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Q&A: Sprint's take on the future of mobile device management

Brad Reed | Sept. 28, 2011
A question-and-answer session with Steve Coker, Sprint's Business Mobility Solutions general manager for product marketing

For a while now we've known that smartphones can create lots of potential headaches for IT departments, whether you're securing multiple platforms or managing telecom expenses through multiple carriers.

Sprint Tuesday announced it would try to give its business customers a hand with its new Sprint Mobility Management services that will give IT departments a choice of three mobility management partners to work with to meet their needs. Sprint says when customers sign up for Sprint Mobility Management they can choose Bluefish Wireless, Manage Mobility or Vision Wireless to provide them with a wide variety of mobile device management services that work across different networks and device platforms.

With this announcement, we thought it would be a good time to catch up with Steve Coker, Sprint's Business Mobility Solutions general manager for product marketing, and get his take on how Sprint is adapting its enterprise mobility services to meet challenges in a quickly-changing mobile market.

Can you talk about what each of your three providers brings to your customers and why you decided to give customers access to three different providers in the first place?

Overall we really wanted to provide four different capabilities around managed mobile services. The first is device life-cycle management, where companies determine how do they get the right devices with the right software out to their employees. The second area is telecom expense management, where customers can ensure across multiple carriers that they are utilizing their services in the most efficient manner possible. Our third is enhanced care that provides customer service for businesses using multiple carriers. And the last is mobile device management security that helps businesses make sure they've got policy management, remote wipe, and the ability to determine what apps can and can't be loaded onto devices.

All three companies we're partnering with have services in all four categories, so rather than having to mix and match across partners you can pick one partner and work with them across all the services. It used to be back a few years ago that the telecom industry had a walled-garden approach. We've been proactive in having a more open approach where we have partners we bring to table but we don't tell you, "You have to buy from this one." We wanted to have a portfolio of providers that had different capabilities and strengths. One partner might have expertise in integrating with Oracle Back Office, while another might have expertise with a particular interface for mobility management services. When we go out and have conversations with our customers we want to understand what situation they're in and what their configuration looks like. We then recommend which of our three partners works for every individual customer.


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