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Blog: Is Ensuring Mobile Availability a Weak Point in Today’s Enterprise?

by | Sep 19, 2018 | Managing Mobility

How lessons learned from telephony highlight the need for always-on, always-available enterprise mobile

I was in a board meeting back in the 1990s when Dr. Arno Penzias used the term “dial tone is from God” as we discussed how technology could always provide dial tone even if the power was out and everything else was failing.

Dr. Penzias was the Chief Scientist at Bell Labs / Lucent, and for those who might recognize the name, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist awarded the prize for his work on the Big Bang Theory. He was making the point that the public switched telephone network (aka landlines in today’s vernacular) was always on, always available.

Over the years, various telecommunications regulators forced this notion of an “always available” connection and created rules with names like “lifeline support” to show how critical an always-available communications connection was for mankind to ensure that calls could be made during an emergency.

The public switched telephone network established battery technologies to ensure that a phone in any building could establish a connection. They also created operations centers to monitor and manage all equipment needed to ensure a minimum of “5 Nines” or 99.999% of uptime and availability throughout the year.

In the enterprise, providing dial tone for corporate phones and an always on / always available connection to anyone who needed it was paramount for success. This caused internal networking teams, carriers and an entire ecosystem to focus on providing their own Five-9s of availability of voice circuits throughout the corporation.

This same mentality spilled over in the 1990s to corporate intranets, with Network Operation Centers quickly adopting Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and other means to ensure constant availability of “web tone” to computers and servers.

Within the enterprise today, all telephone networks are designed for very little tolerance for failure as are all LANs and connections to the Internet.

But what about mobile in the enterprise?

As we move into the second half of 2018, it’s apparent this same need for always on connections now extends to the mobile side of the enterprise, but most support teams do not have the resources and tools critical to the task.

As VDC and others have shown, over a 3-5 year period, the costs of mobile outages can easily be 80% or higher of the total costs of mobility (TCO) due to lost productivity, IT support costs and other soft costs which are often overlooked.

With mobile now becoming more and more of a critical link to the customer experience, either via field workers using mobile to interact with customers, retail sales associates using mobile for all transactions in store, pilots using mobile tablets in the cockpit to fly the plane, or warehouse personnel trying to fulfil same-day delivery orders, the costs of any mobile outage on the business can be steep.

If landline technologies were critical in the past to keep business running, then always on, available mobile devices and connections are even more critical today.  And yet the complexity of the mobile environment, with constant changes in apps, operating systems and devices, plus the dynamics of devices constantly in motion, prone to drops and accidents, causes the very notion of keeping mobility and running almost a fools-folly using existing mobile tools and managed services.

New tools are needed to help the enterprise monitor and manage mobile devices, applications and users 24x7.  And these tools require a constant monitoring level to flag issues as they happen and even predict outages before they do.

We’ll dive into that deeper in our next post in this series, where we explore new tools to both alert those in charge of mobility to any potential issues with mobile devices, and give them the actionable insights needed to quickly isolate and resolve issues to provide the highest level of uptime and reliability possible.

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