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November 28, 2007

Mobile Operators Expected to Play Larger Role in Mobile Management

By Brian Solomon, TMCnet Web Editor

CIOs are beginning to look more to their mobile operators for handling mobile management duties, according to a recent study by Mformation (News - Alert).

The survey, which collected results from CIOs from 500 enterprises, found companies are looking to operator partners for the services and tools necessary for helping to control, secure and manage mobile devices—in much the same way operators and service providers manage other IT assets. In the third phase of its study, Mformation revealed that CIOs want mobile operators to take on much of the device management.

According to Mformation marketing director Rob Dalgety, CIOs are facing a dilemma with regards to mobility. Productivity gains will lead them to continue to invest in mobility, but the management has become a problem. According to the results, 45% of CIOs are looking to mobile operators for device management assistance. In the U.S., 62% of CIOs in the survey said they would switch operators if they were offered a comprehensive mobile device management solution.

"We see a picture of devices starting to act more like computers," said Dalgety. "Most mobility projects are for specific applications, and with more applications going forward, you have to picture these devices becoming a more important thing for IT. Enterprises are going to want day-to-day control over the devices and … help from the operators when it comes to management. Operators have to rise to that challenge."

In a rather contradictory finding, 88% of respondents said they expect their mobile operator to play a role in mobile device management, with almost 60% indicating they would prefer an arrangement with the operator that gives the IT department direct control over its mobile assets.

According to Mformation CMO Matt Bancroft, the results show there's new opportunity for operators to differentiate themselves by offering more management services.

Along with device management, many organizations are now looking to operators for assistance with device security. The survey showed that 74% of U.S. companies have increased their investment in data and system security, and 71% increased investment in staff training. Furthermore, 66% have upped their investments in monitoring and security systems.
One concern is the ability to provide device and network security while supporting users so that device problems are identified and quickly fixed, technology is kept updated, and support costs are controlled. CIOs surveyed said they expect some operator support in these areas.

But many enterprises believe the operator is not yet supporting those needs enough, and 60% of U.S. respondents did not have a positive opinion of their operator's device management support.

Brian Solomon is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To see more of his articles, please visit Brian Solomon’s columnist page
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