Device management tool controls smart phone costs

A Montreal-based provider of an enterprise management platform for mobile devices is extending support for the BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad and Android devices with goal of helping IT admins control usage costs.

The Mobile Policy Management (MPM) Platform from Trellia Networks Inc. previously supported laptops, but enterprises are seeing a broader diversity of devices as users become increasingly mobile in their work habits, said Rami Karam, marketing director at Trellia Networks.

The challenge is getting visibility into usage and the having the ability to control that to keep costs down, said Karam. “Now the pain point is how do I support all these different kinds of devices under a single umbrella,” he said.

Karam said while enterprises use BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) to manage the very popular BlackBerry device, there are now a whole new slew of smart phones to deal with, said Karam.

The MPM platform includes functionality to manage international roaming fees by alerting the user in real-time that usage is incurring hefty charges so that he or she can stop roaming.

Thresholds for acceptable usage can also be defined by IT admins who will receive a real-time alert so they can decide how best to proceed, explained Giovanni Forte, Trellia Networks’ CEO. “There’s a huge operational efficiency that’s delivered by that,” said Forte.

Moreover, the MPM platform provides analytics into usage, offering a very concrete view of how dollars are actually being spent and where changes can be made, said Forte. “Having those analytics on hand now, a CFO can now budget for his telecom budgets next year, said Forte.

The reporting capability is also useful for negotiating better packages with wireless service providers, Forte added.

France-based military contractor Dassault Systems mandated two years ago that iPhones be distributed to its North Amercian employees. Marco Lombardi, IT administrator of the Canadian office of Dassault Systems said the interest in trying out the MPM platform was for the voice, data and texting reporting for the fleet of 200 iPhones.

The reports that Dassault did have were received after the fact when it would be too late to control usage. “The phone company already has that, but the problem is we only have the when the damage is already done,” said Lombardi.

With the growing presence of smart phones in the business and availability of LTE (Long Term Evolution), Lombardi said plan overages are expected to jump exponentially. While Dassault did have policies in place to control device usage for the first two years, the smart phones still remained difficult to manage, said Lombardi.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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