COMDEXvirtual: Think Before Leaping Into The Mobile Cloud

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A growing number of companies are boosting employee productivity into the stratosphere by tapping into mobility, software-as-a-service and cloud computing. But there are a number of important points they'll have to consider in order to get the most out of their investment in next generation computing architecture.

So says Jack Gold, president and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, who offered of glimpse of where things are headed in the mobile enterprise during a session at COMDEXvirtual, the online conference hosted by CRN parent company Everything Channel. The show takes place November 16 - 17, and sessions are available on-demand until May 17, 2011.

Long gone are the days when e-mail was the primary application for mobile workers. Now they're using apps like CRM, ERP, order entry and inventory tracking.

But along with the proliferation of mobile apps comes tough decisions, Gold said. "Companies are going to need to make a choice on how to optimally deploy those mobile apps. Will they be behind a firewall, as with a typical client/server, or will they reside in the cloud?" he said.

Companies also need to figure out whether it makes more sense financially to extend their existing business apps to the mobile setting or to develop new apps specifically sculpted to the needs of their mobile workforce, according to Gold. "The bottom line is that enterprises are moving to the mobile cloud, and they're moving that way fairly rapidly," he said.

When it comes to choosing mobile devices, companies must decide whether a thin-client or thick-client approach best fits their needs. This is a business decision as well as a technical one, and picking the right path can mean the difference between saving money from mobile efficiencies or merely breaking even due to unforeseen costs, Gold said.

Thin clients offer advantages in security, management, ease of deployment and support, and they can also be managed from the cloud and are easier to support from an IT perspective. On the other hand, thick clients offer more flexibility, richness of apps, local data storage and expandability, Gold said in the presentation.

Management and support are also issues that need to be taken into account. Remote device management is at the top of list of requirements for companies, and thick clients can be managed from a corporate IT environment, although support is more difficult because it's harder for help desk to figure out and troubleshoot, Gold said.


NEXT: Where Thick Clients Make Sense

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