Mobile Device Management: What is it?

What’s the right mobile device management program for your company?

Personal or otherwise, all of your employees have cell phones. The world as most Americans know it would be extremely challenging to access without one. Many employees would be unable to perform their jobs without them. So what’s a mobile device management program? And how can the right one positively impact your company?

What is mobile device management?

Mobile device management (MDM) is the administrative work around your company’s phones, computers, tablets, what have you. Sometimes this administration is handled by the company in house, but many find it easier to contract this work out to a third party with expertise in sourcing, carrier negotiations and mobile device management software.

What are my mobile device management options?

Chances are your company already has some form of mobile device management. Whether it’s the right one or not depends on the associated costs, who uses the assets, with what frequency and whether the benefits of the program outweigh its negatives. Here are the more popular mobile device management programs.

Company Provided Device (CPD) and Choose Your Own Device (CYOD)

Company Provided Device is the most self-explanatory program. If an employee has a role that requires a phone, the company supplies that phone. The top benefits with this program include the uniformity and security. As your company passes the device along to the end user, you control the applications it will have and its level of protection. You can read more about CPD programs here.

Choose Your Own Device is a CPD program with a twist. If an employee at your company has a role that requires a phone, they can choose from a selection of phones the company will supply. The top benefits of this program include the above-mentioned security and the addition of options. Most people have a preferred smart phone and being forced to switch from the familiarity of their personal device to the unknowns of an unfamiliar business one might result in frustration, confusion and loss of productivity. You can read more about CYOD programs here.

But these mobile device management program options aren’t without their downsides. The highest among them is expense. Your company owns the phones and their plans – including data. You either have personnel in your IT department setting each one up, performing maintenance on them and retrieving retired devices, or you’re outsourcing that work. Regardless, neither plan is cheap.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Bring Your Own Device is a trending mobile device management program. If an employee at your company has a role that requires a phone, the company reimburses employees for the business use of their own device. The benefits with BYOD are clear. The company isn’t paying for phones and carriers. They aren’t involved in the maintenance of that phone, and employees don’t have to learn a new phone or carry two devices. You can read more about BYOD programs here.

The downsides of the BYOD program depend on its implementation. Security can be an issue if a company does not follow recommended practices. And there’s the question of reimbursement. How much do you give an employee for the business use of their personal phone? Some employers cover the entire phone bill. Some employers just pay a certain amount. There are more accurate ways to reimburse for business use of personally-owned devices.

How do I know which mobile device management option is right for my company?

With several options, and a likely bias toward whatever your current MDM program is, it can be hard to make a change. So don’t start by thinking of it as a change. Think of what would benefit your company and its employees most. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Is your company prepared to carry the expenses of company provided assets? Or do are you leaning towards a more flexible option that includes tighter cost controls?
  • Is your IT department equipped to support a company provided mobile device management program? Would you require additional support? Would you outsource the work? Is there room in your budget for these expenses?
  • Would your employees prefer receiving a phone to use for business work? Or would they prefer using their own phone and receiving a stipend. Do some employees use their personal phone for work and never even turn on the company-owned phone?

Deciding on a mobile device management program is a big deal. It’s not something a company wants to switch every five years, or even 10! The best first step any company considering their options can do is educate themselves. If you’d like to learn more about our BYOD solution, you can read up on it here.

Read About Our BYOD Product

The Author

Alex Mordach

Alexander Mordach is the Director of Technology Solutions. Prior to his current role, Alex worked as an engineer for Phoenix Technologies, bringing UEFI BIOS solutions to the mass marketplace. He is an advocate of groundbreaking technology and is a key player in helping us stay on the forefront of all mobile technologies.

Read more by Alex Mordach

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