Mobility

Analytics and reporting can keep a company's mobile users from taking advantage of data plan

Properly implemented analytics and reporting can help you better manage your mobile workforce and keep data roaming charges under control.

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Image: iStock/Wavebreak Media LTD

Analytics and reporting support mobile security by offering IT and security management a picture of the company's security situation. Now, smart companies are extending analytics and reporting to managing billing, user management, and productivity. Increasingly, mobile service management is also going to apply analytics to the mobile workforce of large enterprises.

Analytics and reporting from your mobile security platform

Good Technology includes analytics and reporting as part of their split billing solution. Christy Wyatt, chairman and CEO, said customers can use the analytics and reporting to enforce data reimbursement policies. Analytics and reporting captures and presents roaming data.

Wyatt gave me the example of a senior executive who uses data roaming charges for work, and for play. If you don't want to pay for their data roaming charges while on vacation, then that's where analytics and reporting steps in for mobile coverage.

Wyatt said there is value in seeing data usage in the split billing component of their platform. Analytics as part of a split billing solution can help answer the following questions about a deployed app:

  • Are people using it?
  • Is it a good return on an investment?
  • Should we be doing more of that?

"In order for this to become incredibly valuable, you also have to give them the tools to be able to create strategies around that information that makes their mobility program more effective and more efficient and so the best indicates abilities of our products," Wyatt said.

Wyatt and Good Technology have been applying analytics to mobile security and compliance to help customers see what's in compliance, what's not in compliance within their mobile workforce. This work predates their split billing and analytics work.

"I think that there's many what I call sort of MDM [mobile device management] products that will give you reports on what's in compliance and what's not in compliance, but don't have the intelligence on the device itself to actually change behavior based on that. Again, we think it's important to be both," Wyatt said.

The IT manager needs to be able to see of the status and the health from the security perspective of the mobile estate, and the devices need to be intelligent enough to take action on that information whether they're connected or not.

Analytics, service management and your mobile workforce

Wyatt said service management, a customer focused approach to IT delivery, is going to become an important part of the discussion as well and a critical part of the IT role.

"If you think about the commitment they make to the end-user, that their CRM system is going to be always on or that their financial system is always going to be on and they're held to a service level agreement within mission critical enterprise," Wyatt said. "The same needs to be true for mobile and our mobile service management products are really the reporting in analytics, but also the sort of management that have capabilities that allow you to do those kind of analytics and reporting and policies as well."

Mobile service management can be important when deploying mobility inside large enterprises according to Wyatt.

According to Wyatt, service management tools that companies are already using for service management don't have the requisite features or architecture for mobile service management. Good Technology added mobile service management to its platform after their acquisition of Boxtone.

Analytics and reporting from your cloud applications

Huddle is a cloud-based collaboration platform provider, and there's another angle to reporting and analytics from cloud platforms. Huddle has done a lot of thinking around analytics and mobile/remote workforces while building out their cloud platform and mobile app, according to Alastair Mitchell, president and CMO of Huddle.

Mitchell said he views management and productivity as the two angles where analytics and reporting can help a mobile workforce.

Mitchell said one of the challenges of managing a mobile workforce is understanding where the user is located when they are accomplishing tasks. He points to check-in systems for mobile workers, where mobile analytics monitors in the background that users are working on the right documents and creating new content.

There's also the question of measuring mobile worker output. Mitchell points to workflow oriented mobile and cloud tools that can provide ad hoc views on time and duration of when a user is working and the content they are creating.

Some users may view analytics as being too big brother, but on a positive note, these tools have the potential to free up managers for more strategic and billable tasks according to Mitchell.

Huddle has been working with analytics since they first added an intelligent recommendation engine to their mobile app. The engine recommends documents from Huddle workspaces based on the user's projects and related criteria. TechRepublic has previously covered the company's mobile app, and it's an interesting application with metadata and analytics feeding into the mobile app. As more document repositories move to cloud platforms, there's no way that mobile workers can access every document.

"How do you know what files you should have access to?" Mitchell said. "We'll figure out most of your document needs." He positions the intelligent recommendation engine as a storage problem solver.

"I dislike analytics for analytics sake," Mitchell said. He believes in using analytics in the background to make jobs easier so you and your users don't know it's running.

Analytics can parse out the non-necessary and bring in the necessary for mobile workers according to Mitchell enabling user productivity.

Mobile workforce health as seen through analytics

The analytics and reporting running behind mobile security and cloud platforms are the start of the analytics and mobile workforce discussion. There may be a need to wait for wide-spread adoption of mobile service management platforms to see the discussion spread across industries.

However, if you raise the discussion around analytics and reporting in your organization to include your mobile workforce, the next step is to review the analytics and reporting tools available in your mobile security solution and cloud platforms to ensure they are configured and working correctly. It's then best to be as transparent as possible to the impact and benefits of analytics and reporting on your mobile workforce.

How are you using analytics and reporting to better manage your mobile workforce?

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About Will Kelly

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

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