What is EMaaS?
Enterprise Mobility as a Service (EMaaS) has emerged as a solution to IT challenges, enabling you to outsource mobile-related tasks to specialist providers.
Mobility is now a strategic priority for businesses of any size. When employees have access to their office services on any device and in any location, they can remain in contact, maintain productivity and efficiency, and collaborate easily. (This also applies to employees who operate in the field as well as staff who work from home or remote locations.)
However, managing mobile devices, developing and deploying apps, and securing the data they carry is putting a massive burden on IT departments. The situation becomes more complex if you offer employees a Bring your own device (BYOD) program, increasing the range of devices IT must manage.
Enterprise Mobility as a Service (EMaaS) has emerged as a solution to these challenges, enabling you to outsource mobile-related tasks to specialist providers. This can help accelerate adoption of mobility, reduce support costs, improve security, and free the IT department for other strategic development tasks.
Scope of EMaaS
EMaaS service providers offer a range of cloud-based services to meet your specific needs. Gartner includes the following functions in the service: software distribution, policy management, inventory management, security management and service management for smartphones and media tablets. In that sense, it resembles PC lifecycle management.
Providers charge a monthly service fee, similar to other hosted service providers, with charges levied on a per-device or per-app basis. The aim is to provide a more efficient service to manage mobility and reduce the burden on IT, as well as shift mobile infrastructure costs from CAPEX to OPEX.
As a result, the Managed Mobility Services (MMS) market is expected to grow from $4.56 billion in 2016 to $19.40 billion by 2021, according to research firm Markets and Markets. The firm believes that the market is in the introductory stage and is expected to exhibit expansive growth in future years, driven by faster adoption among small and medium businesses.
This level of support is essential if your business wants to increase mobility. While equipping service engineers, sales representatives, and other field-based staff with smartphones and tablets is standard practice, many businesses now focus on giving other employees greater flexibility. By offering your staff the opportunity to work from home, you can increase employee satisfaction and improve recruitment and retention levels.
By outsourcing mobile deployment and management to a service provider, you can scale mobile adoption quickly and effortlessly.
BYOD programs deliver important productivity and employee satisfaction benefits. However, they have also increased the complexity of mobile management and introduced greater security risks.
By giving employees the choice of their own devices, IT departments have to manage and control a wider range of models, operating systems, software versions and apps. Additionally, IT can lose a degree of control over the security of confidential data on personal devices, which are not subject to stringent corporate security policies.
By outsourcing to an EMaaS provider, you can pass the problem of managing multiple devices and operating systems to specialists with experience across the range of mobile solutions.
Protecting corporate data on mobile devices is essential. If a device is lost or stolen, the IT team must be able to locate the device and, if necessary, wipe the data to prevent unauthorized access.
With BYOD programs, imposing corporate security policies and practices may contravene privacy laws. Corporate data is also at risk when it is transmitted to and from mobile devices over the Internet. If your business is subject to regulatory compliance or client service level agreements that specify security levels, you must ensure that the data is secured throughout its life cycle.
EMaaS providers can help improve security by monitoring and enforcing security policies on all devices and controlling access to the corporate network. They may also apply security measures to individual devices and update them with patches and other updates as needed.
Working with an EMaaS provider gives your business greater flexibility. You can roll out mobile applications and devices faster in line with individual or departmental needs without impacting the IT workload. You can also offer a wider range of devices and apps without having to rely on limited skills within the IT department.
EMaaS is available as an end-to-end solution, where a service provider takes total responsibility for mobile services, or you can opt for a hybrid solution where you retain some aspects of mobile management within the business.
The hybrid approach may be useful if your business is subject to regulatory compliance where it is important to retain control over security and access. You might outsource app development and management, but retain device management and security in-house.
Accelerating app development
EMaaS providers can help improve mobile productivity and efficiency by taking responsibility for developing and deploying apps. Your employees may have a choice of using apps developed by your IT team, or solutions available from an app store.
Outsourcing development provides access to specialist expertise and resources, which can accelerate time to deployment, and subsequent business benefits. Service providers can also take on the task of customizing existing corporate or commercial apps.
Service providers can manage app deployment, providing a self-service registration facility for users, while managing patches and updates from the cloud. This helps ensure that all employees benefit from the latest versions of mobile apps.
From a cost perspective, your business does not have to invest capital in development infrastructure or commit resources to developing and deploying apps or customizing them for different devices and operating systems. You do not have to hire specialist IT staff or administrators. Plus, EMaaS is available as a pay-as-you-go service that can be scaled to your business needs.
EMaaS for your business
You can decide whether to provision devices, develop apps, manage policies or hand over complete mobility management to specialists. The flexibility of EMaaS means that you can choose the level of service that is most suitable for your current or planned mobility deployment.