Managing Cellular Networks to Reduce Wireless Spend

Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Andy Willett, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at NetMotion Wireless.

As we all know, mobile technology is growing at a remarkable pace. According to a recent Yankee Group report on the "New Mobility", mobile computing is the largest computing shift ever. Starting in the early 2000's and forecasting into the 2020s, mobile computing will account for more than 10 billion devices. Compare that to the PC computing era, where at its inception and spanning over the same time period, accounted for only 100 million devices.

But what does this mean for businesses? It's critical for organizations to adopt a mobile technology deployment strategy, particularly for those that have a large number of mobile workers who are roaming from location to location. Giving these workers access to back office information and systems greatly improves their productivity and the bottom line, while at the same time helping to serve customers more quickly and efficiently. It's a win-win situation.

The challenge comes from the mobile worker's reliance on cellular wireless networks. These employees aren't always near a secure wifi connection, so they use aircards and modems in their laptop or handheld devices to operate off of public cellular networks. These networks allow mobile workers to access information remotely, but how can organizations manage them? How can IT staff see what carriers deliver the best value for the geographic areas their workers are in? And what networks are the most reliable and where?

Obviously, organizations spend a lot of money for their cellular plans without a lot of insight into how many times their coverage was dropped, or what cards are being used with what plans. And they spend a lot of time troubleshooting coverage issues with little to no visibility. Fortunately, now organizations can put together a plan to start monitoring the performance of these cellular networks.

A cellular network performance management initiative helps businesses optimize their mobile data deployments by measuring the performance of cellular networks, tracking aircards, and measuring data use against rates and more. This information is essential for ensuring employee productivity and preventing over-spending.

Cellular network performance initiatives require organizations to collect valuable diagnostic information from their employees' devices. Using software, staff can collect this information, build data coverage maps, generate detailed device, network and application reports, expose poor network performance and more. IT staff can troubleshoot connectivity issues quickly, compare and select carriers based on real performance data, and choose the computing devices and data networking cards that provide the highest productivity for their mobile workers. Ultimately, this saves a ton of time for IT workers, who may often spend up to a week troubleshooting one coverage route, or one aircard. With this insight, they can quickly pinpoint the source of the problem and eliminate the wasted cycles.

Cellular visibility also helps organizations reduce wireless deployment costs by identifying under-utilized or unused mobile assets. Inventory tracking enables IT staff see all of their deployed mobile assets, who they are assigned to, how much they are used and what firmware version is installed. See a plan that isn't being used? Close it or give it to workers who need it more.

As more employees become mobile, and organizations invest in more mobile technology to support them, it's important to have clear visibility into performance and the data required to make informed decisions and purchases. Organizations already ensure the detailed management of their internal networks, so why should cellular-based deployments be treated any differently? Make plans today to get a grip on your mobile deployment.

- Andy Willett, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, NetMotion Wireless

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