Outsourcing Your Enterprise Mobility Management: Considerations and QuestionsMarch 26, 2015 No Comments
Featured article by Sam Ganga, Executive Vice President, Commercial Division, DMI
Nieslen reports that mobile Web adoption has grown at a rate eight times faster than Web adoption in the 1990s and early 2000s. More than 1.2 billion people are accessing the Web from their mobile devices. This explosion of mobility creates exciting opportunities to serve customers better and more quickly, as well as allow employees greater work flexibility. It also creates a strain in IT resources.
Some organizations have turned to the managed services model to handle their enterprise mobility management. Outsourced Managed Mobility Services (MMS) can reduce the IT strain both in terms of budget and manpower, as well as freeing organizations to focus their energies and finances on core business functions. But is MMS right for all organizations?
Laying the Foundation for Managed Services
Managed service, or outsourced management, is an external service provider that manages and delivers a service to an enterprise, typically under some sort of Service Level Agreement. Managed services are usually provided based on a subscription model, or on key volume or performance metrics—checks processed, calls managed, orders taken—and in the case of enterprise mobility, based on the number of devices managed or users supported.
Managed service carries out needed operations and tend to have a sweet spot within an enterprise. A business can be considered a collection of core and non-core functions. The core functions are central to creating the products and services that a business sells, and make up the primary value that the company offers its customers. The non-core functions are essential to run the business, but they’re not the primary value that the company delivers. To win in a competitive environment, businesses need to manage and execute both core and non-core functions better than their competitors.
That is a simple yet difficult proposition. No company is naturally better at everything. So, there are two choices. Doing everything internally, and learning to do it all better than everyone else is an option. Another option is to focus on core functions while outsourcing non-core functions to specialists. If you choose the right vendors and manage everyone effectively, you could have several outsourced teams of experts doing what they do best, resulting in peak competency and efficiency across all functions.
When deciding what and whether to outsource, consider this grid:
Functions that provide differentiation but are not essential to operations represent strategic partnering opportunities. Functions that are key business differentiators and critical to operations should be kept in-house. Functions that are critical to operations, but provide little or no differentiation, are ideal for outsourcing to a managed service provider, while functions that make little contribution to operational performance and are low in strategic importance should be put on a starvation diet.
Advantages of Outsourced Management
Choosing to outsource certain functions offers advantages to the enterprise:
- Increased business agility: Agility is a hallmark of service providers. They can quickly be added or adjusted in line with changes in business and economic conditions to stay competitive and profitable, while the business stays focused on core capabilities.
- Leveraging new technology resources: The rapid evolution of mobile technology creates useful innovations that can help drive competitive advantage. Enterprises can speed up the adoption of these new technologies by opting for managed services that embrace technological change, rather than acquiring the resources on their own.
- Reduced CapEx/OpEx: Managed services offer budget flexibility in terms of reduced costs on hardware, operations, services, facilities, personnel and training. Internal capabilities are also not overstretched, offering predictability and stability in work and budgets.
- Baked-in technology expertise: Outsourced management provides access to experts who can accomplish the task more efficiently and effectively by having a better and more focused understanding of the underlying technology involved, user pain points, service issues and support needed.
Enterprise Mobility – Ready for the Outsourced Management Model?
Referring again to the outsourcing decision-making grid, it is clear that though managing enterprise mobility is increasingly critical to business operations, it is typically not a key business differentiator. It should be a good candidate for the outsourced approach. Below are some specific characteristics of enterprise mobility management to consider.
- Scant expertise: Whenever new technologies are introduced, the number of individuals with deep expertise is quite limited. This increases the difficulty of building your own internal team of experts. Building a team from scratch often comes at a higher cost for the enterprise than outsourcing. It is estimated that the per-device cost incurred for in-house mobility management is about 40 percent higher than that for managed services.
- Technically complex, quickly changing landscape: Most enterprises already have thousands of employees using their own smart devices to access corporate email, networks, data and applications, whether they’re managed or not. Building in-depth knowledge of all of these hardware and management tools, including devices, OSes and MDM variations, is beyond most IT department capabilities. On top of that, there are dozens of solutions available for managing devices, mobile apps, telecom expenses, app stores and more. And all of these systems are being introduced and upgraded at an incredible pace. Engaging a managed service provider with a dedicated staff of experts whose mission is to stay on top of this diversity of systems could have real advantages.
- International business support:For enterprises that have operations and employees spread all over the globe, building business support for their devices can be extremely challenging and costly. However, a fully staffed mobile service center can handle the load more efficiently in combination with other clients.
- Efficiencies of scale: After creating a team that can master multiple operating systems, platforms and management systems, can you use your team efficiently? If you’re supporting just a few thousand users and devices, you may be paying for expert knowledge and a support infrastructure that’s only being used a fraction of the time. Managed service providers, with established service centers, have the systems in place and volume of activity to maximize the utilization of everyone on the team—no waste makes for a lower management cost per device.
- Full-time support: Many enterprises would be hard-pressed to offer a 24x7x365 support team with adequate breadth and depth of knowledge. A well-established service provider should offer this coverage as a matter of course. This is an area where scale makes a difference.
Getting Answers About Managed Mobility Service Providers
The features and advantages of managed services have been outlined. If this option would be of benefit to your enterprise, the task of finding the service provider that best suits your needs remains. To assist with that task, ask these questions:
1. Can the provider deliver?
There are some outsourced management providers who will promise the moon in terms of expertise and global coverage but can only deliver in partnership with other service providers. For a more seamless experience, and to ensure that your users, devices and infrastructure are being managed well, it’s best to find a service provider with the bench strength to support your company’s needs organically.
2. Do they offer scalability?
The managed service provider may currently be a good fit, but what about future growth? Mergers and acquisitions? Does the service provider have the ability to support you on a global scale? Are they well-versed in the legal, security, privacy and governance requirements that vary from country to country? This is especially important if you’re supporting BYOD users.
3. Does the provider have the expertise you need?
This will take some investigative work. Do they have the breadth of capability to keep up with your growth? Do they just manage devices, or can they take care of the whole mobile device life cycle: procuring, provisioning, kitting, staging, refresh and warranty, break-fix? Can they provide a higher level of service for VIPs? A few managed service providers actually build and manage mobile application solutions as well as offer managed mobility services. If you need to field and manage mobile applications, you’ll want to consider the advantages of integrated management and security for apps as well as devices.
4. Do they meet their Service Level Agreements?
The managed service provider will present you with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to govern your relationship. Ask to review your managed service provider’s existing SLAs, and ask to review performance records. Do they meet or exceed their SLAs, or do they fall behind?
5. What systems are in place to ensure excellent service?
Look for key quality measures like ISO certifications and other well-recognized industry standards. Seasoned service providers will have invested the time and resources to implement stringent quality controls and processes to ensure that service and security are maintained at the highest levels.
To Outsource or Not to Outsource?
With the growing complexity of operating a business, enterprises need to assess their strengths and determine if they are able to manage and execute both core and non-core functions better than competitors, or if their stakeholders would be better served by outsourcing one or more non-core functions in order to focus on differentiators. When it comes to enterprise mobility management, many enterprises stand to gain a competitive advantage by leveraging the depth of expertise and scalability of a managed mobility service. This model can save money and lead to faster delivery of new services. A careful assessment of your organization will help you determine which approach will best meet your unique needs.
Sam Ganga, Executive Vice President, Commercial Division, DMI.
Under Mr. Ganga’s leadership, DMI’s Commercial Division has developed the world’s most comprehensive set of Mobile Enterprise Solutions, including mobile strategy, mobile managed services, mobile app solutions and integrated vertical solutions for retail, financial services and healthcare. The group has more than 500,000 mobile devices under management, and has developed more than 400 mobile applications in the last 12 months. DMI Commercial Division also offers Big Data Insights solutions that provide better insight, for better decisions, and better performance to leading Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining DMI, Ganga was the founder and President of Leverent Consulting, a professional services company that provided technology solutions to commercial and government clients.
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