Enterprise Mobility Strategy:
3 Things You Need to Consider in 2021
By Kirk Waddell, EVP of Technology, One Source
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and has accentuated technology’s role in keeping employees connected. The remote workforce of today relies heavily on IT teams; overwhelming these departments as upgrades to infrastructure are required to meet the new expectations of stakeholders and employees. With IT teams pressured to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for innovation that keeps organizations operational and competitive, menial tasks relating to mobile devices – such as negotiating phone contracts with carriers and going over thousands of invoices from various locations – gets deprioritized as they eat up precious resources and time. However, leaving these tasks unmanaged will eat away at your budget. Consistent mobile management is essential to prevent overpaying for services and identifying areas of cost savings within the enterprise’s mobile landscape.
The question must be asked…is it worth it for your IT department to put resources and time towards logging into carrier portals to dispute charges, negotiate contracts, and comb through thousands of invoices for each employee phone or device across every location of the organization? Or is it beneficial to extend this responsibility to a third party that can not only provide the manpower to get these tasks done but also the expertise that puts money back into your pocket? If the leading question was any indicator…the answer may be that it is time to explore outsourcing your mobile device management for your organization. Below are 3 things you need to consider to improve your enterprise mobility management strategy and how you can determine if it’s best to outsource those responsibilities:
- BYOD vs. Corporate Owned Devices – The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) vs. corporate-owned devices conversation is foundational to an enterprise mobile strategy. Many organizations have either shifted to BYOD or have considered it. While the simplicity behind the description of a BYOD program can be tempting, at the end of the day what these programs do is put the pressure on the end users, therefore your employees. The employees are expected to source technical support directly from carriers, spending hours of precious time on the phone, and to manage the financial portion of a device, where plan availabilities offered to residential consumers are far more limited than those offered to business consumers at an enterprise level. Because employees cannot take advantage of enterprise-level plans, BYOD actually ends up being more expensive than providing corporate-owned devices where your organization has control of the costs. Although the concept of BYOD might sound like it’s easier to sell to stakeholders, it isn’t necessarily the most cost-effective and efficient option for your organization. Utilizing a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to manage your corporate-owned devices and enterprise mobility offers a user experience that is supportive from a technology perspective, as well as a financial business perspective. An MSP has deep expertise in contract negotiation and management, implementing little-known cost-saving clauses, and right-sizing service plans. Having experts manage these contracts is far more efficient than your employees walking into a carrier’s store to get things sorted out. A strategic MSP partner can bring helpdesk and device management tools and expertise to the table rather than putting that load on your employees. You pay your employees to be excellent at their jobs, not to negotiate carrier contracts around their assets and devices.
- Internal IT Resources – You need to consider if managing your enterprise mobility strategy will be a fundamental focus of your IT resources. If so, the IT team will have to be set up to handle the financial side of devices, combing through thousands of pages of bills. Additionally, technical support infrastructure needs to be set up and available 24/7. However, most IT teams don’t have the structure in place to handle 24/7 support or the manpower to efficiently go through thousands of invoices. When handling mobile management internally, you need to have contingency plans for when people are out of the office or depart from the company; how do you keep providing top-notch support to employees and disputing invoices if the team is shorthanded? At the end of the day, you can mimic the support and expertise that an MSP provides, but many internal IT teams cannot fully recreate that. At the bare minimum, you need to keep the lights on, and an MSP who has the manpower to support employees 24/7 and comb through and dispute hundreds of thousands of invoices can do that more effectively.
- SaaS vs. Consultative Partner – There are differences among what Managed Services Providers offer and you need to think about what your enterprise needs when vetting them. Some MSPs will provide spreadsheets with tons of data on your mobile landscape or implement software tools that compile your data for you, but it’s ultimately up to you to interpret that data and manage your own environment with that information in mind. Other MSP’s not only provide data, but help consultatively to say, “here’s the information and what we are seeing.” These consultative MSPs don’t just give you a log-in to their software tools but go beyond that log-in to give you consultative strategies that are custom-tailored to your organization’s mobile environment. Part of vetting MSPs that can be challenging is finding a partner that is willing to learn about your enterprise’s specific mobile landscape and needs. It’s one thing to know how many iPhone’s an organization has, but it’s another thing to understand the use case behind each iPhone and how that integrates and relates to the business. In the end, data is great, but too much of just data causes analysis paralysis, and just compiling data doesn’t translate to cost savings or support. Having someone who can interpret the data for you and propose solutions that are in line with company goals and needs is something else altogether.
If you’ve made the decision to outsource, how do you ensure success and ROI? Well, it all comes down to duality. You can’t just get aligned at the beginning of the relationship and walk away from it assuming the rewards will be reaped automatically. Ongoing communication needs to be sustained throughout the relationship to realize the benefits. This can be done in several ways such as reoccurring business quarterly review meetings or lower touch weekly email updates. It ultimately depends on your management style, what you are comfortable with and what fits in your schedule. The relationship to be successful must be a PARTNERSHIP with synergistic goals to ensure success on both ends. Communicating regularly after the initial setup to discuss trends, business continuity, and new strategies for projects will ensure you reap the benefits from an MSP and see the impact on your bottom line. The relationship should be so perfectly integrated that your employees outside of IT don’t even realize a third party is being used; the user experience will be seamless.
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