Multinationals have some important priorities when it comes to mobility. Ovum asked 40 multinational corporations (MNCs) in Asia Pacific about the importance of various mobility issues. The priorities rated as extremely important include cost management, security and the cost of international roaming. The MNCs surveyed also cited integration of mobile voice with the corporate PBX, mobile UC and mobilizing data applications as emerging priorities.
A major problem that multinationals face in bringing mobility under control is the decentralized and uncoordinated development of mobility within the organization. Unlike other aspects of IT, mobility has tended to infiltrate organizations from the bottom up. While we see some advances in the creation of global frameworks, the procurement and operational aspects of mobility are still typically national.
About half of MNCs in the region already have some type of framework agreement where they can separate national contracts with a common set of terms and tariff structures. This is significant progress when compared to a couple of years ago, but more than 70% of the MNCs in Asia Pacific still have national contracts.
As a result, national providers of mobility services in major markets, such as India and China, are still highly important, even if decision-makers have assigned central responsibility for their mobile strategy on a super-regional or global basis. We think IT managers should push these major national providers to develop a more centralized approach, or they should seek alternative providers that can help them integrate services on a global or regional level and bring spending and usage under control.
Given the difficulties MNCs have in coping with the various aspects of mobility, it is no surprise that interest in managed mobility services is growing. Such services help MNCs handle relationships with mobile service providers, manage the device fleet, roll out and manage secure data applications, analyze invoices, and allocate costs back to departments or users.
Some service providers are recognizing these customer demands and a growing number are offering elements of managed mobility, which may include contract management, expense management and device management.
In addition, there is increasing pressure to allow employees to use their own devices in the enterprise, and our research reflects this trend. The proportion of companies with a policy of only providing company-liable devices is expected to fall to under 50% within two years. This adds another element of complexity. CIOs must evaluate providers that recognize this trend and make sure their device management capabilities and partnerships evolve to reflect this need.
International plans also need to be considered by CIOs when defining solutions and suppliers. Asia-Pacific-headquartered MNCs entering the international scene should consider their operations and expansion plans into other regions when evaluating providers as potential long-term partners.
Over three-quarters of MNCs headquartered in Asia Pacific have operations outside the region. Among these companies, about 30% of their employees are based in other regions, with North America and Europe accounting for more than half. Providers' ability to extend services consistently into these markets should be considered in the procurement process.
Despite all these questions, there is a good level of certainty about who MNCs expect to provide international mobile services. The majority of MNCs in our survey pointed to a mobile network operator as their current main international provider for mobile services. This is good news for telcos. They are well placed for this emerging opportunity and this is the right time to move.
Enterprises are looking for long-term relationships with their managed mobility services provider, as switching providers normally results in significant costs and disruption for the business.
Claudio Castelli is a senior analyst with Ovum covering enterprise telecoms in Asia Pacific