As more and more small and midsize businesses (SMBs) face the growing business usage of mobile devices, many find they don’t have the IT resources or capital budget to support it. This post looks at those challenges and explores how business can benefit from outsourcing to a managed mobility services provider.
Mobile device management is creating big workloads and security headaches for IT departments across the globe. The growing use of bring your own device (BYOD) has been challenging for those looking to empower employees while maintaining appropriate security. The challenges include things like: telecom expense management, connectivity management, managing various device types, limiting the risk from stolen devices, limiting the risks from unsanctioned applications, configuring devices over the air, and restoring forgotten passwords. Additionally, even though good BYOD policies can provide cost control and productivity benefits, they have the potential to introduce even more diversity that requires rigorous security and data management on those devices.
But this is not the only mobility challenge companies face today. The true power of business mobility comes from a growing portfolio of mobile business apps that provide instant access to real-time data for decision making and capturing information in the field. All these apps require deployment and maintenance on the many devices used in the workplace. This kind of mobility environment requires a huge up-front investment in technology, training, and support.
The good news is you don’t have to suffer under the weight of this burden. There is a better way for your small or midsize business to manage business mobility; it’s called Managed Mobility Services or MMS. MMS is a cloud-based solution delivered by a carrier or solutions provider whose service offering is based on a robust mobility management platform. MMS service providers include mobile network operators, telecom expense managers, system integrators, and dedicated MMS providers.
MMS is ideal for small and midsize businesses that want faster time to value without the cost and risks of implementing and maintaining a mobility infrastructure and staff capable of supporting the business. But picking the right MMS solution is critical. Pick the wrong one and you can be stuck with limitations as your mobile needs grow. Here are some criteria to consider when picking a service:
- Does it provide a complete mobility management platform from a global software vendor?
- Does it include a device and application management solution to manage all mobile devices and applications?
- Does the application management software provide extensive capabilities such as group policy-based app management, “zero touch” app configuration and features like automated and remote updates, a self-service application portal, and certificate management for single sign-on to back-end data systems?
- Are there device agnostic “off-the-shelf” mobile apps that you can rapidly deploy?
- Does the service include a mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) for building enterprise-grade, device-agnostic mobile applications?
- Does the software provide advanced data synchronization to enable mobile apps to connect to any back-end database?
Picking the right service provider matters too. Providers differ in what they offer for security and infrastructure management, service and SLA management, and reporting. For example Verizon offers a cloud based managed mobility service built around the managing the entire lifecycle of smart phones and tablets. The service provides cross-company wireless spend reporting, defines, enforces, and maintains strategic mobile policies, secures and manages Google Android and Apple iOS devices. If needed they can design, develop and deploy applications, and even verify mandatory applications are adopted by the appropriate users. Other providers offer similar, but not all, services. So make sure you have a clear set of objectives before shopping.
Does all this sound like more than what you need? You may want to consider starting simple with a cloud-based mobile device management service. Smaller providers like Systech Integrators are taking advantage of low cost IT infrastructure (like Amazon Web Services) allowing them to offer the same on-premise enterprise mobile device management solution that larger enterprises use only in the Cloud with subscription based pricing. This enables employees to use the device they want at work, while enabling IT to quickly and cost-effectively provision infrastructure with no up-front capital investment.
Mobilizing your business may not be as challenging as you might think. An MMS can help you rapidly mobilize the business without complexity and high cost. Together with efficient app management, a life-cycle approach to device management and more effective mobile expense management you can significantly reduce long-term operational costs.