Are Managed Services a Viable Answer to Mobile Device Mania in the Enterprise?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • Huge rise in mobile device usage in the enterprise is kick-starting use of telecom expense management (TEM), mobile device management (MDM) and mobile security
  • Current Analysis research shows that most enterprises still patch together solutions from third-party vendors; trust in managed services will take more time

In a recent Current Analysis survey of approximately 600 businesses in the U.S. and Europe, 82% of respondents noted that employee-owned mobile devices are accessing data residing on corporate networks or servers; however, only 60% of the companies explicitly allow this practice. Further, 73% of these businesses are planning to buy tablets for their employees, adding to the smartphone types and OSs already in the mix. Clearly the environment for managing costs, reining in the usage and application types accessed by employees, and centralizing device management and security is becoming very complex.

A variety of ITSPs (e.g. IBM, Accenture, HP, CSC) and operators (e.g. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S., Vodafone, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and BT in Europe) have launched portfolios of managed services to respond to enterprise customers wrestling with the cost and management issues relating to mobility. Their services range from TEM to logistics/procurement to MDM, mobile security and mobile application enablement. Yet in our survey base, 74% of businesses are still patching together security solutions from third-party hardware and software vendors. Only 26% of those businesses viewed carriers (17%) or ITSPs (9%) as likely mobile security providers. Similarly, when it comes to mobile device and application management, only 31% look to external service providers today.

Managed services certainly may make sense for enterprises that are trying to simplify their mobility environment. It’s a lot easier to access different capabilities from within a single integrated management portal, than to buy point solutions from a variety of hardware and software vendors and manage those platforms separately. In addition, managed solutions are generally already multi-carrier today, letting customers view and manage their spending and device estate regardless of how many carriers they are using for mobile connectivity. This is very important for large enterprises and MNCs that tend to spread their spend across multiple operators to optimize pricing for geographically dispersed operations.

In addition to the in-source/outsource issues, decisions relating to the deployment of enterprise mobility solutions are complex; we recommend some basic guidelines:

  • Get input from all stakeholders – mobility deployments have to take into account multiple constituencies with different objectives (e.g. the CIO, CFO, IT manager and the employees themselves).
  • Determine the goals of mobility – productivity, cost savings, collaboration and/or customer response?
  • Balance management and security with end-user experience and usability – a solution that slows down the experience or is bypassed by the end-user is not worth it.
  • Embrace consumerization and device diversity – not only is it impossible to bypass this trend in today’s environment, but the business can gain employee satisfaction as well as cost containment benefits.
  • Include mobility as key component of UC, virtualization and cloud computing initiatives – all of these areas are converging in the enterprise and each is closely aligned with mobile deployment decisions.
  • Integrate mobility with wireline infrastructure, management and security systems – this not only provides investment protection, but also ensures ongoing cost and management synergies.
  • Consider managed services – outsourcing the headaches associated with enterprise mobility to a trusted advisor is a viable alternative and can provide good ROI as well.

What do you think?

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