Keeping track of mobile devices and adherence to policies is increasingly difficult, particularly in the age of bring your own devices.
However, some enterprises, despite their size and IT expertise, are willing to outsource it. A number of small companies do pieces of the job, but Telus Communications Corp. believes it can offer an end-to-end solution.
The carrier has teamed with Vox Mobile, an Ohio-based mobile services company, to offer what it calls Managed Mobility Services. They are aimed at organizations with 500 mobile users or more.
“It allows enterprises to outsource management from procurement to managing the platforms and services to providing the help desk facilities and carrier relationships,” said Nathan Pitak, director of customer relations at Telus.
Customers can choose any of six services offered, and any wireless carrier, not just Telus, to be their provider.
The services are:
–Advise, which are consulting services to help organizations make technology decisions around mobile devices to buy, security needs, what carrier to use and other issues around developing a mobile strategy;
–Acquire, which includes access to a Web portal through which purchases can be made and corporate eligibility policies can be enforced;
–Adapt, covering the configuration and set up of devices before delivery.
This part is being provided by Vox Mobile, which has set up a distribution centre in Waterloo, Ont. The location was chosen in part because of the company’s relationship with Research In Motion, Vox CEO Kris Snyder said, and in part because the city is close to Toronto;
–Administer, which is the 24/7 monitoring and management of devices, including the choice of an on-premise or hosted mobile device management system;
–Assist, which are a range of help desk services such as handling simple user requests or complex IT department problems;
–Analyze, which are expense management tools.
Pricing varies depending on the service. The consulting services vary by the work required. Other services range from $2 to $12 per person per month.
Telus [TSX: T] had offered help desk services before, but thought there is a market to offer a broader set of services.
“In the last 18 months we’ve seen an increasing demand from our enterprise customers coming to us with challenges around identifying enterprise mobility strategies. There’s still a lot of enterprises trying to figure out how to use mobility and tablets and smart phones to create transformational value.”
Bring your own device (BYOD) creates additional management and security headaches, he added.
While enterprises might have some resources to handle the load, Pitka said outsourcing what are essentially back-office functions means IT departments can concentrate on more strategic work.
One telecom consultant said the services may be attractive to organizations.
“Some of our customers have said they were thinking about looking for this type of service, particularly as the use of tablets and smart phones grows within their organization, or they have moved to BYOD,” said Roberta Fox, a Mount Albert, Ont.-based telecommunications consulting firm.
On the other hand, she acknowledged that companies might worry about objectivity and ‘best pricing’ capabilities from vendors who are also carriers.
The other side of the coin, she added, is that it could help Telus expose more of its telecom services to customers as well as pulling in extra revenue.