More mobile devices are being used by corporations than ever. Beyond simple calling there are many new applications emerging all the time. Also, its likely that a significant proportion of your employees use more than one mobile device. Some recent mobile applications include:
Internet of Things (IoT) – Billions of devices, sensors, switches, and other “things” are being connected to the global internet every day. Since they connect to the same internet as people do, people can control them using their mobile devices. These has seen tremendous application in smart homes where all lights, locks, thermostats, garage doors and more can be operated from a smartphone, or by voice.
Industrial Control Systems (ICS) – Formerly disparate manual systems providing heat, light, air conditioning, and other environmental services are now integrated into a single automated ICS fully equipped with sensors to help automate turning those services on and off based on area occupancy. Adjustments are routinely made by smartphone.
New Customer Experiences are being delivered via dedicated mobile apps provided by retailers, service providers, manufacturers, healthcare providers and more. These apps access a diversity of data assets combining them to help customers place orders, select items, check status, make payment, reserve seats, shop, and much more. Many retailers even track the progress of customers through their stores to learn which displays they stop and dwell at.
These few applications just scratch the surface of the growing number of mobile applications emerging all the time. The need for managed mobility services (MMS) has never been greater.
Are you managing mobility alone?
Here are 14 ways that outsourced managed mobility services debunk the misconception of being able to handle mobility internally for large enterprises, governments and universities:
- Ability to select the best mobile solution for any business requirement. Otherwise, you may significantly overspend and then suffer the difficulty in accomplishing some tasks.
- Ability to plan for a scalable mobile fleet of devices and services.
- Experience negotiating preferable rates and conditions from a wide variety of carriers.
- Experience in the procurement, provisioning, activation and other initial preparatory services required to onboard new devices. This is not something you want to leave to the users themselves, and most corporate IT departments do not include this in their skill sets.
- Expertise in the selection and implementation of mobile applications and platforms.
- These mobile devices access your company’s most valuable assets, your data. The devices themselves and everything connecting them to your network must be effectively secured from unauthorized access. That security must constantly be evaluated and improved as more threats emerge daily.
- Strategy expertise around device ownership including corporate-liable, provided and paid for directly by the company, and individual liable. The former takes advantage of volume discount programs and gives the company control over the continued activation of the device. The latter became popular with the emergence of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) initiatives enabling users to use their own personal mobile devices to get their work done. In this strategy, the employee provides and pays for services for their own device. Some corporations reimburse this as an expense.
- Whichever way you choose to provide mobile devices, someone must make sure the bills get paid. This requires careful evaluation of all incoming bills for accuracy and contract compliance leading to approval to pay. Since service programs change so frequently, plans will need to be continuously analyzed and revised to optimize pricing.
- When devices malfunction or fail, an efficient strategy must be managed to expedite repair and/or replacement of that device. This not only requires hardware expertise, it also involves the logistics of maintaining an inventory of spares and keeping control over their coming and going.
- Speaking of comings and goings, employees will be on-boarded needing new devices unless there are a sufficient supply of spares to re-assign one. Others will be terminated and their corporate-liable mobile devices must be retrieved from them. Services for those devices must be terminated until they are re-assigned. Devices will eventually reach end-of-life and need to be properly recycled or otherwise disposed of. Who will provide asset management for all this?
- User support will require deep knowledge of the various mobile operating systems in use, such as iOS or Android. Application support will also be needed. Corporations will need to determine if these skills are available in their own IT departments. Even if some are, redundant experts will be required to not expose the company to vulnerability should anyone resign. You’ll also need to schedule personnel to deliver full support services to end users 24/7/365 and expect to receive their requests for assistance via phone, email, texting, social networks, and more.
- Your ability to effectively manage your mobility is rooted in your ability to obtain visibility over everything from invoicing trends to device utilization to charges and more. Consider upgrading your existing systems to interface with custom software designed to do this.
- If you have geographically dispersed locations, you may find you need to engage multiple carriers. Every additional carrier adds additional complexity, additional invoicing, additional monitoring requirements and support requirements. You’ll need to plan a strategy for staying on top of it all.
- Just about all of this takes well-trained personnel. Who will be responsible for providing training to enable the wide variety of skills and expertise required to handle everything listed here?
Advantages of Outsourcing MMS
The first and foremost advantage of outsourcing your mobile management to a full-service MMS provider is that all of this is their expertise. They immediately feature redundant resources to assure that your requirements are always fulfilled.
Global enterprises will require help desk support that is always available, and in multiple languages.
Ask yourself who in your organization is constantly keeping informed on the latest developments and advances coming from the telecom and technology industry. In even deeper detail, who is tracking releases of new versions of operating systems, patches, and other updates? Who will be responsible for implementing these?
Automation is another advantage some higher-quality MMS providers bring. When automation is used to ingest incoming invoices, scan them, analyze them, and score them for approval, your invoices are always paid on time, avoiding late-pay penalties that can be substantial. Automated systems can also keep track of the utilization of devices and services. If one is found to be idle for too long a time, administrators can be alerted to investigate and take remedial action.
Outsourced MMS and the COVID-19 Pandemic
The importance of having a comprehensive mobile management strategy has been amplified by having everyone work from home due to the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first impact is the likely rise you’ve experienced in mobile users. Some who never needed a mobile device because they were office-based now do need one. Companies that require corporate-liable devices only were also required to issue new devices to those who were using their own, even if it was outside corporate policy.
Next is the dramatic expansion of your threat-landscape. This is the area surrounding any point of internet contact that connects to your network. When everyone was in one building, that surface was limited. Now you have users on residential wi-fi internet connections. It may be that nothing is more vulnerable. Your data assets are seriously exposed.
Knowledge is power. Quality MMS providers carefully monitor literally everything about your mobile estate. Who is using what, when, even where? How have your expenses been trending over time? Is your entire inventory of devices present and accounted for? How timely have your payments been? What has caused delays?
Visibility into all this and more can save thousands, sometimes millions of dollars.