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I came across an interesting article recently (“Mobile Devices Raise IT Labor Costs”, BYTE, July 16, 2012) that discusses the rising costs of managing mobility. The article sites a study that points out some interesting facts, such as:

  • Among companies surveyed, IT labor costs per mobile user related to managing mobile devices have risen from $229 in 2011 to $294 in 2012, and are expected to rise to $339 in 2013.
  • 40% of companies surveyed use Blackberry Enterprise Server as their device management platform. This platform is unscalable to today’s diverse device environment, which means many of those companies will be investing in new management solutions
  • Only 32% of companies that have not adopted a device management solution are planning to do so.

These kinds of statistics can drive any IT manger to despair, especially as the operational advantages of business mobility produce greater demands to mobilize more workers running deeper portfolios of mobile apps. What can the IT guy do other than tear his hair out? Well, there are a couple of things.

First of all, the importance of investing in mobility management technology that will not become obsolete cannot be overstated. But how do you know? Business mobility has evolved faster in recent years than anyone could anticipate. Who would have thought five years ago that Blackberry solutions would be in the trouble they are in today? There is a lesson here. Mobility management solutions that are built for the future are not dependent on any one operating system or device type. They are designed to support any device and operating system. Also, future proof management platforms do not support mobile apps built with one proprietary development language. They support a wide array of common programming languages, even new mobile app technologies like HTML5. So, regarding mobility management solutions and obsolescence, look for solutions that have been around for a long time and have an outstanding track record in supporting a breadth off device types, operating systems, and app development languages.

Secondly, buying and deploying a management platform is not necessarily the most cost effective way to manage your mobility. Some of the best enterprise-grade mobility solutions are now available as fully functional, cloud based solutions in the form of managed mobility services (MMS). This means no up-front platform investment, staff building, and special training is required to implement a world-class solution.

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Although mobility management costs may be rising, it is not inevitable that business mobility will become more expensive. In fact history shows that the incremental cost of a given technical capability declines over time. Investing in a mobility management platform that is truly future proof is the first step in taking control of your own mobility costs.

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