Many commentators have been busily pointing out that the choice of mobile device per se, as it has become more commoditised, has become less important than the applications that are to run on it within the organisation.
Some have even taken this train of thought a step further, arguing that it is not really about the app either. Instead, they say, mobility is now primarily about the service delivery.
The devices, the applications that run on them, and the services that are delivered to the customer are certainly all important parts of the mix, but which should the VAR focus on more when it comes to designing and implementing the mobility offering that business customers really want?
Getting the recipe right could also be key to winning more public sector deals in future, going by a Cabinet Office report into mobility deployments released in February.
End-user device strategy, it said, needs to be user-led and flexible to support a digital infrastructure that incorporates mobility and makes possible the hoped-for organisational benefits.
By default, that suggests a closer focus in the first instance on infrastructure and services that will support a wider variety of mobile devices and allows for interoperability both of devices and applications. A good user experience is a central goal, it added.
Departments will require a "highly dynamic market for the supply of end-user devices achieved through codependency between devices and applications or services, no exclusivity oversupply, and a clear transparent specification [that is] implementable by suppliers of all sizes.
"Applications and services [must be] designed to make no assumption about end-user device brand, vendor or supplier, with no requirement to customise the basic devices to consumer applications.
The device is decoupled from applications, services or other middleware."
Dominic Wordsworth, product group manager at Computerlinks (pictured, right), says it remains true that there is no longer effectively a "gold build" to adhere to in mobility. Instead, a mix of mobile devices and hardware, and vendor OS, and apps must be catered for - and it will vary per customer.
So that's a services opportunity, he notes.
"It's about helping your customers understand what they are doing, what they want to do, and the next step they want to take," says Wordsworth. "Whereas, over the past few years they have been taking a very reactive approach - let's get into mobile device management (MDM), let's just fill a gap."
Instead, the process has to be advanced to where a deployment needs to be to actually become useful. That means suitable applications over a network that is defined and fit for purpose, he says.
That's not about delivering the "next generation of apps" so much as creating a process to work through in order to help the customers reach their goals.
"But I absolutely agree that the device does not matter any more - nor the OS. The idea that this device and this OS are for these apps - forget that," he says.
Partly because of BYOD, a range of options is available and organisatons that genuinely expect to receive the benefits of increased mobility simply must support them all, in an interoperable way. Otherwise there will most likely be bottleneck after bottleneck in the new system.
"People come out of college and say at their first job, ‘I want to use my Mac'," says Wordsworth. "So it's now about seeing that this is about being cross-platform, and cross-application."
David Bennett, communications and collaboration manager at Logicalis, says it is about both the applications and the services. Organisations can either be mobilising their workforce because they want to, or are simply being forced to do so.
"So that involves somebody dealing with those devices but also putting the applications they currently use at the desktop into the mobilised space - so that's about the apps. And to do that may involve a process of steps which involves services," he says.
For Logicalis, one starting point may be the set-up of a "mobile experience" framework, taking the elements from the services life cycle and presenting them to customers in a way that helps them understand and figure out what they need to do, says Bennett.
"We need to set out what we're doing as well, and that evolves too," he adds.
It is possible, he agrees, that insufficient attention has been paid to the services side of the equation. That suggests that VARs and other tech providers should ensure they emphasise the services aspect if they want to improve the overall solution delivery.
"I think there has been a lot of launches of ‘solutions' and ‘applications' around mobility, and there has not been enough emphasis put on it to ensure that it will all work together, and continue to work," suggests Bennett.
It often means bringing all departments - HR, finance and so on - into the customer conversation, as well as IT, he notes.
He offered the example of a recent retail customer, which wanted to improve its customer service in its retail outlets. That actually involved a number of different offerings, including apps and services, to solve that retailer's specific problems.
"They were losing too many customers who were coming in, waiting in a queue to speak to someone, and then walking out again without being served," Bennett says. "So we enabled them to take the services out to the customer, as it were, with tablets."
Previously counter-bound staff were enabled to do things on tablets, remotely, rather than having to do everything at a desktop-type facility.
Customers waiting in a queue are still prioritised, but now, in quieter moments, staff are freed up to move around the floor to assist - checking stock and the like on the go. This saves time and means that customers often do not need to queue to receive assistance - and this will follow through to the bottom line.
"They can also bring up the customer's history, and check something on their account. It also makes for a more friendly environment," says Bennett.
Any overall solution is surely a mix of all the relevant factors, as Nigel Hawthorn, director of EMEA marketing at MobileIron (pictured, right) concedes. But there has been in the past - up to only a year or so ago - too much concern loaded on to the security element of a mobility deployment, he suggests.
"However, I would say also that there has been a change over time in the approach. Channel companies can certainly now help drive the changes through to customers - so you move from focusing on security to focusing on productivity," he says.
Really, today, the business value is in the apps - particularly the access to more business-focused apps such as ERP or Sage - so that is where the channel needs to focus, Hawthorn says, more than on device security, for example.
"That makes people take a more positive view [of mobility technology], aiming to make the business case, with the technology available," Hawthorn says.
"The channel can really help with this by moving the conversations from the idea that mobility is just another problem to be solved to the realisation that it can deliver business outcomes."
CRN pulls out the key information from Microsoft's Q4, which took the vendor above $100bn for the year
Investment will include an AI research centre in London
John Coulston outlines Rackspace's plans to partner with the channel in the UK
Chris Bunch of Microsoft partner Cloudreach gives his take on this year's Inspire conference