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Tuesday, 30 October 2012 17:56

imei takes the pain out of BYOD management


Sydney company imei is helping large organisations deal with the growing problem of managing thousands of smart devices accessing corporate applications.

The BYOD phenomenon and its attendant security and management problems have been widely reported. Every market research company has had a crack at forecasting the market, and the number of players offering mobile device management and security products has multiplied to meet surging demand.

But no matter how many device management tools an organisation employs it still needs to address the overarching problem of managing all aspects of mobile devices - those it supplies and those belonging to employees - used to access corporate data and applications.

Apart from the high profile issues of securing corporate data there are the more mundane tasks of managing accounts with mobile service providers, allocating expenses to different cost centres, providing support to users on all aspects of their devices.

Sydney company imei provides all the services and - rather surprisingly given the market need - claims to be unique.

"We don't believe there is anybody in the market today doing exactly what we are doing," founder and CEO, Tim Fussell, told iTWire. "There are lots of organisations doing bits and pieces."

"We are an enterprise mobility management company," Fussell explained. "That means we keep people connected. We keep their company information confidential and secure using a variety of mobility management tools and we give the client complete control over the expenses related to the carrier and to the support of their devices.

"We have over 50 people in [our headquarters] in Frenchs Forest and a number of technologies we have developed around procurement of mobile equipment, the asset management of that equipment and to manage the carrier contracts and all the carrier information and to manage the carrier's bills.

"It is a combination of all those things that give us the ability to provide lifecycle management."


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The company started life in 2000 as a Telstra dealer, named Techhead Interactive) and is today a Telstra Enterprise Partner. It was one of the first companies to support such as the Palm V, Palm Treo, the first Windows phones by Compaq and HP and some of the first BlackBerries introduced in Australia.

While it will supports devices on any network its primary relationship is with Telstra and, as a Telstra Enterprise Partner it has direct access to Telstra systems.

"We have the ability to support a device on any carrier anywhere in the world, but we only sell services on Telstra," Fussell said. "Telstra as a carrier is an important part of our offering, but our strategy long term is to be multicarrier and multinational... and Telstra engage us in opportunities where they have a requirement to do what we do."

imei focuses on corporate and government with large fleets of mobile knowledge workers using smart devices to access complex data sources such as SAP, ERP and other corporate applications. Its 'sweet spot' is organisations with fleets of 2000 mobile devices and above - its largest customer has 15,000 and it manages over 50,000 devices in total. Customers include Leighton Contractors, Accenture, HP, Microsoft, Rio Tinto, PwC, Ernst & Young and Cisco.

imei supports Android, Apple iOS, Blackberry OS, Symbian and Windows Phone and uses products from a number of vendors including Mobile Iron, Airwatch, Zenprise, Good Technologies, Afaria and McAfee to support and manage its customers' devices.

Fussell said: "We will support an organisation with a few hundred devices but we are not actively targeting them because it is more expensive to support them and the returns are not there.

"The offering we have is A-Z procurement to end of life and that is the ideal way to use our service. A lot of companies don't want the whole support model, but there are economies of scale for us and for them in doing the whole thing."

imei claims that companies can save 35 percent or more by outsourcing their enterprise mobility management and if out of hours support is required the savings can be as much as 65 percent. It estimates that an organisation would need one full time support person for every 500 devices.

imei business solutions manager, Angelo Lo Certo, said: "A lot of large organisations are trying to do this themselves but what they can do is fairly limited compared to what we can do."

Fussell said he was not aware of estimates of the size of the market imei addresses, but expected the to grow as mobile applications became more critical to companies' operations.

"There has been a lot of talk of BYOD. I think there will always be an element of BYOD but as organisations start to see the benefits of adopting mobile technology there is going to be a swing back to corporate devices.

"We are seeing a lot of organisations move from BYOD to company wide deployment. There are so many corporate benefits, some that can completely change the way people operate. Overnight an app can surface that can completely change the way a company operates. Then they deploy 500 or 5000 devices, and they look for a management solution."

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