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How mobility as a service relates to the changing face of enterprise mobility

October 05, 2016

Managed mobility services, or mobility as a service (MaaS), is an area of enterprise mobility with lots of opportunity.

By James Bourne
James is editor of Enterprise AppsTech, with a passion for how technology influences business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Managed mobility services, or mobility as a service (MaaS), is an area of enterprise mobility which feels almost hot and cold at the same time: while awareness is low, the opportunity is high.

The idea is great on paper. Analyst firm Ovum put together a research report highlighting the six key components of an end to end enterprise mobility solution:

  • Mobile device management (MDM),
  • Mobile app management (MAM),
  • Telecoms expense management (TEM),
  • Identity and access management (IAM),
  • Network access control, and
  • Mobile app development platform (MADP).

With mobility as a service, you take the majority of these features and outsource them. Eventually, you end up treating mobility rollouts like some organizations treat their cloud deployments: and take all the complexity out of it, putting it all safely in the hands of a third party specialist instead of struggling to work out how much you’re paying for per instance.

The value of managed mobility is increasing – but is the hype warranted?

The market is set to hit $19.4 billion globally by 2021, according to a recent research report (MarketsandMarkets), up from $4.5 billion today. Yet there seems to be a lack of visibility. Why? Nick McQuire, VP enterprise at CCSInsight, an expert in the space, argues the situation should not be as it is. He believes awareness around managed mobility, or mobility as a service generally, is a real issue. In other words, the need for MaaS is quite high, but getting enterprises to give up the control needed to implement MaaS – is more of a challenge.

Enterprise firms can simplify their deployments of tablets and smartphones, while small to medium sized businesses can gain a greater foothold on mobility when they don’t have dedicated staff to focus on it.

Even if the hype improves and awareness grows – managed mobility provider Mobi received a $35 million cash injection in July last year, for instance – the control obstacle remains. It’s standard for larger companies and corporations to own all processes from beginning to end.  McQuire explains that not every story has a happy ending with regard to enterprise mobility rollouts – take for instance the issues when Globo suffered financial difficulties last year. But if organizations are at the right point where they can see the value, they can approach either a SI (systems integrator) or a dedicated provider.

Who you should know

The space is divided primarily into the systems integrators, such as HP and IBM, and companies such as Mobi, which offers the full stack. One other company looking to join the latter segment is Tangoe. Traditionally TEM-based, Tangoe has recently launched its mobility as a service offering, with device provisioning, management, and a 24x7 help desk.

Paul Ybarra, SVP of solutions group sales as Tangoe, explains, as we have already seen, that managed mobility is ‘the next evolution [of enterprise mobility]’, and that TEM is just a component of it. It works for businesses of all sizes; enterprise firms can simplify their deployments of tablets and smartphones, while small to medium sized businesses can gain a greater foothold on mobility when they don’t have a dedicated staff to focus on it. The strategic move by Tangoe from dedicated TEM out to managed mobility makes sense – both sides are all about cutting costs, after all.

Will it make your job easier?

McQuire argues that despite the need for more awareness, some of the specialist providers are doing “quite well” and that it is one of the faster growing markets in enterprise mobility.

It’s certainly one of the more interesting markets today, as businesses prioritized mobilization differently: whether they want to develop apps and provision devices themselves, whether they want to own it but have some aspects outsourced, or whether they take the set of keys over to a managed service provider to handle the whole process.

Not every organization is going to take a managed mobility as a service model – but increasingly, more and more companies are. And if the context works, managed mobility is an option which could make your firm’s mobile operations significantly more efficient.

This article originally appeared on Apps Tech News.

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