Making enterprise mobility complete: Why managed mobility services are getting hot

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Managed mobility services are getting hot - and it's about time...

Over the past three months a string of significant announcements focused on providing global organisations with a more complete set of enterprise mobility managed services have raised the profile of mobility outsourcing and it's a great thing.

First a recap: this week, AirWatch announced a global partnership with HP Enterprise Services aimed at providing HP global managed services on the AirWatch platform. The deal extends a previous agreement between HP and AirWatch's parent, VMware. AirWatch and HP will invest in joint mobility innovation centres to bring future releases of AirWatch technology with HP's service wrapper to market more rapidly.

The AirWatch announcement comes hot on the heels of Samsung's extraordinary announcement last week that it intends to form a global enterprise mobility services division, called Samsung 360 Services for Business (see Gearing up for the Enterprise). The new unit will offer multinational companies a range of technical support and help-desk services for hardware and software from Samsung, its partners and its competitors. Both moves follow Apple and IBM's well-publicised exclusive partnership announcement in July.

Managed mobility services encompass device deployment and logistics, expense management and order provisioning, managed Wi-Fi, help desk, consulting and others

What's going on? Clearly industry giants have finally woken up to the opportunity presented by managed services in the global enterprise mobility market. The speed of mobile innovation in enterprises continues to accelerate and global organisations in particular have been needing a more complete combination of technology and services to address their mobility challenges for the past 18 months.

Multinationals face far more complexity with mobility than domestic firms; technology is often duplicated, fragmented and decentralised across global operations and deployments face a variety of local considerations such as cost visibility and control, differing operator and device environments, user privacy and data sovereignty laws, local culture preferences, regulation and internal support requirements. The IT departments of global organisations must tackle these local issues head on with their business units, often one country at a time, when implementing mobility strategy, change management, governance and compliance.

To meet these challenges, we've seen a growing maturity in managed mobility support services offered by service providers. These services encompass device deployment and logistics, expense management and order provisioning, implementation of enterprise mobility management software, application development, managed Wi-Fi, help-desk and technical and business consulting services. The benefits of these services compared with a do-it-yourself approach include reductions in time, cost and complexity as well as enabling enterprises to focus on more strategic tasks.

Clearly industry giants have finally woken up to the opportunity presented by managed services in the global enterprise mobility market

Historically, the challenge for global firms has been that awareness of the providers of such specialist mobility services has been low, especially compared with the profile of their enterprise mobility software partners, which have taken up a lot of CIOs' attention over the past two years. Global system integrators have only recently been prioritising mobility services, setting up mobility-specific business units and building up their service catalogues, having historically struggled with focus and delivery against the speed of the market. Many global telecom providers have simply failed to keep up with customers' needs in core mobility components like troubleshooting, application support and IT consulting.

Until recently, this has left the field open to mobility service specialists such as DMI, Enterprise Mobile, ISEC7 and Tangoe, as well as local systems integrators in Europe and the US, many of which lack the investment, size, expertise and "safe pair of hands" branding that global firms require.

It's in this environment that IBM and now Samsung and HP are setting out their plans and it's about time. Global firms in particular need support across the whole spectrum of enterprise mobility. We expect more announcements from Samsung and other system integrators in the near future, but these past three months have given a much-needed boost of maturity to the burgeoning market for managed enterprise mobility services.

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Reid@MOBI
20 Oct 2014, 3:16 p.m.

Nicholas, great coverage. We play in the Managed Mobility Service (MMS) space and we too are feeling the demand picking up. Mobility is critical to business and outsourcing management support results in a very compelling ROI from both a hard cost and soft cost perspective no matter the vertical. Based on our research, adoption rates of these services are low and set to explode.

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