The day will come when the term “mobility” disappears, which may be sooner than you expect. That’s because computing and mobility have become so interlocked that eventually there will be little or no distinction between them.
Consider this: In 2015, Gartner Inc. predicts that more than 2.2 billion smartphone and tablet devices will ship compared to 325 million PCs. In addition, the mobile device management market is expected to reach $3.94 billion by 2019, according to MarketsandMarkets.
What does this mean? The fusion of mobility and computing spells opportunity—one that remains largely untapped for managed service providers. While some MSPs have built successful mobility practices, many are still trying to figure out their role in this space and how to monetize the opportunity.
If you are like many MSPs, you know there is high demand to deliver, manage, and secure mobile solutions. The question is, how do you fill that demand? There are plenty of factors to consider when launching a mobility business; here are five tips to get you started:
- Assess customer demand. It’s clear a lot of corporate work is being done on personal and/or company-owned mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops. As an MSP, find out the goals of these businesses for mobile and propose a strategy to do it securely and productively. Seek out the corporate buyers: CIOs, chief security officers, and IT managers, as well as the influencers: CFOs, COOs, and line-of-business directors to identify client needs. Work with them to assess their mobile environment and deliver an end-to-end solution that supports their mobility initiatives. MSP mobility offerings can include implementing a BYOD program, developing and deploying applications, providing mobile access to content, or securing sensitive data on mobile devices.
- Evaluate your portfolio. Before seeking out new vendors, look at your existing portfolio. Most remote monitoring and management (RMM) platforms have some basic mobile capabilities built in, such as mobile device management (MDM) and mobile app management (MAM). Find out what capabilities your existing vendors offer and whether they fit your strategy. It’s always easier to work with vendors you know than to forge new relationships.
- Consider vendor expansion. If your vendors can’t meet your customers’ requirements, start evaluating other solutions. Review each offering to determine the particular demand they address, such as facilitating collaboration or securing access to corporate data. Does it integrate seamlessly with leading email, directory, and collaboration apps? Does it centralize policy and security management? You should also determine if you need a solution that takes a horizontal or vertical approach, based on your customers’ requirements.
- Evolve service offerings. For MSPs, figuring out how to add value to mobility solutions is essential. Simply reselling and deploying a product isn’t profitable, nor does it fit into the utility service/recurring revenue model. Successful MSPs design, integrate, and provide ongoing support for end-to-end mobile solutions that can be tailored to each client’s specific needs. In doing this, they establish themselves as mobility experts, and that’s what you must do to successfully expand into this space.
- Calculate profit. Whether you add new vendors or expand your portfolio with existing vendors, you need a strong grip on what profit margins to expect. Some vendors are better at helping you make a profit than others, but ultimately it’s up to you to price offerings to cover your costs, generate good margins, and keep prices affordable to customers.
Whether your clients are in healthcare, education, financial services, retail, or any number of other industries, they need mobility solutions to make sales presentations in the field, secure online transactions, or facilitate collaboration. Mobility is the future of computing, and as an MSP, the time is now to start shaping yours.
For more on how to build a successful mobile business practice, check out CompTIA’s tools and insights available online here.
DAWN FARRELL is CompTIA mobility community chair and Sr. channel marketing manager at Fiberlink, an IBM company.