Outsourcing MDM Can Increase Mobility ROI

By  Bobbie Ramsey and Marco Nielsen — July 14, 2011

As mobile devices have gained an increasingly prominent role in corporate computing, IT leaders have come to understand the importance of securing, monitoring, and managing wireless devices. At the same time, they have recognized the potential costs associated with not having an effective strategy to do so.

With limited internal resources and often less in-house expertise to handle enterprise mobility and effectively meet critical security policy requirements, many companies have found that turning to outside experts gives them the resources and knowledge needed to reap the benefits of enterprise mobility. In fact, outsourcing some or all aspects of a mobility initiative can be a cost-effective and highly effective alternative to attaining in-house resources.

Two of the primary requirements for a successful enterprise mobility initiative are achieving visibility into how users are employing mobile devices to access corporate assets and controlling the ways those devices can be used. Because of the diversity of devices deployed in most enterprises, however, and the speed at which the mobility landscape changes, IT typically does not have the knowledge or skills to adequately meet those requirements. 
By outsourcing or leveraging managed services specifically designed for mobile device management (MDM), devices can be monitored in real time, software downloads can be planned and executed remotely, security policies can be implemented through on-device software clients, and end users can turn to technical experts when they experience an issue with their devices.
Companies in nearly every industry have found ways to tap MDM expertise to attain the level of visibility and control they need. For some organizations, all that’s needed is a sound MDM software solution, which they implement and administer themselves. But for many, outside experts are needed to provide the unbiased assessment that helps them select the best solution for their particular requirements, install it in their environment, and provide ongoing administration to ensure the solution delivers. In other words, mobility experts can ensure that the MDM software provides the type of tracking and security capabilities needed to effectively manage a fleet of mobile devices—whether they are corporate- or employee-owned or a combination of the two.
Where to Start
Here are some questions you will want to consider as you determine what you need to do to achieve productivity gains and ROI from the mobile devices your employees use. 

1) Do you know where all of the devices are?
2) Are they working and connected to your corporate network?
3) What is the typical cost of a device out for repair?
4) How often will the software on the mobile devices under my management need to be updated? 
5) How will updates get done?
6) What happens to corporate data if a device is lost or stolen?
7) What does it cost to send a device for repair, particularly if it comes back with the message “no trouble found”?
An MDM solution administered by experienced professionals addresses all these questions. It provides visibility into your mobile devices, which is critical to controlling operational costs and achieving the goals you have set for those devices. Experts can also help scale your solution so that  as tracking your wireless assets grows increasingly complicated (for example, as the pool of users increases or turnover jumps) you won’t pay for support costs on devices that are not in operation. 
Mobility experts who understand both the technical and business requirements for securing and tracking the use of mobile devices can help ensure the success of your project. For example, with the right solution, you can continuously monitor the status and health of your mobility fleet. The right solution can tell you where your devices are, whether they are connected to their network, and if they are performing up to the manufacturer’s specifications. 
Worker productivity can be significantly impacted if devices have to be pulled out of the field for a few days to accommodate periodic software loads. Can you really afford to have those devices out of commission for even a day or two, let alone longer? Mobility experts can help you plan and execute your approved software updates and patches to your business critical applications in a way that streamlines the update process to minimize user downtime.
The data that employees store on your wireless devices is critical to your business, so protecting that data is essential. If a wireless device is lost or stolen in the course of a normal day, you will want to know that that data is secure, or have an easy way to remotely wipe the device. Mobility experts can help you understand how different MDM solutions approach device security and which are best suited for your organization’s security needs.
Outsourcing the support for your mobile devices can also eliminate “no trouble found” issues by applying the expertise needed to accurately diagnose and fix mobile devices so their users will have them when they need them. With this type of service, you need only send in devices that are truly in need of repair. 
These are just some of the ways that mobility managed services can remove from you the burden of selecting, implementing, and administering an MDM solution. Mobile device management through managed services shifts the proactive monitoring and management of all wireless network devices to highly skilled mobility technicians to provide maximum uptime, operational integrity, and system reliability—in turn, lowering IT and operational costs. 
--Bobbie Ramsey is the senior solutions manager of managed services at Intermec Global Solutions and Marco Nielsen is the director of services at Enterprise Mobile


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