Let’s Get Visible: Telecom Expense Management for Mixed Mobile Environments

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A mixed environment of both corporate-owned and employee-owned devices gives employees the freedom to use their preferred devices where appropriate, while employers maintain control of important assets where necessary. Although mixed environments are becoming the norm, managing them can still be challenging—particularly when it comes to telecom expense management (TEM).

Unfortunately, standard TEM solutions typically ingest data from the corporate phone bill. They lack mechanisms for tracking, analyzing, and reporting on bring-your-own-device (BYOD) costs in the context of overall mobile spending. The result is that mobility decision makers have to cobble together data from different sources to figure out how much is being spent on mobility each month.

One way to solve this problem is to use a TEM solution that tracks corporate-owned and employee-owned devices in a single view, which simplifies analysis and reporting of mobility spend across device types and employee roles. This makes it possible to continuously balance BYOD and corporate device costs together as part of a unified mobility strategy.

Consistent Cost Tracking

One of the difficulties of BYOD programs is that they are funded via stipends and are usually administered through the finance department. This can make it difficult to determine the total cost of mobility or compare the relative cost of your corporate-liable and individual-liable programs. With a TEM system designed for mixed environments, organizations can track these costs consistently and proactively without having to hassle the finance department for data. You also have the advantage of using a single reporting source, so that line managers can see employees’ total cost of mobility.

Enrollment Management

Using a TEM platform with a registration engine can help you roll out your BYOD program and supplement your mobile device management (MDM) deployment. Registering individual-liable devices for your BYOD program gives you the opportunity to share your acceptable use policies, and it gives employees an opportunity to review and agree to the terms. You can also choose to limit the rollout of the program to certain users or stagger the deployment.

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Our enrollment portal allows you to share your BYOD policy and request that employees agree to the company terms and conditions. It also serves as a single source for information about the program, including training materials. The enrollment includes an approval workflow that helps you control who signs up for the program. It tracks the stipends and allows you to consolidate spend data from your BYOD program with your corporate-liable mobility plan, giving you a single view of your overall mobility spend.

Improved Visibility

In addition to helping manage costs, a TEM solution designed for mixed environments offers one-stop visibility into the entire mobile ecosystem. With that knowledge, mobility decision makers can identify challenges and opportunities proactively and continuously optimize their mobile environments for maximum return-on-investment.

To learn more about managing your organization’s mobility costs, take a look at our BYOD template, BYOD Policy: It’s Protection, Not Paperwork.


Part II: Planning a Mobile Security Strategy

Part II Planning a Mobile Security Strategy_BLOG IMAGEIn Part I of this blog, I discussed some of the biggest challenges in securing mobile environments and made some recommendations about mobile device management (MDM) software and how best to get started with planning. Here, I’ll address the importance of incorporating mobile application management and mobile content management solutions into your mobile security strategy.

Although using MDM software can be an important element in protecting your mobile environment, combining it with savvy mobile application management (MAM) and mobile content management (MCM) leads to the most effective overall mobile management and security. It’s not always easy to know how to best handle MAM and MCM for your organization, but adopting the right strategies is critical to your success.

MAM—While MDM is all about locking down devices, MAM helps safeguard mobile environments by controlling application access; only certain users can use particular applications on particular devices. If you are considering a Bring-Your-Own Device (BYOD) strategy, MAM helps you do so without putting corporate data at risk because corporate and personal apps can peacefully (and safely!) coexist on the same device. Employees are responsible for the security of the personal apps on their devices, while IT staff can protect and remove corporate apps if a device needs to be wiped.

Note some MAM best practices:

  • Decide on relevant acceptable use policies to help set expectations. Make sure employees are clear on which applications they’re allowed to access and which are blacklisted.
  • Use MAM tools to transparently install and configure business or security apps, especially if you have BYOD in play; you can’t always count on employees to do it properly on their own.
  • Establish a way to track app downloads and ongoing usage, monitor to detect outdated or disabled apps, and enforce the removal of blacklisted apps.

 

MCM—MCM focuses on the data itself, rather than your organization’s devices or applications. MCM strategies help establish a secure container around sensitive data, encrypting it and allowing only approved applications to access and distribute the data. The MCM market is still evolving, and upcoming integration improvements and the development of industry standards will make it easier for devices and apps to recognize the protections placed on data.

Even with some of the existing integration challenges, the number of MCM users is expected to grow by more than 10 percent annually for several years, according to a report by ABI Research. Proactive companies will look to capitalize on the advancements that the demand for high-quality MCM will bring, rather than waiting for complete maturity in that arena.

Of course, the key is finding that magic mix of MDM, MAM, and MCM strategies and tools. Although there doesn’t tend to be much overlap among these areas, you’ll need to do some testing to make sure that the products won’t limit each other or get in the way of other functionality.

Keep your eye on your top priorities for mobility management, whether those involve ease of use, cost, the amount of IT control, or specific features like asset management. These management solutions can’t be all things to all people, so find the ones that are right for you. With a suitable combination, you’ll be well on your way to having a mobile environment that meets your employees’ needs for productivity and flexibility without putting your devices, apps, or data at risk.

Learn more about planning your mobile security strategy.


Three Tips on Building a Rock-Solid Mobility Strategy

Three Tips on Building a Rock-Solid Mobility Strategy_BLOG IMAGECompanies have learned the hard way that if you have no strategy—whether in the realm of sales, technology, or growth—you can flounder and make bad decisions. Mobility is no different. Without a comprehensive mobility strategy, it’s easy to lose focus and deploy single-point solutions that don’t mesh well with your overall business plans and existing technology environment.

Crafting a sound mobility strategy that identifies and addresses key business pains and objectives is worth the effort. With such a strategy in place, you can:

• Enhance employee productivity through the use of mobile devices and applications—without busting budgets or putting data at risk.

• Better align your business goals, processes, and costs, bringing everything together to fully support your employees and, often, your customers.

• Make more cost-efficient use of your resources by investing in solutions that fit into your long-term business plan.

To help you establish the right mobility strategy for your organization, I have come up with three pieces of advice, based on the work that I’ve conducted with businesses in a range of industries.

1. Take a hard look at your business requirements.

Mobility for mobility’s sake isn’t a smart use of company resources. You have to look at your business practices and needs when devising a mobility strategy. Many companies have baked mobility capabilities into their business, which really helps to propel their main objectives. Can mobility support your overall business strategy? If not today, can you create a mobility roadmap to support you in the future?

For example, if you install a new ERP system, are you extending that system to all your mobile users who may benefit from it? If not, you aren’t getting maximum value out of your ERP investment, and you may not be fully supporting your overall business goals.

To determine how mobility comes into play throughout your business, you need input from all angles. Form a cross-functional team or tap into your existing mobility team to really understand what makes your business tick and what specific issues and opportunities your mobile strategy should address. Produce an outline of the ways different roles in your workforce currently use and/or want to use mobility and how you see it playing a part in your company’s future plans.

2. Take security seriously.

Security should be a chief concern, especially when it comes to protecting mobile devices and their data. What is your IT security model and how does it translate to mobile devices and their content? If you’re putting corporate data on mobile devices, you need to look closely at how it’s safeguarded. If your organization is adopting a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach versus one that involves only corporate devices, you’ll need strategies that account for disparate devices and a blend of business and personal use. (For a more detailed look at the security side of the mobility equation, see the blog post from my colleague, Jide Akanbi.)

3. Determine the best way to handle the changing application landscape.

Gone are the days when employees used devices solely for email—workers in a wide range of roles are turning to mobile applications to heighten productivity and increase responsiveness. Today, employees can use mobile apps to manage projects, keep tabs on customers and work performance, connect with colleagues, and even host meetings. The applications that your employees use will likely be more important than the platform you choose when planning your mobile strategy. If you don’t take mobile applications into consideration, you can run into problems with information continuity, flow, and security.

What’s your strategy around applications, and how will you manage their content? Do you want employees to buy off-the-shelf applications or to develop them in-house? Will they work with your back-end systems? Will they pass data through correctly or will you have to invest more money to integrate them? How do applications transpose among an employee’s various devices? Take advantage of your existing investments and tie mobile applications to them as much as possible. For instance, if you have SharePoint, focus on applications that can securely communicate with SharePoint and that you can put on devices easily and manage in a secure fashion.

Staying on top of all the application possibilities and determining those that lend the most value to your company can be daunting. Consider working with an agnostic outsourced provider, one that can inform you about your options and take the emotions and preconceived notions out of decision making.

Whatever your approach, taking care to build a solid mobility strategy—and then revisiting it quarterly—will help you ensure that your company is getting maximum value from your mobility investment.

Interested in more information to help you build your mobility roadmap? Check out the webinar at: http://www.slideshare.net/EnterpriseMobile/tips-for-building-an-enterprise-mobility-strategy-slide-share

 


Mobility-as-a-Service and Why It Matters Now

Mobility-as-a-Service and Why It Matters NowThe “as-a-service” way of handling IT environments has been growing for years. Mobility, no longer considered a luxury for executives only, has reached a point of prominence in the enterprise space and is now a viable candidate for an “as-a-service” approach.

Strictly speaking, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is the ability to consume mobile products, software, and services—all under a per-device, per-month fee. It brings together all the necessary components, including applications, security software, ongoing services such as provisioning, and the device itself. This is particularly helpful given the diversity and complexity that companies face in dealing with today’s mobile environments. Users love the variety and greater levels of mobile functionality available to them, but that same variety introduces risk because devices have different levels of security and encryption, which makes it difficult for companies to control and secure an environment as a whole.

In the “olden” days, most companies used mobile devices that focused on email, but now email could be the third or fourth priority for employees, who may consider phone, texting, and line-of-business applications more critical to their productivity. To foster that productivity, companies incur costs related to content and apps, and due to the sophistication and complexity of the devices, you need additional value-added services to be able to deploy and support the environments as well.

There are essentially three ways to buy MaaS:

  • Traditional leasing. Take the cost of equipment, apps, security, and telecom expense management (TEM) and bundle it all into a three- or four-year agreement in which you pay a per-device, per-month fee that could be anywhere from US$20 to $50. At the end of that lease, you turn in the equipment.
  • Financing. Financing programs bundle the cost of hardware, services, security software, apps, and TEM together into a single per-device, per-month fee, with zero percent financing. Instead of paying up front, you pay the same amount every month per device, and at the end of the term, you own the equipment.
  • Individual services or equipment. Sometimes organizations need separate services that are priced per device per month. For example, you might need 10,000 help-desk seats but no hardware, so you’d pay a MaaS provider a help-desk fee per device per month, with no hardware component.

 

The world of MaaS brings several advantages to companies:

  • Predictability. It’s often a huge benefit for companies to have OPEX versus CAPEX costs; it enables them to know every month how much they’re going to spend to “mobilize” a worker.
  • Refresh options. The ability to refresh more quickly through MaaS to take advantage of new features and technologies can make a positive impact for users and companies alike. For instance, when the new iPad 4 was released, all of a sudden some employees’ devices were “lost” or “stolen” because they wanted the newest version without waiting for their company’s refresh cycle.
  • Easing of infrastructure requirements. With MaaS, you no longer have to deploy lots of different components in your data center, build in redundancy, conduct 24/7 monitoring, and all the other work that comes with implementing server-based technologies. MaaS eliminates all those capital expenditures and efforts.
  • Scalability, both up and down. You’re not paying for infrastructure, hardware, services, and support that your company might not need at the moment. And as you grow, you don’t have to rethink your entire mobile environment.

Of course, MaaS isn’t for everyone. Those in highly regulated industries where data flow is restricted (like government or financial services) probably can’t take advantage of it, but most industries can reap the benefits. Companies can gain a true advantage by working with a MaaS provider to help guide their mobility strategies, keep up on all the trends, and consolidate and manage devices and apps under only one service. Sure, you can buy mobile device management (MDM) software directly from an MDM vendor, devices from your carrier, TEM from a carrier, and services from a separate provider—and you may use MaaS for all those components—but you’re also tracking and writing checks to all those different vendors every month.

Instead, find a managed services partner who can bring it all together with some solid thought leadership and logistics capabilities. With a partner like that on board, you’ll enjoy the advantages of a comprehensive mobile environment without the hassles.


iPhone Line of Business Application Deployment

A lot of people don’t know it, but there is a way to deploy Enterprise Line of Business (LOB) applications to employee iPhones without using the Apple appstore.  It definitely has its caveats.  But, it’s worth knowing about.

If your company has 500 or more employees, you can buy an iPhone “Enterprise” developer license.  It’s a bit more then the “Standard” individual and company licenses, but not much.  For more on developer licenses, go here.

Once you have the license, you can sign your LOB apps with your certificate and provision them to company devices.  ”Enterprise” developer licensing allows what is called “Universal” application provisioning.  This is the same type of provisioning that is granted to applications deployed through the Apple Appstore and allows deployment of the application to any iPhone on the face of the Earth.

Wow, so with a developer license, you can deploy an app to any iPhone out there without going through the appstore….WRONG!  The “Enterprise” developer license EULA that you accepted dicatates that you are only allowed to deploy apps to iPhones operated by employees of your company.  Deployment to any other iPhones is illegal.  And, I’m absolutely sure that Apple is not going to stand by and let you break the law.

Well, you can deploy your LOB app to your company users and that’s the important thing, right?  At this point, you may be wondering how you go about deploying the application to the employee-operated iPhone.  There are currently two ways to do it.  Use the iPhone Configuration Utility (iPCU) or use Apple iTunes.  Both methods are described in the Apple iPhone Enterprise Deployment Guide.

The caveat here is that neither iPCU or iTunes app deployment can be performed directly between the iPhone and a server.  Both iPCU and iTunes are desktop applications that run on either a Mac or Windows machine.  But, they do support two different scenarios.  iPCU is best if you want to setup a bulk number of iPhones with your LOB before giving them to the user.  iTunes is better for deployment of the app or on-going updates when the iPhone is already in the user’s hands.

When deploying the LOB app, you have to get your Enterprise Developer License .mobileprovision file installed on the iPhone before you can install a .app file.  You can deploy the .mobileprovision file using desktop management that you may have deployed in your network to offload this task from the user.  When the iPhone is connected to the desktop running iTunes, the .mobileprovision file will be deployed.  Then the user must add the .app to their app library and select to install it on their iPhone.


iPhone turn by turn navigation

Every time we have a larger gathering of people, being it at my house for a party, at a lake for some water skiing fun or at the mountains for hiking and back country skiing there is a guarantee that in the 10 or so phones there is going to be at last couple of iPhones. What can I say, all of my friends are super cool and ride the technology fashion wave.

During the process of trying to help businesses to adopt iPhones as tools I run into couple obstacles. Some are small like the calendaring functionality and some were bigger.

However today, one of the large obstacles for using iPhone primary device was removed – TomTom has announced availability of their turn by turn navigation in the Apple App Store. It features some interesting technologies such as the one called IQ Routes, said the company. Instead of suggesting the quickest route based on travel time, IQ Routes taps into the actual experiences of other TomTom drivers to determine the fastest route to take. TomTom said this technology lets people reach their destinations quicker up to 35 percent of the time.

I prefer TomTom, mainly because on Windows Mobile, where I have been using it for years now, it allows you to select driving, walking biking and other types of transport, it uses my phone thus I don’t have to pay the extra 9.95 when renting a car for a dedicated GPS unit, has a great database for points of interest and I really like their performance and functionality. But they are not alone in providing turn by turn navigation for iPhone here are couple other solutions:

TomTom for iPhone – 99$ for US and Canada maps – more details here

Navigon – 69$ for US and Canada maps Comparison with iGo My Way is here

iGo My Way – 79$ for US and Canada maps Comparison with Navigon is here

Now only time will show if my friends will stop buying and using the sometimes bulky and overpriced standalone GPS units for their cars or paying for the software update in their car. One of them shared that to update the built-in navigation in a Japanese high end sedan it close to 700 US$! But I know that anybody who has an iPhone now has a good, reliable and well working alternative for turn by turn navigation How about you? Will you use iPhone instead of other GPS devices? Please share your opinion in the comments below.


World (mobile) has changed. Multiplatform is the (only) way to go…

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Cancelled Sendo WM device

I have started to work with smartphones sometime in 1998. I even have a mint prototype of what supposed to be the first Windows Mobile powered phone by Sendo – project that got canceled in 2002. Read more about it here.

Anyway fast forward to 2006 and any IT executive that was thinking about deploying mobile email / PIM and mobile applications basically had two basic option RIM/Blackberry and Windows Mobile. Each had its advantages and issues but once you had your requirements and made your decision, there was a good chance for you to run homogeneous platform. IT Helpdesk and Support, Training, Security and other departments became aware of the platform of choice and while international presence may posed a challenge with availability and the Symbian disruption (especially in Europe) the job was quite easy.

But something did happen in 2007 – the Apple released iPhone and stirred the pot. While the first generation was not suited at serious business use, the second one in 2008 added support for Microsoft Exchange and history started to repeat itself. IT managers were asked by their executives to figure out how to support iPhone, instead of their Blackberries. Regular employees started to bring their own devices and peer support helped them to get corporate email enabled. And the numbers grew.

Today with the introduction of Palm Pre into the mix, the bigger use of ruggedized devices that almost exclusively run Windows Mobile OS, over 30 new smatphone devices running Android planned for release before the end of the year and iPhone being on its 3rd generation, the 2006 homogenous era looks like a something that will never happen again.

The reality is that most if not all IT departments and business owners have to consider supporting multiple platforms and consider the impacts and risks of all of them. There are some tools that serve multiple platforms well but most are just in their infancy. Also how to make a decision on which support and which just allow /enable but don’t provide any support?

Enterprise Mobile has been building mobile expertise since 2006. If you have any questions about what to do why don’t you send quick email or attend one of the great webinars