Sunday, June 1, 2008

Customer oriented device management

Have you ever wondered why such a great thing as mobile device management is so rarely used, at least in smaller companies? After all, when new terminals are deployed to customer, the major problem is how to get the settings configured and applications installed. If end-users are supposed to do that by themselves, you can say goodbye to productivity and finally majority of the users are not able to use the new terminals for any other purpose than making voice calls. This is just the point where device management comes to the picture and customers are ready to buy the solution there anybody to sell it?

Every time I have seen device management solution productized, result has been the same; monthly fixed price subscription. Customer wants to solve a one-time problem and salesman tries to sell a subscription; you want a glass of milk and are supposed to buy a dairy. What if device management were productized from a customer’s point of view, what would the problems look like? I would list something like:
  • how to move data from old terminal to new one?
  • how to deploy settings to new terminal?
  • how to install the corporate applications to new terminal?
  • how to fix the terminal settings if user makes an unwanted change?
  • how to remotely wipe the terminal if it is lost?

If we forget the subscription model we can create new products that technically use device same management protocols like OMA CP and OMA DM but speak language that customers can easily understand. A customer oriented device management offering could sell services like:
  • Move contact and calendar data from old terminal to new one
  • Deploy initial network and email settings to new terminal
  • Install x applications to new terminal, additional installations cost ?€ each
  • Restore initial settings
  • Wipe lost device
  • Create application inventory report form terminal

If you run a device management server, you probably can easily give a price tag for every feature above. Subscription model is a valid business model for companies who continuously make changes to terminals and want to keep device management contract as an insurance for the rest of the terminals - just in case something goes wrong. For other customers a simple pay-as-you-use business model that solves understandable problems really would make sense.


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