article

Lead Users to the Wireless Promised Land

Best-in-class organizations have two times less staff than other organizations to manage the wireless device lifecycle, according to a recent study by Aberdeen Group. The research firm says the discrepancy is because those companies have well-documented wireless policies to ensure accountability and compliance.

Could it be that they also have access to better resources such as a channel partner who can advise on wireless policy development and leverage available tools to help their customer properly manage those policies? By becoming such a resource, you, a wireless dealer, can help the many organizations that are struggling with mobile policy making and enforcement.

The management of mobile phones — the design and implementation of a coherent and holistic mobile policy throughout the enterprise — is top of mind for mahogany row executives like the CIO and CFO, and also the IT director. The CFO/CIO primarily cares about out-of-control mobile expenses while the IT department is tasked with regulating what devices are being used, who gets what type of device and what usage plan, how to deal with device loss or theft, how to protect corporate data, and more.

What’s Your Policy?

Mobile policies fall into three key areas – procurement, usage and security. The following questions can help when setting mobile policy.

Questions about mobile procurement policy:

  • What functional group is responsible for procurement?
  • Who needs a smart device and who needs a regular cell phone?
  • Will the company standardize on a few devices on the network?
  • How is porting numbers from individual to corporate plans (or vice versa) handled?

Questions about mobile usage policy:

  • What are the business hours of usage?
  • Can users make personal calls?
  • What is the international usage policy regarding both voice and data?
  • How will you handle overage?

Questions about mobile security policy?

  • Are there industry regulations like HIPAA or Graham- Leach-Bliley that the company must follow?
  • What applications will be used on smart devices?
  • How is backup and storing of data from the devices handled?
  • Will a local device wipe or remote device wipe policy be enforced in times of a security breach?
  • Will technologies, such as Wi-Fi, infrared and Bluetooth, be allowed?

As a telecom consultant, you can extend your value by discussing with your customer or prospect the areas that are critical for reducing runaway costs and increasing efficiencies. These are the areas that require policy making and compliance. With the multitude of telecom expense management (TEM) tools that cater to the midmarket available for sale by channel partners, you can help your customer move toward what Yankee Group calls “holistic mobility,” encompassing business and IT processes for both internal and customer-facing applications while leveraging ubiquitous network coverage. According to the research firm, such a completely integrated mobile strategy is a decade away for most organizations. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of incremental improvements that can impact organizations in the short term.

Today, the pain that organizations feel is what Yankee describes as an opportunistic approach to mobility where the decisions are driven from the user level and the wireless solutions cannot be leveraged enterprise-wide. They are specific point solutions that can result in nightmarish amounts of bills, overage issues, security breaches, and dozens of devices to manage, as well as multiple wireless carriers and contracts.

A more strategic approach to mobile management requires enterprises to design and implement policies on common platforms for large groups of mobile users. These solutions can be leveraged across a common architecture. This is the sweet spot for the next decade in mobile management and an area where a channel partner can carve out a unique niche.

According to Pankaj Gupta, president of TEM provider Amtel Inc., channel partners can differentiate themselves by helping medium and large corporations in setting and implementing mobile policies.

“The key is to strike a balance between productivity, security and cost,” Gupta says. If the security policy dictates that every user input in a 12-digit password each time they make a phone call, then productivity gains have been sacrificed for security concerns. In another example, the organization that becomes so obsessed with lowering costs that it never looks at wireless applications like e-mail, GPS and other sales force or field force automation applications that drive efficiencies, risks being leapfrogged by its competition.

Security is rapidly becoming the No. 1 concern for most IT departments as the proliferation of smart devices and wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, are introducing a host of new concerns for corporate security breaches. Greg Andrews, vice president of sales at Amtel, says he received a call from a user who was billed $1,500 after being “BlueBugged.” A hacker picked up the Bluetooth signal, hacked into the user’s phone and made outgoing international calls. This is just one example that highlights the importance of a comprehensive mobile security policy that takes into consideration an ever-expanding number of threats. Such a plan must answer the following questions: What policies are designed around the usage of technologies, how will your customer train and audit the users on these policies and how does the company handle breaches?

As a channel partner, helping your customer create policies, and introducing and using tools to help manage their mobility strategy allows you to become an extension of their team and provide a roadmap to achieve “holistic mobility.” This ultimately can lower costs, deliver efficiencies and enhance productivity, factors that drive revenue gains. Is that not the goal of every corporation and most likely your customer? Help them reach the wireless promised land.

Natasha Royer Coons is the founder and managing director of TeraNova Consulting Group, a new firm providing fully managed mobility solutions and wireless WAN products, services and expertise to channel partners nationwide. She brings a decade of experience as a former solutions consultant and SC manager advising partners on wireless and wireline products for Sprint Nextel Corp. Reach her at natasha@teranovaglobal.com.


Looking for More?
Setting Mobile Enterprise Policy

To find out more about mobile policy making and enforcement tools, attend the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. PHONE+ columnist Natasha Royer Coons will lead a Growth Track session, Setting Mobile Enterprise Policy, at 9-9:50 a.m., Sept. 27. For details, visit http://channelpartners.phoneplusmag.com/secaucus2007.

Links
TeraNova Consulting Group www.teranovaglobal.com
Amtel Inc. www.amtelnet.com
Aberdeen Group www.aberdeen.com
Yankee Group www.yankeegroup.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The ID is: 71258