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Why a managed mobile fleet is a smart call

Cameron Cooper
Business Journalist

Cameron Cooper is an experienced business journalist from Brisbane, Australia, and chief writer for Coopermedia.

Cameron Cooper
Business Journalist

Cameron Cooper is an experienced business journalist from Brisbane, Australia, and chief writer for Coopermedia.

  • BYOD policies are associated with security risks and management issues but offer employee flexibility.
  • Leased fleets allow for technology to be upgraded with predictable expenditure.
  • All mobile device policies must maximise security and minimise loss of data and exit risks.

With mobile technology increasingly holding the key to efficient and profitable business operations, it’s time to take the management of this technology fleet seriously and implement smart, cost-effective service solutions.

Spare a thought for today’s IT managers. They are the go-to people when it comes to managing and maintaining sophisticated technology networks, cloud services and mobile fleets that improve businesses and help make them more efficient — from smartphones and tablets to machine-to-machine devices. At the same time they must be across all the latest technology advances and be ready to assess and deploy them quickly in a corporate world that is dealing with digital disruption and opportunities.

man using a tablet, laptop and smartphone
Managing mobile fleets in-house is no longer your only option.

Here’s the catch though. While bosses want technology decisions to contribute to potential revenue drivers rather than adding to costs, IT teams often bemoan the fact that decision-makers in the C-suite don’t always understand technology and the complexity of managing myriad issues, including device configuration, security and backups, application management, end-user support and management across the enterprise

The larger the organisation, the more challenging this can be.
“They want me to do more with less,” is the familiar refrain from the IT chiefs. 

The options — leased, managed or BYOD mobile fleets?

This dilemma underscores the reality that many IT departments have been relying on a modest team of tech specialists with skill sets that may not cover all the requirements of running a modern mobile fleet.

As a result, smart business leaders are considering their options at a time when the rapid uptake of mobile apps, the multiplicity of device types, and a bring-your-own-device culture in some organisations has added additional layers of complexity. Should their tech teams continue to manage mobile fleets in-house, which can be time-consuming and inefficient? Should they lease their mobile fleet from a service provider, which might simplify some tasks around devices and the network while still leaving plenty for the team to grapple with? Or should they opt for a fully managed service and draw on specialist assistance to handle the ever-evolving requirements of mobile technology?

Managed services from a provider, such as Telstra, can help bring clarity to businesses’ decisions about their mobile choices and take the pain out of the rollout and management of the fleet. Whether it involves procuring, activating, maintaining and replacing devices, or providing inventory information and reporting — there is no substitute for experience. 
Much of the basic implementation and administration of such a managed service can be carried out in the background through offsite teams and systems, meaning there is little or no disruption for users. At the same time, the in-house IT department benefits from having additional time to focus on important projects for the business.

Key factors to consider

As businesses weigh up the merits of DIY versus leasing, versus a managed service for their mobile fleets — there are some important issues to contemplate.

1. Limit your BYOD risks

The trend towards letting employees bring their own devices to work has some obvious benefits. It results in a reduced hardware budget and requires less training as workers are already familiar with their own smartphones, tablets and other devices. However, a significant risk exists around the potential for viruses to infiltrate the business’s networks and for sensitive data to be compromised (not to mention that managing and restricting unauthorised apps has also become crucial). 

In addition, identifying and solving problems from device to device can be complicated and inefficient for IT technicians. With a managed service, by contrast, there is greater capacity to ensure that hardware, software and user maintenance is standardised across the entire organisation.

2. Benefit from specialist technology support

An additional concern with a BYOD policy is that employees inevitably end up managing their own devices, which puts the business’s data security and app maintenance in the hands of people who are unlikely to have IT qualifications. If staff are installing unlicensed software, your company could be exposed to costly legal action. 

A leasing or managed option, on the other hand, puts the mobile fleet under the control of tech specialists who can maintain devices on a daily basis and advise on and assist with the procurement of the latest and most compatible devices. This is a better option than having an ad-hoc array of devices that people are juggling for business and personal needs.

3. Weigh up workloads with a leased fleet

Leasing can be an effective means of managing a business’s fleet of mobile phones, tablets and machine-to-machine devices, while giving it access to the latest technology. It can ensure businesses keep pace with new technology, assist in having more predictable expenses and possibly gain from tax advantages. Nevertheless, a leased mobile fleet can still consume a huge amount of IT resources as in-house teams manage and maintain devices, whereas a sophisticated external managed services arrangement can give businesses all the advantages of leasing without the IT maintenance headaches.

4. Maximise your security and reporting benefits

Remote security measures and backups are the bane of the existence of many IT workers. So centralising the management of remote workstations, servers and mobile devices makes sense as a business seeks to improve its data protection and security strategies.

There is also the capacity to address day-to-day problems, such as separating business and personal data through the use of a secure data container, an encrypted area of a device that is managed by software. This means, for example, that when people leave the organisation they can keep their personal photos, but not walk away with sensitive documents.

Allocating such tasks to an experienced external provider builds in efficiencies and gives access to easy-to-read reports on the status and performance of mobile fleets. Such reports can help track expenses and detect unusual calling activities or the abnormal use of monitored mobile fleet devices, as well as provide insights into mobile costs for individual departments and projects. 

If certain services are incurring fees but not being used, or if they are not being used to their full potential, management can be quickly notified. This mobile fleet data breakdown can help educate C-suite leaders and inform their plans for future upgrades and expansions.  
Ultimately, a managed mobile fleet service delivers a single, cost-efficient solution that can help simplify and streamline the rollout of mobile devices and associated inventory management. That leaves your precious IT departments with the time to focus on more strategic revenue-generating projects. It is a sure-fire way to make tech workers – and CEOs and CFOs for that matter – very happy.

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