How to Effectively Use a Managed Mobility Services (MMS) Provider

As an IT decision maker, managing a vast array of mobile devices, tablets, and connected devices can be a daunting task. When the number of devices becomes difficult to manage efficiently with in-house staff, this is where a Managed Mobility Services (MMS) provider comes into play. However, outsourcing to an MMS provider comes with its own set variables. Let’s delve into common concerns for outsourcing mobility, discuss how a Managed Services provider can address them, and highlight the areas for consideration.

Why use a Managed Mobility Services Provider?

  1. Device Management: For obvious reasons, with a large number of devices, keeping track of each device’s status, updates, and security can be overwhelming. An MMS provider uses specialized software along with a configured manage services to streamline these tasks, ensuring all devices are up-to-date and secure. Device costs have increased every year adding speed and functionality while carrier subsidies have gone down, leaving businesses to fund the gap. Controlling when employees upgrade their devices along with retrieving older devices can ensure your employees have appropriate devices while recovering residual value from reclaimed devices. You will need a watchful eye to oversee device upgrades.  Too many times new devices are shipped out but sit on desks unopened for weeks.  IT teams should track when new devices are activated and when older devices are shipped back and then follow up when the old device is not returned.  All of this tracking and communicating takes time and dedicated resources that many businesses may not have.
  2. Device Logistics: With the number of employees that may work remotely or even with a hybrid schedule, the challenges for an IT staff to effectively deploy new devices to the field further increases the day-to-day tasks for internal resources. New employees are hired and need a new company device that is working on day one when they receive it. It should be loaded with the correct business applications and security (MDM) software, and it should be delivered with company-approved accessories and instructions on how to set up email or other specific applications. Likewise, reverse logistics comes into play when old devices need to be reclaimed from employees to securely wipe confidential corporate data and furthermore, recycled correctly or reused based on a company’s sustainability initiatives.
  3. Cost Control: Managing costs can be tricky when dealing with numerous devices, service plans, features and multiple carriers. MMS providers offer detailed and specialized reporting and analytics to help you understand your spending and identify areas for potential savings. After you have aligned actual usage with the best available rate plans and features it is critical to communicate out to business reporting on usage including data consumption, roaming and international long distance. Their expertise also comes into play with contract negotiations and areas to leverage with your vendors.
  4. Security and Compliance: Protecting sensitive company data on mobile devices is a significant concern. MMS providers implement robust security measures, including encryption, remote wipe capabilities, and regular security audits. Using a Managed Mobility Services provider adds another layer of security in the form of visibility of usage and operating systems that are installed, reporting that may show anomalies, and help creating mobility policies to provide clear expectations to employees.
  5. End User Support: Providing daily support for employees and their devices can strain your IT department. MMS providers have dedicated, highly skilled support teams to handle any issues, freeing up your IT staff to focus on other tasks. It is common to have ten percent of your employees with wireless devices needing some sort of support each month. Are your internal support teams knowledgeable with wireless devices, software applications and carrier systems?
  6. Efficiency of Operations: A Managed Mobility Service provider brings a wealth of knowledge from proven processes and strategies that have yielded results for other businesses similar to yours. While each endeavor may be different in scope, the commonality of integration of business processes and streamlining operations to reduce errors, gain efficiencies and minimize costs and risks is a common denominator.

Areas to Consider:

While MMS providers offer many benefits, there are also a few factors to consider when evaluating one.

  1. Software vs Managed Service: Are you buying a software product or a managed service? Many look and sound the same but are very different once you sign the contract.  Understand your business priorities and requirements and understand how the solution will align. 
  2. Vendor Reliability: Choose an MMS provider with a good track record of reliability, years of experience, and strong customer references to avoid any surprises. A good MMS provider will have dozens of recent projects that may be similar to your environment.
  3. Technical Safeguards & Data Privacy: Outsourcing device management could potentially expose sensitive company data. It’s crucial to ensure the MMS provider has stringent data safeguards in place and also adheres to GDPR regulations.
  4. Responsive Service Level and Service Quality: The quality of service provided by the MMS provider can vary. Regularly reviewing the service level agreement (SLA) and monitoring the provider’s performance is essential as is fully understanding the contractual agreements to avoid misunderstandings in the future. Experience, references and validation from existing customers plus years of providing a service are crucial review points in this area. Has the MMS demonstrated their ability to be responsive to their customers and to your specific needs?

Evaluating and selecting a Managed Mobility Services provider takes time and careful consideration. One of the most often overlooked criteria is whether they fit well into your business culture and if they able to become an extension of your team? Working hand-in-hand with your provider will prove most beneficial when good communication is present and clear goals and timelines have been set forth.

By choosing a reputable MMS provider and understanding how they can help your business grow, you can effectively manage your company’s IT assets at much greater level due to factors mentioned above, therefore allowing your staff to focus on other strategic projects. OVATION has been managing complex mobile environments for over 20 years for organizations in the US and globally. Contact OVATION Wireless Management for a complementary mobility review and help with your next mobility project.