Harness EMM data to improve your mobile operations

Your enterprise mobility management platform holds a wealth of data that can help you transform your business. Here are some ways to tap into EMM and MDM data to support your mobile workforce and bolster your business processes.

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There’s more to enterprise mobility management (EMM) and mobile device management (MDM) services than keeping mobile devices, apps and data safe. These platforms also generate a wealth of data that you can harness not only to boost your mobile security but to enhance your business operations too.

“All the EMM vendors are putting a lot of work into developing analytics,” says Andrew Hewitt, mobility analyst for Forrester. Smart businesses can take advantage of EMM analytics tools for everything from automating device provisioning to streamlining employee workflows.

Here are some ways you can use EMM data to help your workers and advance your business practices:

Apply EMM analytics to IT automation

Hewitt says analytics tools provided by today’s top EMM platforms allow customers to use in-house data to automate IT admin actions and improve the employee experience. “We see more focus on automation using [EMM] data ingested into an analytics engine than we've ever seen before,” Hewitt says. “I think we're losing a lot of the heavy lifting that was inherent with mobile device enrollment and management overall because of the automation.”

With automation tools in place, a user can log into a new device or PC and have their profile, configurations, apps and policies downloaded to the device automatically, Hewitt says. User identity tools work in tandem with automation to make device enrollment and onboarding a seamless experience for users. Any way you can save users a trip to IT can go a long way toward improving the employee experience.

Such automation is still maturing, Hewitt says. He places Microsoft in the lead for implementing automation via EMM, but other EMM vendors are following right behind to improve their automation features.

Sharpen day-to-day device management

Diane Conde, senior manager of the EMM Management Services team at IT services provider Tangoe, says her team focuses a lot on teaching clients EMM best practices. A lot of those lessons are about day-to-day management of devices.

“As we're working with clients, one of the things we try to highlight for them is the fact that we can't do anything with [the devices enrolled in the EMM platform] unless those devices are communicating,” Conde says.

She leads her clients through a process of focusing on reporting, including:

  • Auto-exporting EMM reports
  • Verifying which devices are communicating
  • Identifying which devices aren’t communicating

Armed with this data, she says, you can clean up your devices or take other proactive steps to ensure that all devices are in communication. You can send the reports to your service desk or managers to take action on the device status.

Learn from EMM data to improve business practices

Conde says organizations can use EMM data to learn more about employee productivity and best practices. Say, for example, you’ve got a highly productive employee, such as a top salesperson. The usage data for that employee shows that she repeatedly uses the same set of mobile apps to do her job. It might be worth investigating and testing those apps to see if you can standardize on them across your sales team.

“We really want to take those practices and leverage them to increase business,” Conde says.

Putting Conde’s advice into practice means working with line managers to get their input on the productive employees they want to learn more about. Then run the appropriate EMM reports about those employees for management analysis. You can then share those best practices in training sessions and other meetings with your teams.

Channel endpoint data for staffing forecasts

Ed Fox, VP of mobility for IT and telecom services provider MetTel, does a lot of work in the retail sector. With digital transformation initiatives ramping up and the increasing competiton between brick-and-mortar retailers and e-commerce, the retail workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, both on the store floor and in the supply chain.

His clients often use MDM portals to run analytics behind their employees’ app use to help forecast staffing needs for a given region or store. All it takes for you to open this data to your staffing team is to create a dashboard view into your EMM data for them, he says.

Monitor cloud services adoption

You can use EMM data to monitor your employees’ cloud services adoption, according to Ojas Rege, chief marketing and strategy officer of EMM vendor MobileIron. He believes it’s essential to the business because you can find out if your employees are using the technology you deploy.

EMM data can show mobile client app downloads versus usage, as well as how many (and which) users are accessing the specific back-end cloud applications. When you consider the licensing, testing, integration, deployment and training costs associated with rolling out a secure cloud service, it’s important to know whether employees are adopting and using the application, Rege says. If you don’t know those things, then you can’t make intelligent decisions moving forward, he adds.

“I think that notion of application insights or service adoption becomes really important, because it ends up feeding into whatever ROI mechanism the company is using to determine what they should invest in next,” he says.

Assess employee workflows to gain a competitive advantage

Businesses can also use EMM data to assess and improve employee workflows to gain an edge over the competition, according to Rege. “What really drives competitive advantage with mobile is when it changes your workflows, and it changes your business,” Rege says. “That’s where you really get value, because that’s where you start taking steps out of a process or making a process better.”

Streamlined workflows can improve customer experience (CX) and help free up workers for more customer-facing tasks, Rege says. One example is mobile devices replacing cash registers at the Apple Store, Nordstrom, and other retail outlets. Not only can customers pay for their purchases right away, avoiding the checkout line, but the practice puts more store help on the sales floor. Often these mobile devices outnumber the stationary cash registers. Behind the scenes, the mobile devices are data collection points for customer and worker data that feed into back-end analytics, providing even more actionable data for strategic planning.

Your EMM data combined with SaaS application logs can help you analyze the applications your users access during their typical workflows. If you have workflow issues such as repeated errors or abnormally long lead times with customer orders, you can bring that data together to answer the following questions:

  • What tasks are workers performing?
  • How often are workers using a SaaS system from their mobile device?
  • What data is being input by your workers?
  • How’s that data being used during the course of their work?
  • What are the usage trends during the day?

Armed with answers to these questions, you can begin streamlining processes and make future platform decisions to help worker productivity.

We are still at the early stages of being able to use mobile data to tweak and improve workflows, Rege says, but the possibilities are promising enough to start exploring now if you have the EMM data and analytics tools in place.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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