Connectivity and mobility are now fundamental to businesses. According to analyst firm Gartner, by 2022, 70 percent of software interactions in enterprises will take place on mobile devices. This fast escalating trend has made managing mobility solutions contracts and costs critical.
The big problem here is that the mobile industry is country-centric. Terms of contracts, services, offers and billing systems all differ from country to country. This creates contract mayhem, making it very difficult to have overall visibility of their mobility solutions contracts and keep a grasp on costs.
In addition, MNCs are forced to use different operators in different countries and regions as operators are scattered and have an incomplete global footprint. In Europe, for example, they will have the choice between three groups during the tender process, FreeMove which brings together Orange, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and TeliaSonera, Vodafone, and Telefónica O2. All these groupings have traditional partners where they don't have an entity.
Once the deal is closed, the MNC is responsible for all the contract management. This equals multiple contracts across countries and a very complex vista of operators. There is often no centralization, contracts are pushed back to regions, and it is almost impossible to truly monitor mobile spend.
Remodelling mobility management
The simple answer to this mobility conundrum is MSI. It provides an efficient model for managing and providing a single point of responsibility for services and technologies from multiple vendors. These services, devices and suppliers can be coordinated in a cost-effective way to provide seamless end-to-end mobile integration and management to support an MNC's business functions.
Basically, the MSI provider takes control of the MNC's entire mobile estate and manages it on their behalf. The MSI provider will centralize procedures and make sure all mobile contracts are properly implemented, service levels are monitored, escalations are promptly dealt with and any improvements carried out. Regularly reporting ensures that the company knows exactly what is happening in its mobility landscape at any point in time.
The company doesn't have to have mobile contracts with the MSI supplier for the model to work. Orange Business Services, for example, provides an MSI service for Orange and FreeMove contracts, but can also provide MSI orchestration for mobile contracts that do not sit in its camp, as long as it has full authority to act on behalf of the MNC.
MSI enables the MNC to have central control and a clear view of their mobility estate, which now makes up a significant proportion of their operational spend. With one point of contact whose job is to manage mobility, it is easier to put consistent governance in place between countries and provide a conduit for regular reporting between the MSI provider and the MNC.
As well as making sure service levels are being adhered to, the MSI model can also support a cost optimization function to make sure the best bundles are being used according to mobile usage and user profiles. This is an area that often falls through the gap, as some countries are better at actively managing their mobile fleets than others, and reports from suppliers can be inadequate. Orange Business Services has carried out audits, for example, and found that MNCs are still paying for mobile connections for people who have long left the company.
How much MNCs can save from MSI is dependent on how they have been operating their mobile management structure up until adopting MSI. If an MSI audit finds they are paying for unused mobile connections, they could easily save 10 percent straight off.
Orange Business Services, for example, can look at high mobile usage users or those who travel extensively and suggest the most cost-effective bundles. It can alert individuals if they should adopt a different bundle and move them across if authorized to do so by the MNC. This can make extensive cost savings, especially where executives are moving from country to country.
Opening the door to MSI
The first step in adopting MSI is an extensive audit to make sure there are tight controls around mobile connections and devices going forward. Devices are expensive, so it is important that there is a full inventory and a clear picture of what is in the field, ensuring they have the right data and are equipped with data protection.
Security and device management, just as cost optimization, can be added as a component to MSI on top of cost and budget management. The MSI provider can ensure data is wiped from a lost device, for example, and make sure the user gets a replacement device quickly. The MSI provider can also take care of device lifecycle management, providing logistics, ensuring the right device goes to the right person with the right data and apps, and disposing of the device at the end of its life. Orange Business Services delivers this as an option through managed Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions backed by global management and support.
A trusted MSI integrator will ultimately unravel the complexity MNCs are facing managing mobility and help them reduce costs. Clear key performance indicators (KPIs) will measure performance as well as incident and request management.
MSI provides MNCs with a complete understanding of their mobile spend – ensuring their mobile budget is always working for them and not against them.
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Jan van der Merwe has gained extensive experience in both the IT and telecommunications industries, where he has held positions managing consulting, systems integration and outsourcing businesses, with a focus on large multinational customers. At the moment, he is managing Orange Mobile Enterprise, the Orange Business Services business unit that offers mobile connectivity and IoT to multinational companies.