The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated the transition to even greater use of mobile devices for personal communications. Many people preferred to use their company-provided smartphone rather than their home phone to keep in touch with everyone. Especially in companies using unified-communication-as-a-service (UCaaS), mobile was preferred for its direct access to the corporate network for calls, texts, video, and other data exchange with colleagues.
With everyone dispersed to different locations, the importance of having managed mobility services (MMS) to control and coordinate the acquisition, management, use, and expense control increased dramatically. Here we outline 10 ways you can find the appropriate MMS partner to work with.
Where to Begin
Fortunately, MMS has received much attention from industry analysts. Reports from Gartner, AOTMP, and Amalgam Insights will be a very useful starting point to show you the most successful players in this field. Start with the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Managed Mobility Services, Global to get a positioning of key MMS providers and 2021 market trends.
The reports will also provide detail into what MMS best practices are. These descriptions will vary by analyst, but taken together will greatly help you determine what to ask about when interviewing candidate MMS companies.
Vision for the future – Mobile Thought Leadership
With mobile services, it’s no longer about the endpoint, it’s about the experience!
Yes, device features still matter, but even more important today is the look toward tomorrow. What is your MMS provider’s vision for mobility in the future? How can they help you make investments that will be preserved as much as possible as new technologies and services are introduced? You want to be positioned to take best advantage of the accelerating variety of new technologies, new applications, and new experiences.
Ability to Scale
Part of that eye to the future is the ability to scale with you. Right now, the need to scale will be driven as much from the conversion to mobile as from company growth. Some MMS providers are ideally designed for smaller companies while others have the expertise augmented by the experience dealing with enormous fleets of mobile devices. Can your MMS provider help you plan and execute a sound, resilient, and scalable program?
Where in the World Are They?
Part of scaling relates to geographic reach. Does your MMS provider have resources in every country in which you have locations? That is actually fairly unlikely, so do they have a strategy such as a reliable partner in the countries they don’t cover themselves?
Geographic reach carries other implications. Most every country will be best served by different carriers. Can your MMS partner manage the complexity of such a multi-carrier environment? Can they maintain close control over your inventory of services, lines, and devices? Are they capable of managing your accounts worldwide?
Making Multi-Carrier Coordination Easier
Multi-national, or even multi-state, can often lead to multi-carrier management challenges. Look for an MMS provider with systems capable of eBonding so they can take your mobility requests and assure they are successfully placed with the appropriate carrier. Tracking numbers, SIM information, order status and more are then made available through a customer portal. This greatly improves their SLA performance for timeliness and accuracy.
Visibility at your Fingertips
Keeping control over your mobility spend depends largely upon having constant visibility into invoice trends month-over-month, and detailed breakdowns of personnel, devices, mobile number usage and charges. The best MMS providers furnish an easy-to-use dashboard displaying all of this and more in real-time.
Broad Integration Options and API Expertise
“Interoperability” will continue to become the most important aspect of all digital services, especially mobile services. Innovative MMS providers know they need to provide customers with an easy connection to their choice of IT Service Management provider and other services. Ask about their ability to provide application programming interfaces (API) to the many third-party providers you work with.
Cost Optimization and Control
What is their strategy for negotiating costs on your behalf? Not only are usage fees a concern, but also servicing, maintain a spares fleet, expediting replacements and more.
One thing to probe for here is to determine whose side the MMS is really on. Are they truly negotiating on your behalf, or are they focused on selling a particular carrier’s most lucrative services to you? Think of the real estate broker helping you buy a home. Are they the buyer’s ally? Or the sellers?
Flexible, Highly Available Support Services
The top priority for the best in MMS is delivering a superior world-class customer experience that constantly supports customer success. This may come as access to app catalogs, monitoring of data consumption to avoid cost overruns, and highly available Help Desk support services 24/7/365 with the broadest choice of contact options, including phone, email, texting, web portal, and more.
Back to the Future
Somewhat more nuanced is an examination of the MMS provider’s own potential future. Ask them about their plans for constant program improvement.
MMS providers are, by and large, composed of two major areas of focus. One is operational and the other innovative. The first focuses on tactical quality. Are they operating efficiently? Are they resolving user issues quickly enough? Are telecom bills being paid on time?
The innovative side is of most interest to you as a customer. Technology is only as valuable as is our application of it. Is your MMS constantly looking ahead to see where various technologies are going? Can they help you identify new areas of your business that can be well served by upcoming new developments? Time-to-value is always a key concern. How far ahead of the curve can they keep you?
Also, how much advantage are they taking of automation? Some providers remain startlingly manual in their operations, slowing down their service and potentially exposing you to additional costs. The MMS of choice is constantly seeking new ways to leverage automation and introducing new solutions.
One Size Does Fit All
Finally, here’s a recommendation that will at first seem counter-intuitive but is an easy question that will reveal much about your MMS candidate.
Ask for a roster of company names and industries they currently serve.
The best MMS providers are easily able to serve just about any industry. Their value is not specific to any vertical market, but benefits all equally. As such, the best of them will have a widely varied collection of customers. That rich diversity of experience may be the best vote of confidence possible.