Mobile Device Management - the Who and How of Success
(Part 2 - Deploying Mobile Devices)
In my last post, I talked about the fact we should be talking about what our stakeholder needs are when discussing which device(s) should be considered for purchase. Another piece that needs to be considered in a school setting is that of device management. We often forget we are still dealing with several technologies that are new. This means management techniques for these devices is still developing and changing.
There are two key components to consider when making decisions about management. We need to identify who is going to manage the devices, and how managed they are going to be. Some thoughts on these two components:
Who Manages the Devices: Because we are dealing with an evolving technology, it is not just about teaching someone how to “change the lightbulb in the projector.” Rather, there must be a commitment to learning - and even relearning - skills necessary in managing devices. Additionally, those that most successfully manage the devices are people with good troubleshooting skills as unexpected results regularly occur.
How Managed the Devices Are: There is a direct correlation between the amount of management that is desired and two other factors: time involved AND cost. If you are letting end users completely manage the device, it will require your organization spend little time and money on an ongoing basis. If you want the devices “locked down” with limited capabilities, it will require your organization spend more time and money on an ongoing basis. Solutions that are cheaper will use more time (for instance, currently using Apple Configurator with iPads will involve more time in collecting devices, updating them, troubleshooting issues, and re-deploying). Solutions that cost more will use less time (for example, purchasing Casper to more remotely manage the devices).
Discussing these factors in advance can help make a deployment more successful. Both people and monetary resources can be dedicated to the process to achieve the end goals in a realistic way.