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Q&A: Sprint's take on the future of mobile device management

Brad Reed | Sept. 28, 2011
A question-and-answer session with Steve Coker, Sprint's Business Mobility Solutions general manager for product marketing

You mentioned that this service can work across carriers. Do you even have to be a Sprint wireless customer to use this service?

I would find it hard to believe someone would buy Mobility Management services from us if they're not already buying some kind of wireless service from us, but we don't mandate that you have to have a certain number of handsets from us in order to use Mobility Management.

What have you been hearing from your customers about how their mobile device management needs have changed?

One of things I hear recurrently is that the days in which businesses simply decided to buy certain phones and then support and control them are long gone. Whether the CEO wants his latest favorite gadget to be incorporated into the infrastructure or something else, IT departments are being impacted by the consumerization of IT. They now just want to push that complexity onto somebody else. If there's one thing I hear from people it's that, "It's just too complex, there is way too much going on and my business needs to be focused on what we do as part of our core business." So they want to find someone to take care of these problems for them.

How have tablets changed the equation for your business customers in terms of managing mobile devices?

It depends a lot on whether the business is acquiring the tablets or whether the employees are bringing the tablets in themselves. If the businesses are providing the tablets they typically have both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity. If employees are bringing them in they tend to be Wi-Fi-only devices. If the company is providing the tablets, they are going to take a more proactive approach when it comes to having corporate data on them, so they'll want a cellular connection to make sure they can enforce remote wipe and other security policies more easily. When they allow Wi-Fi-only tablets to connect to their networks it's largely on a Web-only basis and they aren't letting them have access to business applications with sensitive data on them.

What do you think is the most important upcoming trend is for mobility and how will it relate to enterprise users?

For businesses the most significant trend that is emerging is beginning to recognize that mobile devices are fundamentally different than PCs, laptops and netbooks because they were designed from the outset with GPS and location-based services and many businesses haven't grasped what those capabilities can do. For instance if you're paying your sales force based on mileage reimbursements, you typically have them keep track of their miles and file a report. But if you turn your phone into a tracking device you can both automatically file mileage reports and you can get more accurate data. I think you'll see more businesses behaving that way in the future and that will move the market in that direction.


 

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