Q&A | September 13, 2013

Customer's Mobile Solutions Challenges Can Be VAR Opportunities

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By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

BSM-Mobile Device

Businesses that try to deploy mobile solutions on their own soon might find themselves in over their heads. They need you.

Gina Gallo, CEO of Stratix, an outsourcing managed mobile-services provider, says, “Mobility represents an extremely complex technical hurdle, which calls for competencies, experience, and focus that most enterprises — regardless of bench strength or outsourcing provider — simply don’t have.”

Deploying mobile solutions is further complicated because it affects every segment of the organization. “Months before deployment, key stakeholders from, legal, HR, finance, sales, logistics, and every business unit and geography need to fully understand where the enterprise is headed, what applications are — and aren’t — candidates for mobilization, and how and when employees will be on-boarded,” Gallo says.

Even if companies have successfully kept IT projects in-house in the past, it is important to make them aware that mobility falls into a different category. “Mobility differs qualitatively and quantitatively from previous IT challenges and institutional ‘lessons learned’ not only don’t apply, but can lead your client down an unmanageable path,” says Gallo.

VARs have the opportunity to take the role of trusted advisor with companies that are planning mobile deployments, choosing from ruggedized or consumer devices, establishing a well-trained customer support resource, and establishing mobile device management with cloud-based or on-premise solutions. Furthermore, with short device life cycles and the need for ongoing management and monitoring, the relationship is likely to be a “sticky” one.

MSPs can also be invaluable helping to manage BYOD (bring your own device) programs. A 2013 Cisco study says 90 percent of American workers with smartphones use them for work. Complicating the matter, the study also points out that 40 percent don’t password protect their smartphones, and 51 percent connect to unsecured networks. “Mobility is already out of control,” says Gallo. “It doesn’t mean you can’t manage it intelligently.”

Gallo adds that there has been monumental shift in the volume of mobile data. Companies that had 2,000 fixed homogeneous devices now might be trying to manage 20,000 portable heterogeneous devices — each with far more data than the previous devices. “What you need are mobility-specific data feeds from every corner of the enterprise, aggregated so that business intelligence dashboards can monitor activity and prescriptively trigger actions that are part of a business process. This is a far cry from static historical reporting.”

 “From an IT-management standpoint, there’s never been an asset like a mobile device,” Gallo says. For your customer, it might mean that it is time to look for help. And for you, it means opportunity.

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