Mobility has become a strategic business imperative that empowers employees and contributes to efficiency, productivity and profitability. However, while it’s important to embrace mobility, it’s equally important to be sure that your enterprise’s ecosystem has the rock-solid strategies and controls in place to address complexity and costs.
According to Simon Zaccardi, Vice President of Managed Services at the Cannon Group, a sound strategy starts with determining exactly how your enterprise intends to use mobility to enable your business. Best practices in mobile management all begin with addressing that question. Whether your priority is sales, customer service, a more agile and satisfied workforce, or most likely, all of those plus other priorities, it’s critically important to understand mobility’s goal in your specific business.
Mobile applications have become strategic business enablers that are transforming the way people work, as well as transforming the way business is sold and delivered.
According to survey results published in the recent Adobe study, Driving Competitive Advantage with Enterprise Mobile Apps, messaging and collaboration are the most mission-critical mobile apps in enterprise today. The majority of survey respondents also ranked customer service and support apps to be mission critical, with 61 percent saying they’ll still be critical by 2019.
It’s key to understand and prioritize the apps that deliver the greatest value and results for your business.
“These business-critical apps – especially the ones your sales people are using to stream video and audio during customer presentations, and the file sharing and collaborative programs employee teams are running during remote meetings – can consume massive amounts of data,” adds Zaccardi. “And that consumption is going to continue its upward spiral.”
The myriad of data providers and plans on the market make data widely and readily available, in fixed or scalable quantities. Staying abreast of every vendor, each plan offered, pricing structures and terms can be overwhelming. The right choices can make a major positive impact on IT budgets. And sometimes the apparently obvious choice, such as unlimited data, may not be best and ultimately waste hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The bottom line: Mobility apps will have an impact on your data usage – so it’s critical that your network infrastructure (WAN) as well as cellular data plans (employee-expensed or corporate-owned) are right for your business.
“Keeping track of mobile devices with access to your corporate network is more important than ever,” notes a headline in a June 2017 PC online article on mobile device management. “If there’s anything keeping IT managers awake at night, it’s fearing for their data’s safety.”
Control encompasses the whereabouts of the physical device, its performance, usage patterns and data consumption. It includes complete life-cycle support, from ordering, maintaining performance and security and establishing and monitoring policies for devices and their usage. But that’s not all.
“If an employee is using a tablet for business-critical apps and something causes that device to lose its ability to support the apps, the potential loss of revenue is greater than the cost of the monthly plan,” notes Zaccardi. “When addressing control in a mobile strategy, it’s important to think of it in the macro dimension, including the device, its impact on the business, the apps with the data it holds, and the employee’s privacy.”
While security and control in many ways go hand in hand, both need laser focused attention and planning in your mobile strategy.
How to secure the data is every bit as important as securing the device. “It’s one thing to use your phone to check email; it’s quite another to run human resources functions, sales or customer service, where sensitive employee and customer information are involved,” adds Zaccardi.
There are multiple mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application (MAM) software solutions on the market; most are now grouped under the enterprise mobility management (EMM) umbrella, which also include data analytics tending to further complicate decisions of which is best for your business. Be sure that you understand exactly which solutions you are choosing.
And it goes without re-stating: Don’t overlook security — in its entirety — for even a second.
Research reveals contradictory claims regarding whether BYOD is more or less costly for the enterprise – especially considering the issues mentioned earlier about IT managers who are most concerned about keeping company data safe and secure.
“The monetary costs of BYOD to the business depend on its policies around stipends, reimbursements on data plans, roaming charges, overages and other similar factors,” Zaccardi says. “But you also need to consider the business impact of downtime – which can be more concerning than the costs for the device. Since the company has less control in selecting the carrier, device and/or its operating system, there is greater potential for substandard performance of those mission critical applications.
But cost is only one consideration when it comes to BYOD. Control, tracking, security, along with capabilities to shut down and wipe data immediately from a misplaced device is critical. Consider how employees are using those devices and keep in mind that today, mobile phones should be treated as any other end point in your computing strategy.
Getting the devices into employees’ hands when they need them, and keeping them up and running, is imperative and should be explicitly addressed in any mobile strategy. Waiting for repairs, replacements, or an explanation from the carrier as to what may be impeding service, is lost productivity and profitability.
The right resources can handle these logistics and more. A single point of contact for employees to order their mobile devices, get immediate help and submit trouble tickets when something goes wrong are critical elements of a successful mobility program. Productivity and customer experience gains can quickly disappear when mobile devices/ apps are not functioning properly and employees are left to deal directly with their mobile carries for service issues.