The leading device management solutions address the challenges of device diversity, and introduce real-time management features within a framework that spans the entire device lifecycle. Besides broad support for the various types of devices, IT should look for a solution that can cover both company-owned and "bring-your-own devices" (BYODs). [Also see: "Corporate-owned vs. employee-owned mobile devices"]
Visibility of mobile device usage is the first step in effective mobile device management. A company can and should be tracking the various device uses that drive up expenses. Beyond basic voice, data, and text services, an expanded lifecycle management platform can point to the source of charges for 411 calls, international roaming, and other activities that rapidly multiply expenses.
A full-featured platform should also let IT set limits for usage and tailor the limits to job function or the user's position in the organization. Thresholds and alerts can enforce company usage policies, and reports can help departments budget more accurately.
Real-time telecom expense management is by no means a standard feature of every MDM solution on the market today. By choosing a platform that combines both device and expense management, however, a business gains a level of intelligence that can turn a guideline or suggestion into a legitimate cost-reducing capability.
IN DEPTH: A sampling of BYOD user policies
Advanced management functions
To minimize other hidden costs associated with mobile device management, device management technology has expanded to include procurement workflow and device inventory management. The goal is to help the business monitor and optimize expenses and policies over the entire lifespan of each device.
Starting with purchases, a device lifecycle management platform can introduce and automate a hierarchical approval process for devices and service plans. Employees' options and reimbursement policies can be tailored to departments and user profiles, and devices and plans can be bundled and offered to lower spending.
Businesses also need the ability to track and correlate employee, device and service plan status. The introduction of a full-featured device management solution inevitably uncovers service plan payments being made for devices no longer in use, or reimbursements coming out of a department's budget for employees who have left the company or changed jobs.