The increasing use of mobile devices is claiming an increase in the share of enterprise IT spending, as indicated by Gartner, which recently revised its IT spending (upwards) in its Forecast Alert: IT Spending, Worldwide 3Q14 Update report.
Managing enterprise mobility is increasingly critical to operations of an enterprise but it in itself is typically not a key business differentiator. It is important to do well, but it is not a core competency for an enterprise. This makes it a good candidate for the outsourced approach. Outsourced Managed Mobility Services (MMS) can offer economies of scale that reduce the cost of mobility management and ease some of the growing pressure on IT leaders. MMS can also free enterprises to focus more on core functions, which results in greater value creation. Below are some specific characteristics of enterprise mobility management services to consider.
- Any time a new technology comes on the scene, the number of individuals available with deep expertise is very limited. This increases the difficulty of building your own internal team of experts. Building a team from scratch often comes at a higher cost for the enterprise than outsourcing. It is estimated that the per-device cost incurred for in-house mobility management is about 40 percent higher than that for managed services.
- If, by an incredible stroke of luck, you are able to assemble a team that can master dozens of operating systems, platforms and management systems, can you use your team efficiently? If you’re supporting just a few thousand users and devices, you may be paying for expert knowledge and a support infrastructure that’s only being used a fraction of the time. Managed service providers, with established service centers, have the systems in place and volume of activity to maximize the utilization of everyone on the team—no waste makes for a lower management cost per device.
- Most enterprises already have thousands of employees using their own smart devices to access corporate email, networks, data and applications, whether they’re managed or not. Building in-depth knowledge of all of these hardware and management tools, including devices, OSes and MDM variations, is beyond most IT department capabilities. On top of that, there are dozens of solutions available for managing devices, mobile apps, telecom expenses, app stores and more. And all of these systems are being introduced and upgraded at an incredible pace. Engaging a managed service provider with a dedicated staff of experts whose mission is to stay on top of this diversity of systems could have real advantages.
- When enterprises have operations and employees spread all over the globe, building business support for their devices—including multi-language support—can be extremely challenging and costly. However, a fully staffed mobile service center can handle the load more efficiently in combination with other clients. Once again, scale makes a difference.
- Offering a 24x7x365 support team with adequate breadth and depth of knowledge is a tall order for most retail organizations. A well-established service provider should offer this coverage as a matter of course. This is another area where scale makes a difference.
- Cyclical and unplanned changes in devices, OSes, and related technologies – how do you build an agile, right-sized team? What about provisioning and deployment requirements for mobile devices? A managed service provider can enable you to keep up with fluctuations in your business’ and users’ needs.
Selecting an Enterprise Managed Mobility Service Provider
Let us say that you do concur with the benefits of MMS laid out above are ready to move forward. Now you have to tackle the task of selecting a provider that will meet your current and future needs. To help you clarify the merits of various services, here are a few questions to ask prospective providers:
1. Who is actually providing the service?
The global coverage and expertise that some managed service providers claim, comes only through partnership with other service providers. For a more seamless experience, and to ensure that your users, devices and infrastructure are being managed well, it’s best to find a service provider with the bench strength to support your company’s needs organically.
2. Does the service provider have the expertise you need?
Rather than relying on the provider’s glossy literature, talk with your MDM vendor to find out what kind of relationship they have with the managed service provider. Do they have the breadth of capability to keep up with your growth? Do they just manage devices, or can they take care of the whole mobile device life cycle: procuring, provisioning, kitting, staging, refresh and warranty, break-fix? Can they provide a higher level of service for VIPs? A few managed service providers actually build and manage mobile application solutions as well as offer managed mobility services. If you need to field and manage mobile applications, you’ll want to consider the advantages of integrated management and security for apps as well as devices.
3. Is the provider a good long-term fit?
Perhaps the MMS provider can meet your current needs, but what about future growth? Then there are mergers and acquisitions? Does the service provider have the ability to support you on a global scale? Are they well-versed in the legal, security, privacy and governance requirements that vary from country to country? This is especially important if you’re supporting BYOD users.
4. What have they done to guarantee service delivery excellence?
To ensure that service and security are maintained at the highest levels, seasoned service providers will have invested the time and resources to implement stringent quality controls and processes. Look for key quality measures like ISO certifications and other well-recognized industry standards.
5. How do their Service Level Agreements compare to their service?
Ask to review your managed service provider’s existing SLAs, and ask to review performance records. Do they meet or exceed their SLAs, or do they fall behind?
Weighing the Options
Data reveals that enterprise mobility is growing quickly and has become a top concern and priority at the C-level. The rate of growth and change in the mobile environment must be considered when determining whether it is best for your retail enterprise to provide mobility services in-house or to outsource that function. As noted above, managing mobility services in-house is often much more expensive, and it may prove to be a distraction from your core business.
For those who decide that outsourcing this function is a good option for their enterprise, it’s important to thoroughly research MMS providers to ensure the best fit, both now and in the future. Find out if the provider has the expertise and capabilities to deliver all needed support, and in alignment with their Service Level Agreements.
See what one company Rollins, an Atlanta-based company that provides pest control services through 10 subsidiaries, including Orkin, decided to do with managing their mobile devices which was published in CIO magazine.
If you wish to read more about this topic, check out our whitepaper on “Managed Mobility Services: Are They Right for You? Or feel free to contact us.
– Sam Ganga, Executive Vice President, Commercial Division, DMI