I had two meetings scheduled yesterday where the people I was expecting to meet found themselves without their mobile phones.

One was lost, the other had turned into an iBrick. Both cases had fairly catastrophic impact on their owners’ days. As we become increasingly reliant on smart devices, the impact of their failure becomes heightened, especially if there is little or no contingency in place.

In traditional IT management terms, there are two key factors in play here: avoiding single points of failure, and avoiding reliance on a single provider (particularly if that provider is delivering very different types of service).

Most people these days seem to implicitly get this when it comes to personal email. It’s comparatively rare to find folk using an ISP’s email address these days: the challenge of having to change you email address when switching internet service provider is a pain that many have gone through (although the crappy service that most of them offered at the time that Hotmail, Yahoo! and then Gmail provided something much better undoubtedly helped too).

Getting lots of services from the same provider has undoubted benefits if those services are well integrated. Where those services aren’t as well integrated and bundled more for convenience than functional purpose (say, for example, your mobile phone number, texting and calling, your internet connection when on the move, and your supply and maintenance of hardware, which in essence is the average pay-monthly mobile deal) there is a question to be asked about the risks one is running.

As we enter a more multi-device world, a procurement question we should be asking ourselves is whether the cheaper cost of a second SIM card from our existing telco for a tablet (for example) would be better offset by the reduced risk of having two suppliers. Oh, and keeping a spare phone handy wouldn’t go amiss, either.

Herein lie some of the challenges we all face as we enter a multi-device world…

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