“There is increasing popularity for applications to support field force and sales force workflow management. Overall, customers are looking to increase their productivity for field staff.”
Craggs says that over the next 12 months, as well as seeing existing managed services increase in penetration, we will also see a new breed of requirements for the area. He says things such as lone and vulnerable worker mobile applications, driven by recent changes in health and safety legislation, will come to the fore. Also, he adds: “Managed services will need to support a broader level of applications and company policy, driven by the trend for devices to support both consumer and business applications. We will also see niche vertical sector applications coming out.”
While Cordingley says: “There will also be a greater uptake of mobile applications such as location based services, mobile security including anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-malware, and anti-theft, credit card transactions, and informational services.”
How to sell
The managed services market is being driven by a need for increased efficiency and productivity, and the desire to be different to the competition in order to create and retain a competitive advantage. This can be achieved through better use of technology, says Craggs. However, organisations are looking for their partners to demystify the technology and potentially manage these services, he claims.
A recent survey by the Aberdeen Group highlighted the mobile applications that businesses were most interested in exploiting over the next year. Most popular were diagnostic capabilities, job management, customer feedback and scheduling. Claims Perry, given the difficulties businesses have in integrating and supporting these business critical applications within their mobile networks, the popularity of these tools as managed services, whether from dealers, operators or specialist integrators, looks set to rise over the year.
Yet evidence in research from Vanson Bourne suggests that currently the mobile industry is not working with managed services to their full potential, says Perry. “One in four of those surveyed blamed the potential failure of mobile projects on the mobile industry’s lack of experience in supporting business customers. There is clearly an untapped market of business customers for mobile dealers; dealers should be targeting these customers with tightly focused managed service packages to enable them to make the most from their mobile strategy, while also expanding the dealers’ own pool of customers.”
Perry adds: “Directly or indirectly, managed services benefit all parts of the business mobility eco-system. Most obviously, customers can take advantage of the huge breadth of services available that would be inconvenient, if not impossible, to implement and support by themselves. Mobile operators and mobile dealers can use the valueadded dimension of managed services to encourage uptake from potential customers, for example by bundling various managed applications, such as scheduling and resilient email, as part of a business mobility package.”
A large number of businesses are still unaware of the benefits of hosted services, Seeman notes: “There’s a big marketplace to go at and plenty of revenue that can be generated. The main benefit of selling hosted or managed services is a regular margin over a prolonged period of time. This margin can be further increased by bolting on extra products and services or adding more users as the relationship with the customer progresses. This is a real value add solution, which can improve customer stickiness and reduce churn.”
While Salvin concludes: “My advice to any dealer would be to find a service provider who can add to their existing package, and to move into their customers’ business as much as possible. You can’t just sell a phone any more; you need to look at email, fixed line networks, applications and other communications devices, and try and integrate them together.”
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