Enterprise mobility is increasingly challenging to manage due to range of hardware/service options, lack of distinction between personal and
corporate usage and increasing compliance and security risks.
Tightening up the management of mobile devices flowing into the hands of enterprises and their legions of mobile workforce employees has become a fundamental business issue for large and small companies alike.
And it goes beyond simple numbers. Enterprises also need to manage a veritable smorgasbord of mobile devices – from handsets to smartphones to laptops. They also must secure the growing volumes of valuable data employees are storing on their devices. Some experts maintain that it is not only a growing concern, but absolutely essential to an enterprise’s management policy.
Last year, business use of Wi-Fi hotspots doubled. Likewise, the uptake of 3G mobile broadband is on the rise, according to a recent iPass Mobile Index report. These contribute to the need for strong device management policies.
“The device market is very fragmented, with a complex roadmap, and enterprises have thousands of devices. So finding a common management solution across all of those is difficult,” says Matt Bancroft, chief marketing officer for mFormation Technologies, a provider of device management solutions.
Bancroft cites a number of key concerns that are complicating device management within enterprises.
“First, the mobile device market is extremely diverse and technologies are very fragmented, and need to be supported in closed networks,” he says.
“Wireless networks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and designed to deploy data services as well as voice. Finally, there’s the pull factor, increasing demand by sophisticated data users.”
And it’s one thing when the device is working in the enterprise environment, and another thing when it leaves the friendly confines of the office. An entirely new set of issues arises.
“IT departments will say they have great networks, with good visibility and (they) can fix problems with clear policies and encryption,” Bancroft says. “That’s taken for granted. But when a device moves out of the enterprise environment, none of it really works any more, and there’s confidential data, passwords to corporate data on devices being carried around with no ability by IT to know if it’s stolen. That’s a big problem.”
The risk and liability associated with managing devices is forcing enterprises to come to grips with the value of managing the wide array of devices out there.
“Our experience on the operator side suggests it’s an enterprise mobile device management issue. Most definitely, enterprises want to get a handle on this. But there’s a difference between large and small- to mid-size enterprises to manage security through the IT department,” says David Ginsburg, vice president of marketing and product management for Innopath, a provider of mobile device management solutions.
DIVERSITY OF NEEDS
“At smaller companies, it’s hit or miss, while the big enterprises are asking what operators can do to manage the mobile devices,” says Ginsburg.
The company cites a recent IDC report that found more than 300 million mobile device management-enabled handsets shipped in 2007, increasing to nearly 1 billion by 2011.
Yet, with this many devices flooding the marketplace, there are inevitable hurdles.
“Operators have done a pretty good job of identifying what they need in mobile device management, but not a complete solution. With the flood of new devices, we can build on what we’ve learned from scalability in the enterprise space. Now, operators want something more complete,” Ginsburg says.
But first, he admits, the enterprise sector must get clear on its mobile device intentions. Operators are acknowledging and understanding that enterprises want and need help in managing their mobile devices. “But we have to evolve this in 2008 and in a cost-effective way,” he says.
The next step in the device management space is getting a grip on the complexities of devices.
“Device management is just emerging, with lots of different variables. From an enterprise perspective, it’s very fragmented. One way of device management is to offer enterprises the ability to back up everything on the phone, including license agreements, and the ability to delete everything over-the-air to be sure their last phone is scrubbed clean. That’s growing in popularity,” says Mike Mulica, CEO of FusionOne, a device management company providing backup and restoration software to enterprises.
There are also some growing challenges, he notes. “There are lots of handsets and complexities, but consumers are willing to pay for the software if it will help productivity. We found the value to be $2 a month per subscriber if they lost their phone and needed to replace it,” Mulica says.
The value of managing the host of mobile devices is expected to grow as well. Says Bancroft: “Employees spend more time mobile and want to be productive outside their offices. That adds to the device management issue, and most enterprises are trying to figure out the right way to make information accessible and cost-effective. Most mobile devices are owned by employees and are connected to different services, so fixing those problems can be expensive if not managed.”
And if they aren’t? “Our survey showed 65% of CIOs said they would change to an operator that offered a comprehensive mobile device management service. But a strategy is needed within the organization detailing who it wants to get mobilized,” concludes Bancroft.
|Orange Launches Enterprise Suite in U.S.|
“The enterprise mobility market today is highly fragmented, with companies struggling to assemble the right combination of mobility management tools in order to leverage the substantial investment they have made in mobile capabilities,” said Eric Paulak, managing vice president, Gartner Research.
“Corporations need to take a hard look at all of their mobility costs, and start focusing on how their mobility solutions address end-user productivity which provides greater business value,” he says.
As a step in the right direction, Orange Business Services last month launched Mobile Office, a suite of enterprise mobility management tools. The suite focuses on the enterprise end-user and and is one of the first integrated PC and PDA offerings available on the market.
Mobile Office makes it easier and more efficient for the enterprise end user as well as the IT department. End users often have to integrate all of the various components of communication equipment to have them work together. The suite provides workers with a fully managed and integrated mobility solution that gives them remote access services, corporate applications and the right level of security, all supported by a local help desk.
For IT organizations, they often don’t have the right tools to manage mobile devices, control costs and ensure security compliance.The suite’s integrated mobility management tools help to reduce costs, improve compliance and minimize risk exposure. Mobile Office offers a complete mobile management ecosystem – infrastructure, services and device management – throughout the end-user utilization lifecycle.
According to Diana Leonard, senior vice president of the Americas, Orange Business Services, “Other service providers offer only pieces of the mobile enterprise equation … Mobile Office delivers a level of innovation and integrated service that redefines the landscape of the U.S. mobile enterprise market.”
Source: Where’s the Phone?, By Craig Kuhl, WirelessWeek - April 01, 2008, CTIA SPECIAL EDITION - APRIL 2, 2008