When considering changes to the mobile environment, most enterprises only consider top-line financial costs in the decision making process; support costs are often misunderstood or overlooked. This post serves to highlight key trends in the mobile management industry while exploring cost considerations and implications of each.
Trend: Data Pool Optimization
If you still have your employees on individual rate plans, you are almost definitely spending money unnecessarily. Combining your employees’ data usage into a pooled data plan is the first step in stopping that bleed.
From there, save even further by identifying your highest data users, taking them out of the common pool, and grouping them together in a separate plan.
Trend: Internet of Things (IoT)
Money Saver/Money Waster
More and more businesses are jumping on the IoT bandwagon, but is it helping their business succeed when all of the risks and costs are accounted for? The answer is that it depends.
If you can avoid the most common security mistakes in the IoT rush, you have a chance for this to be a money saver and potentially identify a new revenue stream.
If your business isn’t prepared to take on those complexities, put your dollars elsewhere, because it isn’t worth the risk of a security catastrophe. Security in a wired world is tricky for any business, small or large. Adding IoT to the mix brings with it its own set of security considerations, many of them brand new and requiring a different set of skills.
Trend: The International Roaming Day Pass/Travel Pass
Money Saver/Money Waster
Carriers have begun to make the burden of roaming charges easier to bear with "day pass" or “travel pass” programs. For anyone with the potential to travel, it provides the ability for them to roam in a country at a flat fee per day.
But be warned: If you take advantage of these programs, do so strategically, or you will be leaving money on the table.
Pro: With a day pass, you know exactly what you’ll pay, so it removes potential for bill shock from typically exorbitant roaming rates based on data usage.
Con: If someone is going to be in an international location for a long period of time, a daily fee this high is likely not worth it.
The takeaway: Don't be lulled into a false sense of security around these programs. A mobile management service can analyze your international roaming scenarios quickly and efficiently and devise a plan based on your needs to give your organization the best bang for its buck.
Trend: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
BYOD has become standard practice for many enterprises. Employees no longer have to carry additional devices to access and perform work-related tasks on a mobile device, and they get to use a device model and service provider of their choosing.
From an enterprise standpoint, driving BYOD adoption is the perception that this approach significantly reduces the cost and management effort for enterprise mobility. Yet reductions in cost, time, and effort are not always realized.
A majority of BYOD environments continue to provide some level of support for these devices. At a minimum, the company is typically supporting applications such as email and calendaring, requiring valuable internal resources to meet service and support requirements.
But companies don’t always realize how much effort and resourcing it requires to maintain BYOD. If employees are reimbursed for mobile business usage as part of a BYOD initiative, organizations are still faced with the tedious, time-consuming tasks involved with processing monthly expense reports and providing financial reimbursements. Within a BYOD strategy, these types of administrative activities are where enterprises most often severely underestimate the cost and effort necessary to satisfy requirements.
On the flip side of that is the additional time it takes the individual employee to manage administrative tasks for their own devices (and on company time) that otherwise would have been taken on by an IT team—and likely more efficiently.
In addition, enterprises can be inundated with large volumes of support requests they had not encountered in the past, from discrepancies in reimbursement amounts received to inquiries regarding delays in payments. Enterprises must be fully prepared to address these issues in a BYOD environment from both financial and operational standpoints.
BYOD does not mean the management of a device is “out of sight, out of mind.” It’s simply shifting the burden to an employee who may not manage it well.
Trend: Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) / Mobile Device Management (MDM)
While EMM is now considered a baseline requirement for a good mobile deployment, you need to look beyond the security it can bring to make the most out of your investment.
A properly built out EMM environment not only sets up a strong security foundation, but can greatly reduce the time it takes for a user to configure a device and allows helpdesks to troubleshoot more efficiently.
Trend: Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) / Mobile Threat Management (MTM)
The potential for a damaging application to be downloaded onto a device is real. To counter the threat of malware, phishing, or network attacks, enterprises need to be aware of what is in use within their mobile environment, as well as the costs associated with this vital means of risk prevention.
Taking an approach that effectively prevents attacks is a major money saver when compared to the cost of repairing damage done once an attack occurs.
Most modern MTD/MTM platforms also provide a look into data usage at a granular level. This not only provides you with how much data a given device has used, but shows contextually how that data was consumed. By preventing or blocking non-business use data, or simply enacting an acceptable use policy, you can drive down overall data usage, which in turn will drive down costs, as less data will now need to be purchased for the data pool.
Trend: Growing Complexity of Mobile Operating Systems
Today’s mobile operating systems vary considerably in terms of performance, capabilities, and methods of management. The current explosion in the number of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices places enterprises under immense pressure to have sufficient internal resources with the expertise and the skill sets necessary to adequately manage and support these increasingly complex environments.
The increase in employee-owned devices entering the workplace bears some responsibility for this expansion of operating system support. Device and operating system variation in the enterprise mobile environment has complicated matters for IT and telecommunications managers.
Managing multiple operating systems can quickly increase costs for any organization. Most notably, enterprises require specific resources and expertise to support each of the operating systems; administrators need to ensure the appropriate infrastructure is in place to support each operating system; support staff will need to be available and trained on multiple device types in order to provide adequate support to mobile users.
Costs can quickly spiral out of control if the complete picture of managing multiple operating systems is not fully understood. Stick with a primary platform and build solid procedures around it. Only make a second platform available if there is a business need that drives it. iOS/Apple devices continue to be the leader in this space.
It’s important for organizations to fully evaluate the complete costs of mobility management decisions from financial, operational, and technical perspectives. It may seem a necessary step for businesses to accept and take on the responsibilities surrounding trends in mobile management, but before doing so, they should consider what value each brings to their environment, and at what cost.
Powering MDM within the organization may not be the most productive, cost-effective, or safest approach.
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