documented and socialized inventory of Mobile Device Management Service Outputs, making it clear to consumers what they can expect to receive as a result of a successful Service Request.
  5. For every Mobile Device Management Service Input, a clearly documented and socialized inventory of the work being performed by the Service Provider to achieve such Outputs or Deliverables.
  6. For every Mobile Device Management Service Input, a clearly documented and socialized inventory Service Level Agreements (e.g. Service Availability, Service Duration, Service Guarantees, etc.) that can be used to set expectations and measure actuals against for said Service Outputs.
  7. Clearly specified Mobile Device Management Service Costs that help set expectations for Service Requesters (i.e. the cost of a request) and that provide clear transparency to the organizations that fund and sponsor such Services (i.e. the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) your Service(s).
  8. Mobile Device Management Service Request Patterns (Estimation Creation, Modification, Decommission, Support/Incidents, Complaints, etc.) in order to create intuitive and repeatable user experiences across different Service Types.
  9. Clearly understand what Mobile Device Management Service Resources are required, human or otherwise, to create and deliver your Mobile Device Management Service Deliverables, in a repeatable, cost-efficient, timely, and high quality manner.
  10. For every Mobile Device Management Service Request, understand the chargeback mechanism, in order to recoup your Service Costs.
  11. For every Mobile Device Management Service, it's important to understand the skills that are required, will need to be developed, and will need to be maintained by Service Resources, in order to deliver each Service Deliverable.
  12. It's important to understand who your Mobile Device Management Service Stakeholders are, this includes but is not limited to your Customers, Consumers, Clients, Sponsers, etc. are, as well as the types of problems it is that they're trying to solve or interests that they will have in your Services.

Mobile Device Management Ownership: The most important thing to understand about a Mobile Device Management Service is that, in order for such a Service to be successful, there must be a clear and accountable Owner for it. That is, there needs to be a very clear and accountable named person or organization that owns and is fully responsible for the Service, all of its sub-Services and, most importantly, all of the Service's "Outcomes." Without clear ownership, Services are almost never successful. And, for those few occasions where Services are successful without clear ownership, you can assume that they're successful because the people working in those Service areas are acting as heroes, or... the those Services are just plain lucky (that kind of luck doesn't last for long).

Mobile Device Management Service Inputs: There are typically two types of inputs to any Mobile Device Management Service. The first is what is known as a "Mobile Device Management Service Request" and the second really represents any and all supporting artifacts that are necessary to support such requests, including but not limited to Data and Information in the form of Documents, either electronic or paper in form. Many would argue that the "money" to pay for the Service execution of the Request would be the third but, for now, we will assume that payment is controlled through the Data and Information provided to the Service Operators, in support of the Request.

Mobile Device Management Service Outputs: The outputs of any Service are often referred to as the Service's Deliverables. Therefore, the readers should be aware that the terms "Mobile Device Management Outputs" and "Mobile Device Management Deliverables" are synonymous and interchangeable. All work performed in any enterprise is, by default, a Service that is being performed for someone else and, therefore, all work or Services yield results. These results are the Service's Outputs or Deliverables and a good Service ensures that such Outputs are appropriately documented to the consumers of said Service. This means that for any given Mobile Device Management Service Request Type or Category there will be one or more clearly defined and documented Outputs or Deliverables, making it clear to the consumer what he, she, or they will get in response to their Request. This can be as simple as an answer to a question or as complex as the Merger of two enterprises.

Mobile Device Management Service Levels: Service Levels represent "performance agreements," contractual or otherwise, that dictate how well a Mobile Device Management Service should perform, most often keeping the Customers, Consumers, Clients or End Users of the Service in mind. Mobile Device Management Service Levels can come in many forms and are often worked out by the Customers paying for the Services and the Service Providers who sell or provide the Services. In many cases, Service Levels are also self-imposed by the Service Providers performing the Services as a means to set expectations for Service Customers. In short, Mobile Device Management Service Levels are constraints, limitations, and/or expectations that are tied directly to Mobile Device Management Service Deliverables. They represent measures for things like quality, efficiency, and cost against said Deliverables or Outputs that allow the consumer of such Services to measure what they actually get against what they expected to get.


Service Paradigms: Centralized Mobile Device Management vs. Federated Mobile Device Management

Assuming an enterprise pursues the establishment of Mobile Device Management as a set of controlled Services, there are three common paradigms for doing so. These include:

  1. A "Centralized Mobile Device Management" implementation paradigm
  2. A "Federated Mobile Device Management" implementation paradigm
  3. A "Hybrid Mobile Device Management" implementation paradigm

Centralized Mobile Device Management is defined as:

"1. The term or phrase that implies establishing and/or practicing the Discipline known as Mobile Device Management as a concentric and singular set of organizations and services, usually in order to serve an entire enterprise, regardless of geographic location, further implying full centralization and no federation of any and all Mobile Device Management associated Work, Activities, Actions, Tasks, Capabilities and/or Services."

Federated Mobile Device Management, which is also referred to as Decentralized Mobile Device Management, is defined as:

"1. The term or phrase that implies establishing and/or practicing the Discipline known as Mobile Device Management in multiple pockets, communities, or organizations, further implying no centralization in the implementation and execution of Mobile Device Management associated Work, Activities, Actions, Tasks, Capabilities and/or Services."

There are clear tradeoffs to each of the two models. For example, in a Centralized paradigm, it's normally easier to coordinate work and provide broad coverage, across many areas of the enterprise and relevant stakeholders. However, it becomes far more difficult for a centralized organization to properly fund and staff resources and services in order to perform all required work across all stakeholders, in a much larger enterprise.

It's also important to note that a third paradigm also exists as an option. This is known as a Hybrid Mobile Device Management paradigm or model. In this case, there is a centralized Mobile Device Management organization that is often responsible for things like centralized governance, command, control, and communications, while federated staff and services deal with localized forms of Mobile Device Management. In this type of paradigm, federated staff and services usually report direclty into their local management but may have matrix reporting or responsibilities into the Centralized Mobile Device Management organization.


Principles & Best Practices: Common Principles and Best Practices for Mobile Device Management

A "Principle" is defined as being: "A professed assumption, basis, tenet, doctrine, plan of action or code of conduct for activities, work or behavior." Therefore, we can deduce the definition of "a Mobile Device Management Principle" to be:

Mobile Device Management Principle: "1. A professed assumption, basis, tenet, doctrine, plan of action or code of conduct for any activities, work or behavior associated with the Discipline known as Mobile Device Management."

A "Best Practice" is defined as being: "One or more Activities, Actions, Tasks or Functions that often do not conform with strict Standards and that have evolved, over time, to be considered as conventional wisdom for consistently and repeated achieving Outcomes or Results that can be measured as being equal to or above acceptable norms." Therefore, we can deduce the definition of "a Mobile Device Management Best Practice" to be:

Mobile Device Management Best Practice: "1. One or more Mobile Device Management related Activities, Actions, Tasks or Functions that often do not conform with strict standards and that have evolved, over time, to be considered as conventional wisdom for consistently and repeatedly achieving Outcomes or Results that can be measured as being equal to or above acceptable norms."

The plural form of this term would be "Mobile Device Management Best Practices."

Common Mobile Device Management related principles and best practices exist to help achieve higher than average expectations of quality and to ease in the implementation, support, operations, and future change associated with the solutions industry professionals put in place to address the needs of this Discipline and all its related stakeholders.

While this entire document is meant to represent and serve as a set of common principles and best practices for Mobile Device Management, the following list represents a summary of some very basic examples of what implementers, supporters, and operators of Mobile Device Management should constantly be working toward:

Principle or Best Practice Description
Establish and always have very clear Ownership for Mobile Device Management. Establishing, publishing and socializing clear Ownership for Mobile Device Management allows an enterprise and all its Resources, regardless of their geographic location, to assign accountability for all aspects of the Discipline. It also ensures that there's always at least one person that everyone can go to for transparency into the Discipline as well as for handling work that is associated with the Discipline.
Define, Collect, and Manage Relevant Mobile Device Management Inventories. As an IT professional, there are probably few things that are as important as knowing what is or is not in your portfolio, as well as understanding key traits about your portfolio. You cannot achieve this without the transparency provided by your inventories. Therefore, it is critical that you clearly define, collect, manage, and govern any and all relevant Mobile Device Management inventories. Lack of Mobile Device Management Inventories means no transparency, a chaotic and immature environment, and (even worse) the implication that you don't know how to do your job.
Always use standard terminology for Mobile Device Management, in order to standardize communications between stakeholders. It is often argued that the biggest mistake you can make is to create your own words and/or your own definitions, when communicating with others. There is no place where this is more accurate than in the field of Information Technology. IT Stakeholders make up their own words and definitions far too often, or let their business constituents do so. When you make up words or definitions, or you let others do so, you're creating a grave injustice for your organization. Self invented terminology and grammar often leads to poor communications, which in turn leads to redundancy of solutions, higher complexity of environments, slower delivery times, and much higher costs. Therefore, the IF4IT always recommends that you leverage standard terminology for Mobile Device Management, whenever possible.
Centralization of Mobile Device related data. While often impossible to centralize and collocate all Mobile Device related data and information, especially in a geographically dispersed environment, Mobile Device Management related stakeholders should always strive to centralize all data and information. The goals are to eliminate data fragmentation, improve source of truth for data, reduce the number of systems needed to support stakeholders, reduce the complexity of solutions, improve usability, and to ultimately reduce the costs associated with Mobile Device Management.
Clearly define, implement, track, and analyze Mobile Device Management Metrics. In order to successfully set up the discipline of Mobile Device Management and its related Services, it is critical to clearly define, track, and constantly analyze Mobile Device Management metrics. Such metrics include but are not limited to Supply and Demand Metrics (i.e. Operational Metrics), Performance Metrics, Quality Metrics, and Financial Metrics.
Transparency of Mobile Device related data. Stakeholders should always strive to make any and all Mobile Device Management data transparent to all other appropriate stakeholders, at a minimum, and often to the entire enterprises. The exception when private user data must be protected. Many stakeholders often make the mistake of treating internal operational data as private or protected. This often creates a data silo and will often lead to internally silo-ed organizations that revolve around such data silos.
Do not let "perfection" of Mobile Device Management solutions stand in the way of "good enough solutions". Often, Mobile Device Management stakeholders "overthink" solutions, leading to the impression that best-of-breed or perfect solutions are more effective than "good enough" solutions. Experience tells us that "good enough" is, almost always, the better path to follow. We live in an age where technologies grow old in the blink of an eye. Even the implementation of something that looks perfect, today, will look antiquated, tomorrow. This is especially true if your enterprise doesn't have a long term funding plan and commitment to improvements and upgrades of the solution(s) put in place.
Follow industry Standards, Best Practices, and Guiding Principles for Mobile Device Management, whenever possible". One of the most common errors many enterprises make is to create solutions from scratch or without the guidance, assistance and/or experience of others who have created such solutions, before them. Whenever possible, the IF4IT recommends that you research existing Standards, Best Practices, and Guiding Principles to avoid the mistakes of others, while also gaining from their successes. Remember, we live in a vast world. Chances are very high that someone else has already experienced the pain you're about to create for yourself. Wise people will always look to learn from such people's experiences before they go down the road of implementing their own solutions.
Work toward and maintain a Single Source of Truth (SSoT), whenever possible. While it may be impossible to truly maintain a Single Source of Truth (SSoT) for all data items at all times, especially in the case where the same data entity or instance enters an enterprise through unique data channels, it is an accepted, industry-wide best practice to always work toward such a goal.

Further Reading and Reference Material for Mobile Device Management

The Information Technology (IT) Learning Framework. A tutorial that helps understand Information Technology and how disciplines, such as this one, fits into the bigger picture of IT Operations.

Copyright 2009 - Present by The International Foundation for Information Technology (IF4IT) : Privacy Policy and Terms of Use