Managing a mobile mess

Managing a mobile mess

With mobility on the rise, so too are IT administrator bugbears. Yet, the mobile mess should be seen as a channel opportunity.

A new approach

Managed mobility services, Ovum analyst, Claudio Castelli, claimed are all the rage among multinationals. But he predicted the same trend will creep into mid-sized organisations too – creating new opportunities for systems integrators.

Gen-i is one Australian integrator ready to take up the challenge. The company now offers a fully managed mobility solution around Windows Media and BlackBerry devices.

The new service was built after being demanded by a Gen-i customer that was “finding mobility very costly to manage themselves,” manager of enterprise solutions for Gen-i, Steve Anderton, said.

Gen-i is managing the lifecycle of devices, from consulting and the point of order to provisioning, application deployment, through support and maintenance and refresh.

Gen-i places no restrictions on price choices, but works at a consulting level with the customer to construct mobile policy. That said, the outsourcing approach does at least provide customers with some clear and predictable costs about how much mobile diversity costs to manage. Gen-i’s service is priced on scale, so the price should naturally go up per device being supported.

Contracts with carriers are still managed by the customer, Anderton said, while Gen-i provides detailed monthly reporting to ensure value for money.

Originally the systems integrator offered services around BlackBerry Enterprise Server, but with the release of Systems Centre Mobile Device Manager, Anderton claimed Microsoft had come on “in leaps and bounds”, prompting an additional investment in Windows Mobile skills.

The integrator also provides fully managed endpoints for customers working from home, usually via the resale of thin client technology from VMware, Citrix and Microsoft. Using Citrix WANScaler and Remote Access Gateway, Anderton said the service can “limit the cost to the customer while maximising the throughput on the network”.

Gen-i also acknowledges that mobile devices are relied on for decision-making among the highest-ranking mobile users. Under the managed services deal, these users are nominated for “emergency support” – in which Gen-i staff actually travel to the homes and hotels of senior executives to work on faults or installations.

Anderton said Gen-i hasn’t been marketing the service as it wanted to “bed it down with one customer first”. Today, with five or six customers trialling the solution, the company feels it has the robustness in its processes to take it to a wider market.

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