Wavelink Blog

Category: Mobile Device Management

Looking to Talk Mobility, but not Sales Pitches?

As I mentioned in “Cutting to the Chase: Let’s Talk MDM“, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find thoughtful, insightful discussions on mobile device management, enterprise mobility, etc. With a few exceptions, such as The Enterprise Mobility Forum, and a few LinkedIn groups, it’s hard to find discussions that aren’t bogged down by this individual pitching that solution, and so on. 

We want to change that. I invite you to check out our LinkedIn Group where we want to create a community of enterprise mobility professionals connecting, and talking all things “mobile ecosystem”. We filter who can and cannot join, ensuring that anyone who is simply there to promote their solution will either be rejected, or removed. The hope is that you can talk shop, ask questions, and/or learn new technologies without spending an afternoon weeding through spam.

Take a look. Don Osburn posted a follow-up to his post on Tuesday, that I think you’ll find interesting. Feel free to submit your own discussions, polls, questions, etc., and rememeber to pass it along to anyone else you think would be interested.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

The Risk Of Increasing Operational Cost (OPEX) By Doing MDM Backwards

We’re all aware of the explosion of new devices arriving in the marketplace.   From phones, to tablets, to bigger phones, to smaller tablets,…. And all of the new challenges and opportunities these devices bring with them.  Everyone is abuzz with the new terms of “device consumerization”, and “application containerization”, etc.,. etc.  The emergence of so many new devices, with so many different form factors is exploding the options for endpoint connectivity into enterprise business applications.  

However, what do all these new devices really mean in terms of providing enhanced value to today’s business processes?   And, what do these changes really imply in terms of mobility device management?   Is it possible, as is often the case with rapidly evolving technologies, that all the hype is really about a rather thin area of deployment, and is overlooking some, or possibly many, of the basic fundamentals?   If so, what does this imply about future costs?

Three prior articles shed some light on these questions.   Consider the following highlights.

  • According to Aberdeen Group’s Analyst Insight, “High Performance Organizations Empower Employees with Real-Time Mobile Analytics”, July, 2011
    • The adopters for Mobility Business Intelligence (MBI) on emerging mobile devices can be segmented as follows;
      • Enterprise Executives – The Board Room and other C-Level company stakeholders
        • These users are interested primarily in Dashboards that allow them to view the holistic health of the business from one central platform.
      • Field Sales – The road warriors and those dependent upon direct interface with the company’s customers
        • These users are primarily interested in real-time data to help close sales faster, (i.e. inventory stock data), as well as increase customer satisfaction, (i.e. trouble ticket response data).
      • Operations – Operations management including I/T
        • These users want to deploy Dashboards again, but focused solely on the health of their specific area of operation, (i.e. server uptime, etc). (more…)

An Ocean Away – Does Mobility Look Different Down Under?

The following comes from Simon Storey, our Australian Sales Manager:

Hello everyone! My name is Simon Storey and I’m the Sales Manager for Australia and New Zealand. I’ve been in the industry for 15 years, and over that time I’ve seen the industry from a variety of geographical locations, including EMEA, North America, and now, ANZ.

So, how does the mobile ecosystem look from down under? Well, the truth is, mobility is mobility, whatever corner of the globe you’re looking at it from. My customers and partners in Australia and New Zealand look at mobile device management needs the same way our friends back in the states do, and I think it’s safe to say that customers are much more informed about the space than they ever have been. As such, they are looking for solutions that will transform roles and have tremendous operational impact.

For instance here are just 3 examples of roles that would value taking the technical data collected and convert this into management information

  • COO’s – provide utilization and operational availability of the investment in mission critical devices
  • CFO’s – provide pro-active spend mapping for consumable and device refreshes including tangible ROI analyses for mobility projects
  • CTO’s – provide pro-active estate management with trending of issues and replacement requirements including utilizing the information to run technical trials and let the system tell them which device operates best in their environment


Cutting to the Chase: Let’s Talk MDM

Everyday, I see updates and conversations on various sites and forums about MDM/BYOD/etc. Many are from LinkedIn forums, which usually contain some initially good discussions, before they turn into sales pitches for various providers. Nowadays, with all of the buzzwords surrounding the enterprise mobility space, it’s hard to weed through the murky stuff, and get to the bottom of what’s important about MDM: defining your mobile ecosystem.

Until your mobile ecosystem is defined, it’s hard to determine what the needs are, and ultimately, will delay your return on investment. As we’ve discussed in the past with many BYOD topics, it’s important to have a clear plan on what your unique needs are in the enterprise. What’s the landscape of devices like? Do you have all rugged devices, or do you also have smart devices you need to manage? What about network infrastructure? Do you need to manage the wireless access points in addition to the devices? Do you have one, or many locations you’ll need to have insight over?

The point is that every mobile ecosystem is different, and take caution when doing your research, as to not get caught up in the buzz and spin. The truth is that very few enterprises are alike, and being able to work with a trusted advisor to determine the best plan of action will lead to quicker implementation, faster ROI, and a more efficient enterprise.

As a side note, if you would like to join a LinkedIn group that avoids the jargon, we’re looking to get a solid group who are interested in discussing topics, not sales pitches, in our Mobile Ecosystem group. Check it out, and strike up a conversation!

Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 2

Good afternoon! Last week, in Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 1, we discussed whether or not BYOD will save your company money.

Today, we will look at the second aspect of BYOD that needs to be considered, and is closely related to the IT cost benefits: What security challenges and risks will face your IT folks in a BYOD world? The IT and security challenges are complex and many. What happens when someone’s device is lost? What happens when a CEO becomes a victim of corporate espionage (this is not just paranoia, it actually does happen) and her device is stolen by the competition? How much control can the company have over employees’ devices? There’s obviously a myriad of other security questions that need to be addressed for BYOD security but you get the picture, it’s daunting.

Most experts agree that the single most important element in a BYOD environment is having explicit policies surrounding employee devices. In fact, in a recent article by Muneyb Minhazuddin of Australian-based Dynamicbusiness.com it’s as important as having a phone number or a quality Web site.

That being said, policies are only effective if they are adhered to and enforced. Penalties for infractions need to be clear, concise and, most importantly, enforced. Sometimes employees make mistakes; sometimes they are outright stupid. When rules are broken there needs to be a clear solution available to fix any problems the infraction may have caused and people need to be reprimanded accordingly.

Even with strong BYOD policies in place keep in mind that the human element tends to really mess things up. Look long and extremely hard before you enter the BYOD arena.


Questions to Ask About BYOD

BYOD. Today it seems everyone involved in any way with enterprise mobility management is constantly being barraged with the term. It’s a buzzword that just isn’t going away, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future. It seems like everyone in the industry has a different take on whether BYOD is a positive or a negative. There are definitely many cases for and against it, but I think most people considering BYOD don’t even ask the most important question: What is the real reason they want to implement BYOD?

BYOD in the Mobile Ecosystem

It sounds basic but this is something that’s almost always overlooked. Is an organization doing it to save money? Is a company looking to BYOD to help increase employee productivity? What IT and security challenges will implementing BYOD raise for a business? In regards to making a decision on BYOD a company needs to weigh both pros AND cons. It’s important that they don’t just jump on board because it’s the hot trending topic. It may be right for your organization or it may be entirely wrong.

In what will be a two-part series, we’re going to focus on two of the questions listed in the paragraph above: the cost of BYOD for a business and IT, and security challenges of implementing BYOD.


Myths of BYOD

If you ever visit one of the public food courts in Singapore, you’ll find that there are as many as 85 different food vendors and outdoor kitchens side-by-side. Most of these have exactly the same menu as the vendor next to them and they will proudly tell you that. When begin your decision process, the vendors move from talking about the food and how good they can make it taste, and move the sale to talking about why their chef is better than the rest, or why their customer service is a differentiator. From where I sit, BYOD and MDM may have started to morph into exactly that.

Now, I’m not trying to belittle or downplay the importance of the BYOD market, but there have been scores of new vendors that have popped up in the last couple of years, and they are starting to sound a bit like these food vendors by sharing the same features and capabilities. One thing we’ve noticed is that there are some myths that need a little debunking. We’re not saying this just to stir the pot, but most companies need to strongly consider if BYOD is really for them.

BYOD in the Enterprise

Is this really going to save me money?

This has been a huge topic, and there have been a number of studies into whether or not BYOD saves money for those who implement it.

Cisco, for instance, stated a 17-22 percent savings, but that’s not the norm. Tom Kaneshige points out that while hardware costs might be lower, and they no longer have to worry about acquisition cycles, there are hidden costs. A lot of the BYOD crowd is basing savings on workers bringing their own mobile devices to work – tablets, phones, etc. so there is a trade-off between acquisition costs and a number of aspects of control.

One place that costs creep back in is in service plans, and allowing workers to purchase their own vs a negotiated corporate agreement. An Aberdeen report indicates that a big corporate wireless plan breaks down to about $60 per person while the average reimbursement for a BYOD smartphone is $70. If you’re a big enterprise, that can add up really quickly. Kaneshige’s article goes on about other hidden costs, and what it surmises is sometimes you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Completely secure

We run up against this all the time. Companies will say that they have verbal and written policies in place. We have the firewall, a secure VPN, etc. but when you start to ask questions things begin to fall apart. A recent study asked workers about using their mobile devices remotely, only 29 percent of users have set passwords that would prevent their device from being used by a thief or co-worker.

While a stranger might not be able to get on the network, without a pass code on the phone, someone could surely access contact lists, to do lists, and company email to access and review a lot of data that companies don’t want other people view or have access.


This has been one of the biggest claims amongst those who are leading the BYOD charge. They claim that using a device they “know” will make them work faster and be more productive. They may be more familiar with their device reducing confusion about how the device works, but how much time are they spending playing Angry Birds, keeping up with Words with Friends, posting on Facebook, etc. that isn’t being or can’t be enforced by the company?

There’s no concrete evidence that this is going on, but if my friend, who is using his phone for work, is a test case, then I would suggest it’s more than his employer would like.


BYOD isn’t inherently bad or good. Whether it really works for you depends on how you do business, secure your enterprise, and manage your costs, employees, and infrastructure. I thought it might be useful to at least start talking about a few of the widely cited myths and panacea expectations that we encounter as we talk to potential enterprises considering allowing employees to use their personal devices and computers as part of enterprise working assets. BYOD can be useful and may make sense for you – clearly define your requirements, policies, and expectations moving forward. Make sure you understand how your workforce uses technology and the trade offs of personal freedom on productivity. With that said, you also need to know there are some rough, potentially sharp and harmful edges associated with employing BYOD. I didn’t even mention the potential headaches that accompanies managing BYOD, depending on whatever your definition of managing it might be. Bottom line, can you really control what you don’t own, or should that even be a realistic expectation?

The Present and Future of “Value” in Value Added Resellers

Supply chain customers and end-users have always relied on their I/T supplier companies to assist them by bringing the “Value” in Value Added Reseller.   Over the years, VARs have led the way by providing services and support that their supply chain customers rely on to run their own businesses.   However, as technology continues to evolve, VARs are working hard to keep up with creating new services and support that will help their customers adapt.   Far beyond the standard RF site survey, leading VARs today have to be focused on a myriad of  technologies and techniques in order to remain “Valuable”.   Here are just a few of the areas where VARs are advancing the state of the art.


Keeping your MDM Solutions Current without Breaking the Budget (and Still Looking like a Rock Star)

At this point, it’s a universal truth that technology changes the moment you hit purchase, and in today’s ever changing technological world it’s almost a guarantee that your iPhone 3 will just happen to die a month before the iPhone 4s’ unveiling. Not only is this slightly frustrating, it renders you powerless because, really, can you go an entire month without your beloved smartphone? Could you really go back to your old Blackjack sans apps, sans video capability and don’t even get me started on trying to type! We are no longer in the age where progress is relatively “slow”. We are no longer talking about going from a floppy disc to a zip drive. With the rate of technological advancement we are getting ever closer to the reality of a hoverboard (and not just a replica).

Is MDM as exciting as cruising to work on a hoverboard, well that’s debatable. But, the enterprise is changing at a rapid pace. Therefore, organizations need to keep up with the ever growing list of devices, security concerns, deployment needs and even the speed at which apps run (let’s face it we are an inpatient society). Organizations need to stay on their toes, but overhauling and replacing costly investments into MDM software isn’t exactly always feasible. So what is this best way to approach managing your enterprise once you’ve made the initial investment into MDM?

Like building a house, a solid foundation will allow you to build upon your investment and make improvements as you go. For example maybe you aren’t worrying about BYOD yet but you can see your colleagues eyes light up when the newest shiny tablet is unveiled. Smart DevicesYou probably know the path that will take – “but I’d be so much more productive with the tablet future-tastic I promise!” – You’ll end up with an influx of tablets that need to be managed and secured.

The entire Wavelink suite of products was designed to be built upon. With Avalanche you can add additional security, control devices remotely, shut down a rogue device and pinpoint the exact geographical location of any device in your enterprise. With Wavelink Terminal Emulation you can voice enable warehouse operations, deploy applications, and ensure consistent web rendering across all devices no matter the device or their OS. The beauty of layering products means you can do it as your budget allows and by using a foundation product you’ll be able to ensure you have the budget to continue growing as your enterprise needs change.

It’s all part of Wavelink’s wireless ecosystem and just one more way we are committed to ensuring your mission-critical operations don’t get stuck in the floppy disc era.

BYOD Security in the Mobile Ecosystem

I was speaking with Kelly Ungs yesterday and he pointed me towards an interesting article over at the EMF.org about BYOD. The article makes a point about some of the liabilities around BYOD policies, and I thought it was worth sharing.

The article specifically references the recent info about IBM’s struggles with BYOD policies, and something jumped out at me that continues to be an issue in the BYOD space – security. The issue, of course, being that employee’s usually don’t mean to introduce risks into the enterprise, but sometimes do simply out of pure, accidental error.

“We found a tremendous lack of awareness as to what constitutes a risk,” says {Jeanette} Horan. So now, she says, “we’re trying to make people aware.”

Security is a huge issue, and it’s important that companies take it into consideration, regardless of it being tied to a BYOD policy or not. Further, it’s also important that companies can secure the network(s) that these devices are connecting to. Remember, it’s not just the information on the device that’s at risk. It’s also the information the device can tap into. Remember that factor, and check out the articles above. Let us know what you think about security and BYOD in the comments below, or start a new discussion in our LinkedIn group.