Managed Mobility Services: What to watch for in 2017—and how to respond by

By: Marco NielsenVice President, Managed Mobility Services, Stratix Corporation

In my last post, I offered my perspective of mobile technology trends that will impact the business world in 2017.  In this post, I’m narrowing the focus to managed mobility services (MMS):  What should you watch for this year, and more importantly, what actions should you take to keep pace with new MMS developments?

 

Companies seek alternatives to BYOD.

What to watch for:

  • In a BYOD implementation, an enterprise has to weigh potential productivity benefits against BYODs’ higher vulnerability to security threats. Many companies don’t like the tradeoff. Increasingly, companies will standardize on Choose-Your-Own-Device (CYOD) programs over BYOD. IDC predicts that by 2019, “85% of unregulated organizations will offer a CYOD program of eligible employees as their default policy.” By simplifying the purchase, deployment and management of devices used for business, CYOD will lessen costs, streamline support and provide better security.
  • Another option that’s on the upswing: Corporate-Owned, Personal-Enabled (COPE) devices. COPE appeals to companies with strong needs around line-of-business applications that directly drive business revenue. These critical devices usually require more support and services to ensure functionality, up-time, and long-term usage.

How to respond: Choose a provider that has deep experience in CYOD and COPE solutions. You’ll want a security assessment, plus help in navigating the various solutions according to the requirements of your security posture.

 

Mobility-as-a-Service contracts gain favor.

What to watch for: As companies mature into their usage of mobility, many are moving from experimental point solutions, to building a “mobile first” culture closely integrated with their business processes. With more emphasis on long-term planning, forward-looking companies find they can leverage hardware, software and services in mobility-as-a-service contracts. These multi-year agreements can reduce costs and ensure proper implementation, support and refresh cycles.

How to respond: Talk to your suppliers about their mobility-as-a-service offerings. Find out how they work at all levels of the mobile ecosystem, including the OEMs, to provide an effective program for procurement, device management, security, and user support.

 

Mobile security becomes more manageable.

What to watch for: As attacks on mobile devices continue to grow and enterprise security managers cope with escalating risks, various mobile security solutions are slowly gaining traction. Meanwhile, according to RCR Wireless News, there is increased cooperation between hardware, carrier and security companies, and this could greatly impact how mobile threats are detected.

How to respond: Look for providers with expertise in implementing mobile security best practices, such as encrypted communications, strong authentication, special gateways for mobile traffic, and separation of work and personal data. The first step is to understand your risk assessment, and where you should look for solutions to lower that risk. There are now several solutions for various risks, so it’s important to look beyond just the OEM and OS solution stack.

 

Application Management gets tougher.

What to watch for: As mobility becomes more prevalent in business and volume increases, managing mobile applications becomes increasingly difficult. The tasks of deployment, updating, and support take up resources and increase costs.

How to respond: Choose a provider that knows mobility and can help you maximize the usability, productivity and business revenue impact of the applications you use. The provider should also help you implement the right combination of app-level and device-level approaches to mobile app management for different situations.

 

UEM extends EMM cost savings to traditional and new endpoints.

What to watch for: Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions have evolved into Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) with additional content, application and security functionality.

I believe the market is moving to a new evolution called Unified Endpoint Management (UEM).  It will help IT to deliver policies and support across all types of endpoints and devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even newer IoT technologies. The same standards and services could work in sync across all end-point devices.

UEM could equip IT to achieve significant time and cost savings in the management of today’s endpoint diversity. IT will now be able to manage all devices through their entire lifecycle in the same way, with the one central platform.

How to respond: Some UEM capabilities may be included in the EMM software suite you are evaluating or using today, with more perhaps in the vendor’s roadmap. Closely examine claims of “IoT, Windows, Mac and mobile support.” Make sure you’re getting support for your future business needs and work closely with your end-users to understand their long-term requirements.

 

2017 has the potential to become a year of major progress in your organization’s journey to a mature “mobile first” mindset.  To accelerate the journey, work closely with partners adept in all the nuances of getting maximum returns from your mobility investments.  Also, by having a close relationship with your end-user community, you might be surprised to understand where their requirements will take your service needs and planning.

Mobile Center of Excellence

No Longer Optional in the Digital Era

by Marketing, Stratix Corporation

Employees, customers and partners continue to demand convenience and innovation in mobility, and many of the largest companies have limited resources dedicated to mobile.  The small group responsible are left trying to devise mobile strategies that involve, building and maintaining the company’s mobile apps, handling employee issues around Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and distributing or integrating software apps that coworkers need to do their jobs.

“Though many forward-thinking companies exist and have already successfully embraced enterprise mobility, the great majority have still not done so,” Tony Rizzo of Blue Hill Research wrote. “The key problem is that no business can simply rush in and hope to catch up with short-term mobile fixes or half-baked mobile solutions.”

Using Mobile Technology as a Catalyst for Digital Transformation

Corporate executives are facing a growing sense of urgency on how to best integrate a “mobile first” mindset with their digital transformation initiatives.  Not only do they want to gain control of the mobile ecosystem and visibility into what’s happening, but also they want to apply the power of mobility to achieving business goals.

As organizations strive to establish best practices for managing mobilization, many are finding success by establishing a Mobile Center of Excellence (MCoE).  This is a group of people within an enterprise, often augmented with external resources, who coordinate mobile efforts. Ideally, the group should consist of IT mobility experts and stakeholders in business units.

It’s All About Mobile Governance and Collaboration

Mobility Centers of Excellence come in all shapes and sizes.  Their roles typically encompass security, governance, policies, app development, device management, and user support.

Rizzo noted that many companies are “wholly unprepared to move ahead with enterprise-wide mobility, and they often ask what the best way to do so is –and if creating a mobile center of excellence makes sense. The short answer to MCoE is yes. The somewhat longer answer is, yes, but you better make sure you do it right and actually give the MCoE real influence.”

That’s not easy to accomplish. Mobility is a complex, varied, and rapidly evolving landscape. You and your associates can’t put other priorities on hold while you navigate a minefield of obstacles to get your MCoE defined, approved, funded, operational, and effectively supporting business units.

Given all this, don’t let all the issues surrounding mobility deter you from building an enterprise MCoE. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an external trusted partner who has experience and success with large mobile deployments.  Also, don’t try to ‘boil the ocean’ at the outset. MCoE development doesn’t have to be grandiose in its structure or resources – it can grow along with your business maturity in managing mobility.

Starting off, focus on simplicity.  Make sure the executive team sees the value and will champion the MCoE’s launch and growth.

Next steps:

  1. In “Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid to Maximize Success with Your MCOE,” Gartner analysts Leif-Olof Wallin and Bryan Taylor advised writing a charter that articulates “the group’s role to steer, educate, coach and drive innovation.”
  2. Establish a budget sufficient for strategic planning, training, development, integration, day-to-day operations, and 24/7 user support.
  3. Recruit and form a cross-functional enterprise team of IT and line-of-business people who can devote at least 25% of their time to the MCoE.

And finally, consider a managed mobile services provider as a trusted partner – getting advice from experts who have built and managed a MCoE.  A managed services approach offers new opportunities for the business to focus on its core competencies, fill needed skill gaps and be more responsive to customer needs.

The MCoE is the best approach for enterprises whose business success relies on always-on, virtually connected employees, partners and customers. Done right, the processes and standards set by the business delivers quicker time-to-value as mobility becomes the default platform of the future.

 

Webinar: Enterprise Mobility Reaches New Heights with Southwest Airlines

When Southwest Airlines decided to invest in a recent deployment of more than 14,000 iPad Minis to its flight attendants, they turned to a managed mobile services partner to achieve two of the company’s primary objectives: ROI and focus on customer service.

This webinar shares valuable insights and best practices for a successful enterprise mobile rollout such as:

  • The importance of selecting the right device for the right use case
  • How to align with Corporate governance – including security and policies
  • What you need to think about once your solution has been deployed

Did you miss the live session? Sign up below to receive a link to recorded presentation!

 

Simplifying the Complexity of Enterprise Mobility

By: Heather Standrod, Marketing & Creative Director, Stratix Corporation

How are mobile devices and apps being used in your organization?  How many are unauthorized? Who’s using them? Are their uses relevant to their jobs?  What costs are being incurred?

IT and line-of-business managers typically have a hard time getting answers to these (and many other) mobility questions, often because rogue users are bringing unknown mobile devices and applications into enterprise networks. In my experience, the larger the enterprise, the more difficult it becomes to gain full visibility into the mobility arena.

Enterprise mobility encompasses much more than just managing a myriad of devices.  In a recent Enterprise AppsTech story, editor James Bourne points out that managing mobile apps, network access, carrier expenses, and identity verification should also be included in an end-to-end enterprise mobility solution.

By relying on a Mobility-as-a-Service provider, he adds, you can “take all the complexity out of it, putting it all safely in the hands of a third party specialist … .”

Whether to insource or outsource enterprise mobility, of course, is a business decision involving corporate goals, resource utilization, operating expenses, capital expenditures, and many other factors. A recent article, “Maximize your business’ mobile budget by understanding TCO”, highlights the importance of managing Opex and Capex components of the total cost of ownership.

Once enterprise executives are fully behind a mobility strategy that supports enterprise goals, the heavy lifting for maximizing mobility’s promise has been done. Remaining challenges—implementing the strategy and managing the mobile ecosystem—are mostly tactical:

  • Provisioning
  • Bring-your-own device policies
  • 24/7/365 user support
  • Device repair
  • Asset management (from procurement to disposition)
  • Access management
  • Application development, integration and deployment

Because these tactical tasks are time-consuming and skill-specific, they are ideally suited for outsourcing. Stratix CEO Gina Gallo makes the case succinctly in a blog post:  Mobility-as-a-Service enables you to “remove the ‘herding cats’ burden of trying to stay current with a fluid and complex mobile ecosystem, but you don’t lose control. In fact, you gain control and agility by having a single point of contact for your entire mobile infrastructure, regardless of the devices’ geography or business-unit home.”

That’s a powerful benefit for resource-strapped IT departments. Understandably, CIOs want to focus IT resources on mission-critical challenges.  Cloud computing, big data, network optimization, and security are among their top concerns. By outsourcing many or all of the distracting tasks associated with enterprise mobility, IT can free up staff to be more responsive to these challenges.

Meanwhile, with the mobile ecosystem getting experts’ attention, the organization can expect accelerated dividends from its investment in mobility:  Better customer experiences. Higher productivity from more engaged employees. Lower costs.  Higher visibility into mobility usage.  And greater enterprise agility.

Whether you call this type of outsourcing MaaS (Mobility as a Service) or MMS (Managed Mobility Services), the key is to use a reputable provider.  Recently, CIO Magazine named Stratix as one of the “20 most promising enterprise mobility solution providers” for 2016.  “Stratix stands apart because of    its mobile specialization, industry experience, and long term relationships with customers and business partners,” the publication stated.

Has your company articulated its enterprise mobility strategy?  Stratix can help you define realistic goals and the best mix of mobility services for your organization.

 

Enterprise Mobility: An IT Problem Or a C-Suite Opportunity?

By: Heather Standrod, Marketing and Creative Director, Stratix Corporation

Today, any enterprise can capitalize on mobile devices to trigger a host of benefits, including cost savings with productivity improvements, faster speed to market, enhanced customer experiences and new revenue streams. To tap mobility’s benefits, however, a business must harness the challenges of creating a mobile-enabled culture.

A 2015 enterprise mobility survey by Citrix found that the number of devices managed by respondents increased 72% from 2014 to 2015. This and other survey findings, Citrix reported, “highlight the evolving nature of work and emphasize the need for organizations to both empower and manage employee mobility in order to meet security, agility and productivity demands.”

Managing the proliferation of mobile devices accessing corporate information begins with creating a mobile enterprise strategy and aligning it with a business strategy. This strategy, which is essential to keeping up with vast transformations underway in technology and consumer behavior, needs to be initiated at top executive levels.

Even with a sound strategy in place, the enterprise will need to deal with the day-to-day management of the mobile infrastructure. According to IDC, however, most enterprises lack the technology, staffing and processes to turn the mobility megatrend into competitive advantages.  IDC analysts believe that third-party services are crucial for effectively implementing a mobile enterprise strategy.

Lacking expertise in managing a diverse mobile ecosystem, companies are increasingly turning to managed mobility services providers. MMS elevates the lifecycle management of mobile devices to a strategic level that encompasses their integration with business goals.

Gartner defines managed mobility services as “the IT and process services provided by an external service provider that are required to plan, procure, provision, activate, manage and support mobile devices, network services, management systems, mobile applications and application stores.”

These issues typically land on IT’s plate. But mobile’s complexity transcends the organization chart—not just IT. The complexity begins with employees seeking fast, easy access to information.  Line-of-business managers feel the pressure, too, as they try to keep up with corporate mandates for improved productivity, lower costs, and better customer experiences. These pressures can easily mushroom into security risks, insufficient bandwidth, redundant processes, and rogue applications unknown to IT.

The managed mobility services approach provides an arsenal of capabilities to help the enterprise tackle mobility issues, without diverting its focus on core competencies. For starters, managed mobility services gives businesses a straight-forward way to deal with all the “plumbing” involved in deploying, provisioning and managing the mobile infrastructure. In addition, some managed mobility service providers offer related services, such as:

  • defining and designing the mobile environment
  • training employees and providing them solutions configured to individual needs
  • operating a 24×7 mobile help center to resolve user problems—including device repair
  • monitoring key performance indicators on device types, carriers, applications, business usage, etc.

Managed mobility services experts can help with all of these tasks and more.

There’s no question that the mobility infrastructure will keep growing in size and complexity. As any organization adapts to rapidly changing market and technology landscapes, the C-suite will find themselves increasingly drawn into mobility-related issues.  That’s why forward-thinking enterprise executives are seeking ways to transform mobility’s challenges into business opportunities.

For more insights into what MMS is all about, check out a new Stratix white paper, “Managed Mobile Services: Your place at the head table is ready.”

Mobility Services: 3 Must-Have Services Every Organization Needs

By Heather Standrod, Marketing and Creative Director, Stratix Corporation

It’s hard to believe, but for more than 20 years enterprise businesses have leveraged mobile devices as a competitive advantage to increase worker productivity, enhance operational efficiencies and improve overall customer satisfaction. In the past, product life cycles, reliability, device security, operating system stability, and other attributes were dictated by enterprise customers. Today, consumers are driving the mobility roadmap. While this has resulted in a wider variety of device choices, they often do not meet the needs (lifecycle, reliability….) of multi-year enterprise deployments.

Mobility is no longer a competitive advantage, it’s table stakes, and enterprise customers are challenged to manage the growing investment of mobile assets as the underlying technology is changing faster than they can deploy a single project. This challenge has highlighted the need for mobile managed services, and enterprises realize they need these services to select, deploy, maintain and manage their mobile devices to achieve the intended benefits of mobility, as opposed to becoming a liability. You want to be able to turn on and keep on your mobile solution.

There are three “must-have” services that every organization should include in its mobility program.

1. Mobile Planning and Deployment

Engage and activate employee involvement with a mobile concierge, someone to help design and define the mobile environment. Employees want mobile to work “out of the box”, configured with their applications, equipped with accessories and connected to both the corporate and carrier network.

2. Mobile Operation Center

What happens when a mobile device doesn’t work? Every enterprise mobile program needs access to 24 x 7 mobile experts. Having remote diagnostics to identify the problem, activate a resolution, and if needed, provide access to a spare pool inventory is essential. Also, your mobile service provider should routinely administer software updates to your mobile to avoid unexpected disruptions. A seamless experience is a must!

3. Mobile Monitoring and Management

Even when everything is working you need visibility to your assets. Where are they located? How are they performing? Are there trends to report? A mobile managed service provider delivers a comprehensive dashboard, a single pane glass for viewing all things mobile at your fingertips. It will enable you to:

  • Track devices through the entire life cycle. From procurement to end of life, providing complete visibility into deployed assets.
  • Review real-time data regarding repair frequency and status, call center activity and resolution. Understand how your mobile devices and mobile users are performing.
  • Define and monitor key performance indicators: mobile device population, usage, location, up-time, spare pool status, support desk and repair service level agreements, etc.
  • Manage app distribution, configuration, licensing, certification and security status.

We can help you turn on and keep on your mobile solution. A mobile deployment goes well beyond device selection and success is increasingly determined by having the right services available. Stratix has years of experience deploying enterprise mobility and can provide the mobile management services that you need to maximize performance. For more information call 1-800-883-8300 or visit us at www.stratixcorp.com.

Long live MMS!

By: Gina Gallo, President and CEO, Stratix Corporation

Finally, the tech world is validating a perspective on corporate competency that Stratix has been articulating for years.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant(tm) for Managed Mobile Services (MMS) is a validation that managing the formidable complexity of today’s mobile services is a critical task for enterprises — and one that’s frequently outsourced to trusted providers. This endorses the reality we see every day.

In implementing our comprehensive services for clients, we partner with best-in-class suppliers, then consolidate those point solutions to create a competitive end-to-end MMS strategy. Not surprisingly, this simplifies enterprise mobility.

Whatever their line of business, today’s leaders know that their enterprise’s future is increasingly a geographically diverse, mobile one. A smart MMS strategy extends:

Beyond device provisioning. Obtaining and supporting reliable devices is still important, but companies are realizing that their true value is found in the information they carry, their patterns of usage by different constituencies, and their impact on productivity.

Beyond IT. While the CIO is still the facilitator, his or her peers in Marketing, Finance, Distribution, Customer Service, and Human Resources all need a seat at the mobility table — not to mention the data analysts who leverage mobile information to optimize offerings and predict customer behavior.

Beyond Tier One. Stratix has made its name serving the Fortune 500. But the dramatic drop in hardware, software, and access costs has made rich mobile opportunities available to midtier organizations, too. It’s Stratix’s conviction that every company needs a flexible, forward-looking mobility strategy.

Beyond the workforce. Everyone’s mobilized today: Customers, supply-chain partners, contractors, even sensor-equipped vehicles and factories. And they all require the access, responsiveness, and security that comes with a consistent, coherent mobile strategy.

In a series of upcoming blog posts, I’ll be laying out Stratix’s MMS thinking in more detail, particularly how it impacts each of our Four Pillars: Plan, Deploy, Support, and Predict. If you can’t wait, don’t hesitate to contact one of our excellent sales reps!

Don’t forget to follow us on social media so you’ll hear about new postings as soon as they happen! What questions do you have about the MMS landscape? What other topics would you like this blog to cover? Please let me know.