As the mobile device administrator for Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13, I have been exposed to many different solutions for management of the mobile user. With tools from Meraki, AirWatch, and Casper, just to name a few, the evaluation of the capabilities and differences of these applications can quickly become difficult.
Conferences like Tech Talk Live are a great venue to look at what is available and learn about the differences between the solutions; however, I feel that you need to first answer specific questions as to why you need a solution and for what purpose. Too many times our IT departments are “reactive” where management of mobile devices are concerned with many being thrust into it with the sudden proliferation of mobile devices on their networks.
Strategic planning is an absolute necessity to not only make a decision on what software to use, but also to determine which tools suit your situation the best. Are you deploying Mobile Device Management (MDM) software to manage school-owned devices, BYOD implementations, or a combination of both? What features are most important to your staff, students, and leadership? Is security, manageability, app deployment, decentralized control, or inventory most important? What are the primary uses for an iPad for the students, staff, and administration? Is it the apps, web access, social networking, or email? Do you have the appropriate wireless infrastructure to support all of these devices when the number of them on your network increases dramatically?
Basic questions like these need to be addressed before implementation to reduce the chances of wasted money and time on a solution that does not solve your most important needs.
Information Week has an excellent article on this subject at http://www.informationweek.com/global-cio/interviews/byod-why-mobile-device-management-isnt-e/240142450?pgno=1.
In this article the discussion centers on the corporate world but is entirely applicable to education. I encourage anyone looking to deploy MDM or who already has MDM to read this article and use the information provided as a framework in your strategic planning process.
Tech Talk Live is the only conference of its kind in the region specifically designed for IT pros in education.
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