What does a complete mobility management solution look like? There’s so much going on here that attempting a back-of-the-envelope drawing is becoming futile. But a big part of the solution is managing mobility expenses, and a new announcement from Visage Mobile enables a big step forward in this key aspect of mobility.

Just what is mobile device management? I've spoken with a whole bunch of folks in recent weeks about this matter, and I've yet to come up with a diagram that can be adequately represented in three dimensions. There's a lot here, and well beyond the security, provisioning, remote wipe, and etc. that are part of most people's definition of MDM.

In fact, broadening our view of mobility management quickly reveals that MDM alone is insufficient. I have proposed Mobile Operations Management (yes, MOM) as the all-encompassing term for mobile device management, mobile applications management, mobile policy management, and mobile expense management. With respect to the latter, MEM is often viewed as a branch of traditional Telecom Expense Management (TEM), but the problem with most TEM solutions is that they are fundamentally after-the-fact - as in once-a-month way after the fact, and thus not useful for real-time cost monitoring. But one can still post-process telecom usage information and thus determine the right mix of plans, policies, and services over time.

But with the shift to wireless as the primary or default communications vehicle for so many in any given enterprise, and with costs here far more variable in nature than with landline services, having real-time visibility into costs is far more important to the success of the organization and to mobility overall than a once-a-month look. Perhaps the number-one complaint I hear from enterprises regarding mobility - after coverage, throughput, and reliability, anyway - is costs exceeding plan and having no good way to deal with this core challenge.

Enter the announcement today of Daily Insight from Visage Mobile. Visage Mobile's MobilityCentral is a MEM tool that integrates device inventory (including personally-liable devices) and activity information, allowing a very deep online analysis of usage and costs. It's easy to spot trends and potential major problems and to take appropriate action (one can even send an e-mail to a given user reminding them of, um, anything that might need their personal attention) and thus prevent costs from getting out of hand. Daily Insight, as the name implies, increases the frequency and currency of the data analyzed by retrieving (via an agent on the device) data directly from the mobile device, providing even better visibility into usage and cost. There's an online demo at Visage Mobile's site if you want to take a look, but this element of a MOM solution is one that deserves the attention of any enterprise telecom manager.

As for a definitive look at MOM - I'm working on it, but there's obviously a lot to consider here. In the meantime, I was very impressed with the power and flexibility of MobilityCentral, and I think you'll find this service interesting - and likely quite valuable - at the very least.

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