New service aims to take complexity out of corporate mobile management

Remember when "managing mobile" consisted of a Blackberry for the CEO and a handful of executives? How times have changed.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

Remember when "managing mobile" consisted of a Blackberry for the CEO and a handful of executives? How times have changed.

Today, it's not just the executives who have company-issued smartphones. The sales, advertising and marketing teams are carrying them, too, as well as employees in a number of other departments. And, increasingly, those employees are asking for something other than a Blackberry - like an iPhone, the G1 and soon, the Palm Pre.

At CTIA this week, Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services announced ACS Managed Mobility Services, a Web portal that promises to take some of the hassle and headaches out of managing the mobile arm within a business. (click image for example)

The company is quick to stress that this is just more than managing the bill or showing the CEO how to use a trackball. From the portal, administrators can also remotely install updates. They can also tap into other programs, such as the corporate travel system, to know when an employee will be traveling overseas and whether the phone plan needs to be tweaked to allow international usage, or even HR, to know when an employee will be leaving the company and will need the phone access to be terminated, too.

Administrators will also be able to monitor things like applications being added or an excessive use of text messaging - and make adjustments on-the-fly.

From the company's news release:

Managing these devices in the IT department has evolved into a complex undertaking, sometimes requiring the coordination of numerous suppliers, carriers and internal departments. There are also issues concerning setup, data security, accelerated costs associated with a corporate purchase, and lack of self-service or help desk resources for mobile workers.

It was OK to put management of mobile devices and services under the umbrella of IT when it was just execs and their Blackberrys. But just as mobile has grown exponentially over the years, the resources for many IT departments - whether money or staff - have gotten smaller. It only makes sense that some areas - such as mobile - be outsourced so the IT staff can focus on keeping the company's other engines running.

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