Mobile Management – One Ball Too Many for the IT Juggling Act?

If you’re in IT today, you probably have a lot of balls to juggle. You’re already managing corporate LANs, firewalls, network security, software and PC tech support.  Like the majority of IT departments, you have your hands full. Add the influx of mobile apps, devices and additional services into the mix – especially those brought in by users with diverse operating systems – and you’d likely need three hands to keep everything in the air!

In my last post, I wrote about the evolution of business mobility, from single applications to end-to-end solutions, which enable companies to mobilize their business processes and invent new business models. I see this technology shift as an exciting opportunity for companies, and yet, I can certainly understand why it might make IT managers bite their nails. Mobile ecosystems are highly complex and change at rates that most IT departments are not used to.

That’s why AT&T decided to venture into a new space about 18 months ago. We call it “Mobility Solution Services” – think fully managed and professional services completely focused on bringing order to the mobile chaos by taking them off your hands.

Many people jump to the conclusion that we’re talking about consulting and advice. That’s definitely a part of it, but there is much more. Our industry and mobility applications solutions team have always engaged customers in ideation sessions to lay out the solution components and think through the best ways to make mobility work for their businesses. What we lacked in the past, however, were both the more elaborate, paid-for mobile consulting services and the ability to deliver and manage mobile services around the solution.

Our Mobility Solution Services (MSS) group specializes in end-to-end life cycle management. What that means is that our front end solution and vertical expertise from the Industry and Mobility Applications Solutions (IMAS) team are now complemented by a robust “for pay” consulting and mobile solution delivery capability.

We’ve discovered that many clients find assistance helpful in some key development areas, such as:

  • Running mobile strategy and architecture workshops
  • Developing the solution architecture
  • Acting as a one stop shop for acquisition of hardware, software, services or partnering with your chosen distributors, if appropriate
  • Mobile hardware lifecycle management: Complementing procurement of hardware with shipping, kitting, loading images and installing exchange services
  • Fully managed mobile device management/mobile security (MDM/MS) and mobile application services
  • A range of mobile professional services and support services that can complement and round out existing enterprise/ISV support  for MDM/MS, mobile application development, WLAN design and Machine to Machine (M2M)

Not all businesses need all of the services MSS provides. You might choose to mix and match. Perhaps your company’s IT department is already well-equipped to handle application development and design, but could use assistance in deployment and support.

When you’re choosing between professional services providers, make sure they are open to your ideas and input. You also want to check to see if they can blend together new mobility solutions and legacy hardware and software, as well as coordinate activities with existing vendors. This helps to contribute to a smooth path for mobilizing business processes.

Remember, if you are confronting the challenges of moving from a stable, PC-centric era to a “Post PC era” characterized by rapid-fire innovation, you should consider changing your existing practices, not just replicating everything you had in the PC era. It’s simply not the same – think – multiple operating systems, multiple form factors, accelerated innovation cycles and consumerization!  Why should your approach remain static when everything else is in flux?

If you’re struggling to juggle an influx of mobile-related demands on your IT teams, our IMAS and MSS teams can lend you an extra hand to add in mobility without missing a beat.

How about you?  Has your company worked with third-party professional services providers?  What have you experienced that has worked well?  We look forward to your comments. 

Abhi Ingle Big Data and Advanced Solutions Senior Vice President AT&T About Abhi