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Scaling Your Business for the Mobile Device Market

17 Sep 2015 by Howard M Cohen

The mobile device. The right-size device for users to live, work and play on. It’s a phone, it’s a tablet, it’s a laptop computer all rolled into one. This is the modern “grail quest” of the IT industry. Fortunately, it’s probably completely unrealistic.

If we could convince every user on the planet that it’s perfectly normal and natural to wear a Bluetooth earpiece for phone calls… if we could provide every user with absolutely perfect eyesight so they could compose documents on a small screen… if we could get everyone to enlarge their pockets so carrying around a sizable device would be more convenient… then perhaps we could get everyone working on devices of just one particular size and shape.  

Given the vast unlikelihood of any of these things, we who service those users must become better prepared to equip and support them with everything they need to do — everything. Just as the proliferation of mobile devices has contributed to the need to provide vastly more IP addresses, it also offers every service provider the opportunity and the challenge to scale their business to keep pace.

Serving the mobile enterprise

Many service providers learn a valuable lesson when they go to purchase marketing mailing lists and order them by number of employees in the company. In many locales, the largest employer in the area may be the local supermarket or department store — but only a small fraction of those employees actually use computers.

However, the inverse of this experience is now hitting home as good news for many service providers, who are discovering that it is no longer just the number of people in a company that creates a determinant of the size of their opportunity, but also the number of devices used by each of those people. When a company full of computer users suddenly decides to issue smartphones to all of them, the number of devices under support can double. Add tablets, and the requirements grow again.

As you plan to scale your business, begin to evaluate your customers based on the likelihood of their diversifying the types of devices they have their employees using, as well as the projected growth by the number of employees.

With this growth, will come a need to secure the data travelling to and from mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are considered to be among the most vulnerable points of access in modern networks. Strategies like data containerization and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) are among the best choices available to you and your customers.

While many analysts contend that “MDM” should stand for Mobile Data Management, the need to manage and maintain all of these products will grow, requiring some significant innovation on your part. You probably won’t be repairing mobile devices, but you’ll have to become highly proficient at expediting the exchange of damaged devices for functional ones. Restoration of the old device’s footprint to the new device will also have to be efficient for the user in the field.

Be prepared to kill or “brick” those devices lost or stolen in the field. A blank device is much less of a loss than a device containing customer’s valuable corporate data.

Serving mobile users

When asking what a mobile user “needs,” we have to expand our thinking based on how they’re going to do what they need to do.

When using their devices for communications, most users will likely need a headset of some kind. That’s because with video-enabled software such as Skype and Facetime, users may find themselves unable to hear who they’re calling without putting their devices to their ears.

The solution is a corded or cordless headset. And here we should note that carrying a small Bluetooth device presents another challenge, in exactly how to carry the device when not using it. There is a dearth of small cases properly sized for these units. The result is many broken Bluetooth headsets. It is important to “think accessories.”

We have already seen a revolution in the definition of the term “computer case.” The ungainly leatherette luggage of yesteryear has already given way to slimmer, more functional cases, with more of an emphasis on professionalism than ever before. Clever carriers feature belt-mounted levers that can hold devices in usable positions. Anticipate that accessories will become a part of your consultative value proposition.

Redefining training

As your mobile device community grows, so will your opportunity to train users to be far more productive and efficient in their new environment. Few have ever made everyday use of cloud storage services, or other cloud services. Showing them innovative new ways to communicate, collaborate and conduct their daily lives offers tremendous new training opportunities for you to add to your portfolio.

Embracing mobile

Talk to Insight about the many ways you can scale your existing support business, even without adding new customers. New devices, new services for those devices and complementary products will make significant new contributions to your bottom line in the growing mobile world.                       

As the quest for the holy grail form factor continues to heat up, more users will move to multiple mobile devices, meaning this is a market that’s going to scale whether you like it or not. Be prepared to take fullest advantage by offering all of the products and services mobile users will require.