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Making Sense of Mobile Life Cycle ManagementMaking Sense of Mobile Life Cycle Management

Trendy terms like BYOD, MDM, MAM and WEM have confused both the real issues that companies face in managing mobility and the real opportunities that channel partners have in providing solutions for enterprises.

Channel Partners

January 4, 2013

6 Min Read
Making Sense of Mobile Life Cycle Management

By Hyoun Park

Mobile life cycle management (MLM) represents the opportunity to fully support the organizational need for enterprise mobility. There have been many trendy terms associated with mobility including BYOD, MDM, MAM and WEM, but these terms have confused both the real issues that companies face in managing mobility and the real opportunities that channel partners have in providing solutions for enterprises.

At a high level, mobile life cycle management is a holistic approach to facilitating cost management, support and security issues associated with mobile employees. Currently, end-user organizations struggle to integrate all of these issues into a single mobile policy and often use approaches that take care of one aspect of mobility but weaken other business policies in the process. One of the most common examples of this approach is in the support of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which has been misrepresented both as a panacea and the enemy of enterprise IT. 

BYOD simply refers to the ownership of the device, rate plans, and associated services and applications. In and of itself, BYOD can be cost-effective and secure, or it can bring a flood of unmanaged and noncompliant technology that increases the cost structure of mobility based on corporate policies.

To better understand the opportunities for MLM both within corporate-liable and BYOD-based organizations, consider six different aspects of MLM: expense management, device management, application management, document and information management, network management and virtualization.

Wireless Expense Management (WEM). WEM allows organizations to track inventory, service orders and invoices associated with direct mobility costs. Considering that the average revenue per user (ARPU) for AT&T and Sprint for consumer accounts is approaching $65 per month and that corporate users typically have additional data, roaming and application licenses associated with their phone, these costs can approach 0.5 percent of a companys revenues. That means a company with 4,000 employees and a billion dollars in annual revenue could be spending $5 million per year just on mobile devices and rate plans.

These costs can hit the companys bottom line regardless of whether the devices are owned by the company or by the end user, since a majority of BYOD deployments are supported with some form of expense report that covers most or all of the employees mobile costs. When WEM is implemented on a corporate-liable account, the opportunities to consolidate and optimize rate plans, rationalize devices, control international roaming and support bulk purchases typically can support a one-time cost reduction of 10-15 percent for an unmanaged environment. The ongoing visibility also can support an ongoing 1-2 percent savings annually based on auditing errors and the ability to use this information to renegotiate contracts. For a billion-dollar organization with a corporate-liable mobility initiative, WEM can represent an immediate million-dollar opportunity. But even with BYOD, organizations still potentially can use WEM to track expenses, optimize expense report processes, negotiate contracts in bulk and optimize rate plans, but the ability to drive down costs is more limited because of the fragmented nature of BYOD and the inability to fully manage employee behavior and procurement practices. Companies including Tangoe, IBM Emptoris, Asentinel, Telesoft, Comview, Mobilsense, WidePoint, MDSL and Quickcomm provide cost management solutions in this area.

Mobile Device Management (MDM). Mobile device management (MDM) is not a new concept in the enterprise. Since the BlackBerry first appeared in the enterprise, the BlackBerry Exchange Server has represented the gold standard for managing mobile devices, including remote wipe and lock capabilities and visibility to activity on the device. However, with the ascendance of iOS and Android as well as the potential for Windows Phone 8 to gain market share, companies focused on hardware security must consider a multiplatform solution both to support current mobility deployments and to future-proof their own mobility efforts as new platforms inevitably arise. MDM automation can reduce the support labor associated with devices by more than 75 percent. However, MDM can be complicated by BYOD when there are questions regarding the businesss right to track personal property.

However, there are additional benefits to MDM. As companies track and monitor device activity, they also can see whether end users are using international roaming and source their data and voice plans accordingly, or support Wi-Fi-based usage more easily. By tracking usage and signal strength, companies can better understand whether carriers are able to support service level agreements around signal quality and uptime. This visibility can provide end users with greater negotiation power during the next contract. However, it is important to understand that MDM is not the be-all and end-all of mobile management.

Mobile Application Management (MAM). Enterprise mobility extends beyond the device. In todays app-centric world, companies must also track application usage. This includes the blacklisting of applications, blacklisting of functionalities that the application may seek to use, antivirus protection associated with applications and identity management to ensure that the correct person is using the application in question. Companies that fail to adequately protect all of these aspects of mobile applications risk noncompliance for governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) measures, which can lead to heavy fines.  Highly regulated industries must be sure that application management is a core mobility management capability for any user that is accessing corporate data, regardless of whether the device is corporate-owned or BYOD.  Most current MDM vendors also handle MAM, including SAP Sybase, AirWatch, MobileIron, Boxtone and Zenprise (which Citrix intends to acquire).

Document & Information Management. Companies must also consider how documents and other information are being managed in a mobile environment. Although consumer-grade technologies such as Dropbox have been adopted by a large percentage of mobile users, these consumer technologies lack the application APIs, security and compliance associated with enterprise needs. Solutions in this space range from mobile solutions for traditional content management solutions, such as Documentum and SharePoint, to standalone cloud-based content management solutions, such as Box, Huddle and Syncplicity, to content management solutions provided by mobile management providers such as Airwatch and SOTI. Because BYOD deployments include all of the consumer-grade applications that employees use on their personal devices, companies must provide a clear path for document management on their mobile devices.

Network Management. To support the remote employee and reduce data costs, companies can improve end-user access to corporate networks in a secure fashion through the use of virtual private networks (VPN) and protected WPA2 Wi-Fi access. Although these security precautions are not new, companies must be sure that any devices supported for business services can access appropriate networks. Traditional VPN vendors and Wi-Fi security vendors must be considered in a full mobile life cycle management strategy even though the vast majority of these vendors do not have strong offerings in the rest of the life cycle.

Virtualization. As BYOD has become more popular, a newer approach is to support dual persona” devices where one area of the device provides either sandboxed or virtualized access to the enterprise. These tools separate corporate applications, data and documents from personal mobile assets, which reduces compliance concerns. Good Technology, Citrix and VMWare are the best known players for dual personae.

Hyoun Park is a principal analyst at

Nucleus Research
where he oversees primary research on analytics, big data, business analytics, social software and enterprise mobility.






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