February 01, 2012

Enterprise Mobility Hits the Tipping Point for Managed Services

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 2012 issue of Next Gen Mobility

Mobility is transforming our lives both at home and at work, as new multi-functional wireless devices and high-speed mobile networks enable us to stay connected wherever and whenever we like. This is a great convenience and a driver of productivity. At the same time, however, it creates some new mobility management challenges for businesses.

In the past the mobile enterprise was relatively easy to manage and secure, given it was based on closed systems such as those from BlackBerry, notes Keith Higgins (News - Alert), chief marketing officer at Symphony Services, which offers managed mobility services. But, he notes, all that’s changed in light of the bring-your-own-device phenomenon; the wealth of new applications and wireless platforms; and the general acceptance of go-anywhere communications.

The number of mobile broadband subscribers is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2015. The worldwide mobile worker population, meanwhile, is set to increase from one billion today to 1.2 billion in 2013, representing 35 percent of the workforce. And businesses are taking notice.

“Enterprise mobility has matured past the point of early market penetration and the prototypical early adopters,” according to Aberdeen (News - Alert) Group’s Enterprise Mobility Management 2011: Mobility Becomes Core IT study, which surveyed more than 250 organizations early last year. “Best-in-class organizations have prioritized the management and security of their mobile infrastructure as a key objective for IT today, consolidating their mobile operations under IT management. Enterprise Mobility Management, the comprehensive ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach of managing the full mobility lifecycle, has become a hallmark of these top performing organizations.”

As of last spring, there were 630 different wireless handsets and devices manufactured for the U.S. market alone, according to CTIA (News - Alert), which notes that between April 2010 and March 2011 more than 120 new smartphones from major handset makers were launched. Of course, tablets represent a growing portion of mobile device sales, expanding from nearly 18 million in 2010 to an expected 108 million in 2012. And these smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices run various operating systems such as Android (News - Alert), iOS, Windows Mobile, etc.

CTIA in May 2011 reported that there were more than 1.19 million apps on 11 operating systems from 27 different non-carrier stores. Speaking of applications, mobile app downloads are forecast to increase to 25 billion by 2015, from 2.6 billion in 2009.

All of the above illustrates why things have become quite complex for organizations in terms of securing the enterprise; managing mobile applications, devices and expenses; opening existing business applications to mobile workers; and efficiently introducing new mobile-friendly applications. That helps explain why the enterprise mobility market is forecast to exceed $168 billion by 2015.

That also makes it easy to understand why businesses are increasingly looking to managed services providers like Symphony Services to address their mobility needs.

“To put a whole mobility management solution in place you don’t just need tools and smart applications, you have to get the right framework, , the right strategy, the right solution in place – and manage it on an ongoing basis to deliver the expected productivity gains,” says Sunil Gupta, senior vice president and head of service lines at Symphony Services. “We take care of all that complexity.”

“When employees bring their own devices onto corporate networks, CIOs need to make sure their existing business applications are mobile-ready,” adds Gupta. “Policy management, which enables businesses to decide who has access to which online applications and data, is also an important component to any mobility management strategy,” he says. “Businesses should have the ability to lock and wipe data on mobile devices remotely in case those devices are lost or stolen.”

John Gonsalves, senior vice president, who leads sales & marketing for Enterprise segments, adds that Symphony Services offers all of the above management functions as an extension of  a very comprehensive system called EMS that addresses the entire mobility lifecycle management – all the way from procurement and provisioning of a mobile device and service when an employee is onboarded to decommissioning when that employee leaves. To expedite that process, Symphony Services solutions integrate with approximately 300 carriers worldwide, with whom it has prearranged service contracts, and has hooks into a wide variety of back office systems and enterprise applications.

While there are lots of new tools and mobile device management platforms out there, all of the above-mentioned moving parts need to be integrated and maintained. Indeed, different back office and enterprise resource management systems are regularly updated, which can impact the mobility environment. That’s why it’s so important to find a managed service provider to act as the general contractor of your enterprise mobility solution.

Managed service provider Symphony Services can help your company create a mobility management strategy; manage your mobility environment on an ongoing basis; provide assistance to employees who have mobile app and device problems and questions; 

and, if you want one, help your organization launch its own mobile app store. An enterprise mobile app store can enable an organization to bring mobile apps to market quickly and use mobility as a new channel to expand the brand.

“A true managed services partner delivers the platforms required to develop and host mobile applications, and handles the ongoing support to operate these applications on mobile devices,” says Gonsalves. For example, he says, a time and expense reporting application may have to be developed just once, but an organization then has to put that capability into an app store, update it as needed, procure and manage devices that tap into it, track usage of that app, and more. Symphony Services can do all of the above so your organization can focus on its core business. Because Symphony Services offers all of these capabilities and technologies as a managed service, your organization can “pay as you grow”rather than making an upfront capital expenditure.

The technologies behind the Symphony Services managed service include Surf Kit, which is used for enterprise app stores; SymMob, an application development and enterprise back end integration tool; Mobilify, which does mobile device management, security management, policy management, app provisioning, and telecom expense management; and EMS, the company’s expense management system, which supports TEM and beyond. Symphony Services also licenses mobile device management technologies from SAP and Sybase (News - Alert) to power its solution.


“We bring a complete solution bundled with an end-to-end expertise that CIOs need,” says Gupta.

As Gupta’s comment indicates, Symphony Services’ expert staff provides a key ingredient of its special mobility management sauce.

Symphony Services has 2,000 people worldwide dedicated to mobility management, including a group of 150 to 200 individuals focused on research and development in this space. And the company has another 2,000 employees who are experts in enterprise software, cloud solutions, and information management & analytics.

Higgins of Symphony Services says these individuals really understand mobile devices and networks, as well as enterprise applications that gained their popularity in the wireline world, and how to make it all work together. Symphony Services, he adds, has invested multiple millions of dollars in labs and equipment to test various mobile applications and integrations, and its managed services enable the company’s customers to leverage that expertise.

“There’s a lot of IT leadership without a lot of experience in mobility,” says Higgins, so businesses need partners on this front.

“Enterprise mobility is here and now with all its conveniences, as well as complexity in terms of implementation,” he adds, “and there are solutions out there that can manage the whole thing for you. Companies, such as Symphony Services are here to help you.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

comments powered by Disqus

Meet the Editorial Team

Rich Tehrani,
Since 1982 Rich has led TMC© in many capacities. Rich Tehrani is an IP Communications industry expert, visionary, author and columnist. He founded INTERNET TELEPHONY® magazine...Read More >>>
Carl Ford,
Partner and Community Developer, Crossfire Media
Today as a partner at Crossfire Media, Carl is developing programs that bring to light an understanding of the issues required for delivering broadband wireless Internet...Read More >>>
Erik Linask,
Group Editorial Director, TMC
Erik oversees the editorial content and direction for all of TMC. Erik has contributed literally thousands of features during his 5-year tenure, with a focus...Read More >>>
Paula Bernier,
Executive Editor, IP Communications Group
Paula oversees editorial content and operations of INTERNET TELEPHONY and Next Gen Mobility Magazines. Bernier is...Read More >>>
Paula Bernier,
CTO & Executive Technology Editor
om is executive technology editor for TMC® Labs, the industry’s most-well known and respected testing lab, and ...Read More >>>