This article was originally published on Vodafone UK's blog, Gigabit Thinking. Mobile devices are a commercial necessity and a productivity driver. But their growth and business criticality can turn device management into a monster task list and major headache. Before mobile device management spins out of control, it’s time to look at a managed service.

Managing mobile devices is no picnic. The sheer scale of the task can eat up resources. Worse still, a lack of control can create data security risks. The question is: does your company really want this responsibility?

Mobile devices have impacted every aspect of business, from the employee experience to customer relationships – they’re a business essential. As network performance and connectivity constantly improve, it’s likely that an increasing number of business tasks will rely on ubiquitous mobile devices – smartphones, tablets and wearables.

For many large multinationals, the management tasks for their fleet of mobile devices have mushroomed. As a result, many are experiencing a lack of control over devices, costs, security and the management resources required. No matter how complex your mobile estate, focusing on these four areas will help you regain control.

The secret life of devices

With a sprawling, geographically-dispersed fleet of mobile devices, it’s harder to keep track of your inventory. But logging device allocation and usage is more time-consuming than it sounds. And problems usually only come to light when there’s an issue such as a repair or replacement. Up-to-date records make it simpler to provide a seamless, efficient service to end users – wherever they’re based and throughout the lifecycle of every device.

Navigate the cost-control iceberg

As your mobile estate has expanded, you might not have achieved the economies of scale you expected. And if you own the devices within a capital expenditure model, it can be difficult to see the true costs… think depreciation. Both these scenarios are typical of mobile estates that have grown rapidly. Like an iceberg, there are obvious, visible costs above the water line. But lurking below, there are many costs (and tasks) that are vital to keep the mobile fleet afloat. Examples of hidden costs include vendor management, technical troubleshooting, reporting on cost and usage, plus all the logistical admin relating to orders, upgrades, repairs and replacements.

The case for risk control

Mobile device management costs, time and resources can add up, but they pale into insignificance compared to the impact of a cyberattack on customers and reputation. Cybercriminals increasingly target mobile devices, so it’s important that your first line of defence – the latest security software – is enabled on every device. Managed services can help you manage security risks more effectively by enforcing policies, such as ensuring apps are only installed from legitimate sources, and keeping devices updated and security-patched.

When control creates freedom

As your mobile estate grows in scale and complexity, it’s more difficult to stay in control of the time, money and resources required to manage devices. Also, there’s an opportunity cost to all this – IT/mobility managers spend too much time on relatively low value tasks.

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