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Who manages mobility in your organization and why does it matter?

The department or person managing mobility within enterprise organizations varies from company to company. However, getting the right person to handle the mobile needs of your business can make a big difference in terms of what you’re getting out of your cellular plans and service.

According to Michael Finneran, president, dBrn Associates, there is a person or a small group of people who buy cell phones and services. In most cases they will be in IT, but there are cases where they are still part of a general purchasing or accounting function — kind of like telecom was in the old days.

“This is actually one of the big problems we have in advancing mobility, because the people in charge are essentially accountants not networkers,” says Finneran. “That is, they analyze usage, negotiate cellular contracts, manage the distribution of handsets, and monitor the outcome with some type of TEM system.”

“That’s a tough job, but it’s only one aspect of what they should be looking at,” says Finneran. “If you tell someone they’re in charge of cellular, they’re not going to think about doing mobile voice over WiFi (the not-my-job problem).”

Finneran says this is also a problem for the IP PBX and UC guys who are trying to sell these mobile things, because there’s a good chance they have never had any contact with the cellular folks; they’re talking to the traditional telecom buyer. It does give an inside track to someone like RIM whose BlackBerry MVS FMC-adjunct is being sold by the cellular guys, because they are talking to managers (i.e. “accountants”) who are responsible for cell phones.

Our resident mobility expert, Caroline Gabriel, co-founder and research director for Rethink Research Associates, says that there’s a lot of conflict in many large companies over managing mobility as companies move to converge voice and data.

“The IT director and team used to buy data/IP services and the telephony department — usually reporting to the finance director — bought voice and mobile,” explains Gabriel. “In a larger and more technologically advanced company, we tend to see it all coming under the IT director.”

Gabriel says that in medium-sized companies — those less advanced in UC — it’s more likely to be the ultimate responsibility of the FD, often with a purchasing group from both the phone and data sides. With the recession, companies are more likely to put the FD in charge of mobility.

“In many cases, it’s a mess and leads to a lot of internal politics, but the companies that have an IP-oriented person, usually from the IT heritage, make the product or services choices, seem to see better results,” says Gabriel.

Who manages mobility in your organization?

If you have questions about mobility, please send them to Caroline Gabriel or view her responses to other readers’ mobility questions.

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