Address Management Challenges, Reap Big Rewards

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Managing mobile environments is a difficult task, and not for the faint of heart. Part five in our series of mobility solution briefs delves into the challenges associated with mobility management, including areas such as:

  • Finding the right strategy and mindset.

    The mobile landscape changes at a frenetic pace; what was considered revolutionary just a few years ago is now common practice. Take a look at some of the factors—from new device types to app evolution—that can affect management policies and practices. Learn how to think ahead so that your management strategy can accommodate your organization’s changing needs without compromising your devices, your data, or your users’ productivity.

  • Balancing software solutions and services.

    There’s a lot out there to help you keep your mobile environment in check and healthy, but the best strategy is to employ an amalgam of tools so that you have devices, apps, and data covered. Find out how to evaluate available management tools and learn about the next generation of solutions. In addition, determine which elements (dynamic policies, network access control, and cloud services, to name a few) you should focus on for holistic mobility management.

  • Getting results.

    Mobility for mobility’s sake just doesn’t make sense. As you pull together the right pieces of your management strategy, bear in mind why you’re doing this in the first place. Keep your eye on the prize by taking a look at the benefits that comprehensive, efficient mobility management can bring.

Want to learn more? Find our solution brief on mobility management here.


Your Budget is Your Strategy: Key Considerations for 2014

2014 Tablet Calendar

Enterprise mobility gets plenty of attention, but when budget season rolls around, it’s important to focus as much on the fundamentals as on the latest industry trends. Creating a budget is more than just number-crunching—it’s a strategic activity that is influenced by device usability, security, logistics, and collaboration. Focusing on the six key items below will help your organization increase profitability and productivity for 2014 and beyond.

1. Hardware and connectivity.

Companies have a myriad of mobile device options, creating the need to navigate a sea of hardware types and operating system variations. Furthermore, customers must pay attention to the influences created by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. Hardware selection can be based on a variety of factors, such as form factor, wireless carrier compatibility, battery life, application availability, screen size, and more. For corporate-owned assets, evaluating leasing versus capital expenditure is important, not just to spread out costs but to enable a vehicle for consistent device refresh. Hardware, usage, and data costs are strongly influenced by your BYOD strategy. If you’re moving toward a stipend BYOD model and retiring corporate devices, your hardware lifecycle costs might decrease. However, there will be new factors to consider, such as whether employees are being reimbursed for data plans on additional personal devices. It’s also important to take into account the number of employees who still use corporate-liable devices—such as salespeople or those with access to protected data.

2. Security and management.

As your mobile user base grows, so will costs for security and mobile device management (MDM), including software licensing, support, hosting, and administration. With the rise of cloud-based MDM solutions, many companies are turning the capital costs of MDM servers into more predictable operational costs by paying for security software monthly or annually. On the security side, platform- and application-level security measures need to be consistently updated in light of evolving threats. It is also important to invest in user education and engagement, which is an inexpensive and effective way to reduce security risks.

3. Mobile support.

Help-desk costs can vary greatly depending on the mix of employee-owned and corporate-owned devices. For corporate-owned devices, employees expect support for issues involving hardware, applications, device replacement, and more. On the BYOD side, users can self-support to some degree, but BYOD programs don’t eliminate the need for help-desk services. Some companies offer users full access to a traditional phone-based help desk; others provide employee-to-employee communities or limit support to self-service resources. Costs will vary depending on your model.

4. Application planning, development, costs, and support.

Apps are at the heart of mobile productivity. In addition to licensing costs for third-party apps and development costs for internally built apps, companies need to consider the cost of creating, maintaining, deploying, and supporting in-house apps. Corporate-owned devices are ideal for the addition of applications to drive customer service and productivity gains. In a BYOD scenario, ensuring that everyone has access to the apps they need can be more expensive than with corporate-owned devices. Support also comes into play in the app space. If users come to rely on certain apps for day-to-day work, resources need to be available when those apps aren’t functioning properly or if an end user needs help using them.

5. Lost and broken equipment costs.

Sometimes mobile devices get damaged, lost, or stolen. The costs may vary depending on your company’s policies, but the risks should be taken into account regardless. Although, “bring your own” can also mean “fix your own” and “replace your own,” that’s not always the case, particularly if the device is damaged while an employee is on the job. And your organization will definitely be responsible for covering the costs associated with corporate-owned devices. Ensuring that devices are quickly replaced is key to maximizing the value of your investment in corporate-owned mobile devices.

6. Content management and collaboration.

With the basics of your mobility strategy largely addressed, the next step is to extend capability and access to deployed devices. Before doing so, it is critical to consider how content will be securely managed, accessed, and shared. With a variety of tools available, including cloud-based, on-premises, and hybrid implementation approaches, enterprise customers need to determine the best way to enable and endorse content collaboration while mitigating risk.

With your budgets and plans in order for 2014, you have a solid foundation for tackling key strategic priorities. To get a head start on your BYOD plans or mobility strategy updates, check out these resources.


Why the Gartner Magic Quadrant Matters

 

Here at Enterprise Mobile, we believe that we provide top-of-the-line services in the mobility space. Well, it turns out that we’re not the only ones who feel this way. I’m happy to report that Enterprise Mobile has been recognized by Gartner in its 2013 Magic Quadrant for Managed Mobility Services (MMS) for our ability to execute and our completeness of vision.

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Magic Quadrant Methodology

This is the first year that Gartner has applied its Magic Quadrant methodology to managed services for enterprise mobile devices. Gartner focused its research on vendors that manage pools of globally distributed, corporate-liable devices and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) users. The company divided MMS into six categories, all of which Enterprise Mobile provides as part of our composite services:

  • Sourcing and logistics
  • Mobile service management
  • Device and system management
  • Application and messaging management
  • Security and content management
  • Program and financial management

 

Our Differentiators

We like to think that Gartner differentiated us from other providers because of our Enterprise Mobility Planning, Mobile Workforce Support, Mobility Monitoring Intelligence and Analytics services across a broad range of devices. Gartner also called out a number of our strengths:

  • We rated well for help desk, device sourcing, hardware support, and software support.
  • We are considered a strong provider of device provisioning.
  • We were praised by customers for our expense and asset management services.
  • We rated well for program management.
  • We were regarded for our expertise specific to mobile device technology.

So why is being part of the Magic Quadrant such an honor? Because the Magic Quadrant is a trusted, impartial research tool that provides a critical first step for those evaluating emerging technologies. This recognition is evidence of our true mobility focus.

2013 Milestones

In addition to our rating as a top company in this space, we have achieved numerous other milestones in 2013, many of which have positively affected our service commitments. A few of these achievements include:

  • Exceeded 500,000 mobile devices under management for managed services
  • Introduced global capabilities—we now provide in-region deployment and depot services across 70+ countries
  • Introduced a global telecom expense management (TEM) service that allows customers to leverage Enterprise Mobile for e-Procurement and ongoing optimization of wireless carrier spend (with an average savings of US$10 to $15 per device per month!)
  • Partnered with Box to provide cloud-based content management and collaboration
  • Introduced managed services for Mac OS
  • Enhanced our position and services for a variety of mobile device management solutions, including MobileIron, AirWatch, Citrix XenMobile, SAP, Symantec, SOTI, and others

The mobility market is changing at a whirlwind rate, and we’re proud that Enterprise Mobile has the depth of experience and service excellence to be identified as part of an elite group of providers that can keep pace. And we truly believe that we help set that pace, which means our customers lead the pack when it comes to forward-thinking mobility strategy and execution.

 image via: Gartner


Why Effective Mobility Support is the Key to Faster ROI

Mobility-Support-and-ROI_BLOG IMAGEMobility is increasingly recognized by business and technology leaders as a major source of innovation and competitive advantage. In fact, according to a 2013 survey of more than 2,000 CIOs by a leading analyst firm, investment in mobile technologies ranks second on their Top 10 List of Technology Priorities.

But in the rush to get ahead of the mobility curve, many companies underestimate what it takes to effectively support mobile employees. Lack of adequate planning to ensure fast deployment and responsive support can seriously undermine productivity and overwhelm IT workloads. These kinds of formidable headwinds make it difficult to show return on mobility investment. Below are a few ways to navigate these pitfalls.

Top Three Methods for Maximizing Mobility ROI
There are numerous ways to think about measuring return on a mobile investment. Regardless of what metrics are used, it ultimately comes down to whether or not the devices that employees depend on are up and running when they need them. When considering how to shorten the payback period for mobility, business and IT leaders should focus on the following three best practices:

1. Avoid Delays in Delivering Devices
The benefits of providing employees with mobile access to email, critical business apps, and collaboration sites can be powerful. Still, these potential gains in productivity are entirely dependent on getting employees a fully configured and personalized device in as little time as possible.

For example, if a provider says it’s going to take a year to get 500 iPads configured and shipped (this timeline is more common than you might think), your organization foregoes the prospect of more productive and satisfied remote workers during that time. And, of course, there’s the risk of investing in technology that’s already a year-old by the time employees can use it. Given the pace of innovation in the mobile market, a lot can change in the span of 12 months.

2. Provide Responsive, Mobile-Optimized Support
In my view, one of the biggest oversights in mobility planning involves helpdesk setup and management. Truth is, most enterprise IT administrators are either too busy or lack the specific domain training and expertise to properly support mobility deployments.  Some companies make the assumption that, because the majority of their employees have smartphones and tablets for personal use, they’ll require minimal technical support for their work device. This leap of faith often backfires, with far reaching implications for productivity, mobile adoption rates, and IT efficiency.

When mobility helpdesk calls come flooding in, overburdened IT staff are forced to shelve other high-priority projects. Or, worse yet, if they’re unable to resolve the issue in-house, they need to send employees to sit in telecom carrier call queues. Outside of their company’s normal business hours, or when no one in IT is available to assist, employees have few options but to wait. This situation never bodes well for productivity and can often sap morale over time.

3. Streamline Device Repair and Replacement
Over the years, enterprise IT groups have found ways to expedite the process of getting newly reimaged laptops into the hands of employees. Yet, when it comes to replacing and reconfiguring mobile devices, the prevailing assumption seems to be that waiting up to two weeks for a handset manufacturer or other vendor to deliver a new device is an acceptable norm. Of course, during this time, employees have to revert to their previous way of doing things—the cumbersome processes that mobile access was intended to fix.

In their haste to capture the benefits of mobility, business and IT executives often underestimate what it takes to adequately support mobile workers. The most commonly overlooked factors include fast time to market for mobile devices, the need for a dedicated, 24x7x365 mobile helpdesk, and standardized, SLA-driven timelines for device repair and replacement. To realize rapid return on investment in mobility, it is imperative that companies address these needs.  By working with a mobility services provider, companies can streamline mobile deployments and remain focused on these priorities—while easing the burden for their IT team. This ultimately means that mobile employees can spend more time collaborating with colleagues and customers, and less time waiting.

Read more about how Enterprise Mobile can help support your mobile workforce to maximize productivity and accelerate ROI.


Do You Need a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Provider?

Do You Need a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) Provider_BLOG IMAGEAs more employees use mobile devices and create increased demand for mobile apps in the workplace, organizations have to figure out the best way to shoulder the burden that comes with mobility. Gone are the days of managing a homogeneous stable of Blackberry devices. Today, mobility equals complexity.

Some organizations have a large IT staff and the infrastructure to support mobility management, while resources at other organizations are already maxed out. Some decision makers like spending time investigating and evaluating all the device, app, and management options out there, while others would prefer to focus on the company’s core business and leave mobility strategy to the experts. Some want to make sure their infrastructure, help-desk staff, and budgets can handle peaks in mobile usage, while others choose to work with outside partners to make mobility management an ongoing operational expense.

The mobility outsourcers of the past primarily handled device management, but today’s mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) providers offer a complete lifecycle of mobility services. Considering the speed with which the mobile landscape changes, MaaS providers can offer strategic expertise to advise organizations about direction, trends, and how to make the most of their mobile investments.

For many organizations, working with a MaaS provider allows for the right combination of involvement, control, and financial stability. Organizations can rely on their MaaS providers to:

  • Help set mobile strategy
  • Determine the best devices, apps, and management tools for their needs
  • Develop custom apps as appropriate
  • Track advancements in mobile technology
  • Manage the infrastructure
  • Ensure the right mix of device, app, and infrastructure security
  • Provide around-the-clock support
  • Monitor usage and optimize the environment
  • Make strategic recommendations as the market changes

Along the way, those organizations can scale up and down as necessary, paying only for what they need. They also gain flexibility when it comes to device types, apps, and management because their MaaS provider handles the support for the range of mobile solutions. And, of course, they transform their mobile infrastructure and its management from a capital expense into a consistent operational one.

Organizations in highly regulated industries and areas, such as financial services and government, may not be able to benefit from MaaS because many are required to maintain complete control of their assets. This may change over time, as MaaS proceeds along the security continuum.

Many others, however, are taking advantage of mobility advancements and even using them as competitive differentiators, thanks to the insights that their MaaS providers offer. Not all MaaS providers are created equal, so make sure you find the right one for you. Many have skills in a particular area (mobile support, mobile app development, etc.), but very few reach across the entire mobile lifecycle to help with everything from planning to business intelligence and analytics.

Read more about MaaS and how Enterprise Mobile can help you get the greatest value out of mobility.

 

 


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.