As enterprises struggle with more connections, employee devices, applications and data they are also struggling with the need to manage all those things. Until recently, enterprise IT had been relatively straight forward. Everyone was issued the same kinds of devices and connected to the same applications in the same ways – all under the careful control of IT and corporate policies for data access, handling and sharing. Employees, however, are increasingly using their own devices and need access to numerous applications outside the friendly confines of the IT department. There are corporate app stores with everything from ERP to Facebook. Applications and content come from the enterprise, suppliers, partners and even customers. The only thing that hasn’t changed is that IT is still responsible and the enterprise will be ultimately held accountable for any failure, security breach or unseemly behavior.
Service providers are increasingly using customer management as a way to maintain a consistent view of each customer based on what they order, use, and are billed for. The foundation for this level of customer management is a centralized product catalog and catalog-driven order management. And that is the challenge now facing enterprises.
There is a need to understand what is available, who should have access, and who pays. Enterprises now need that same level of centralization and automation to make sense of the volume and variety of devices, applications, connectivity, and users. Enterprise user management is becoming every bit as complex as management of retail communications customers and requires the same level of OSS/BSS support.
An Order by Any Other Name is Still an Order
Giving enterprise users and devices access to corporate networks, infrastructure and applications is becoming a complex and involved process. It’s not acceptable or secure to give every employee, supplier, partner or customer the keys to the IT kingdom.
It’s even more dangerous when that kingdom extends beyond the control of IT. New users and devices are constantly being added and deleted while existing configurations and privileges are being continually modified and updated. All of these “orders” need to be recorded and tracked along with the rules, thresholds, and policies that apply to each configuration. The kind of dynamic order management functionality being deployed to align the service provider order management process and drive self-care is now needed by enterprises to accept, configure and track the devices being connected by employees, partners, suppliers and customers.
Most enterprises try to keep track of the PCs, phones, tools, and vehicles assigned to employees but those records are incomplete at best and most don’t keep tabs on configurations, applications, or content at all. Requirements for governance, regulation, and reporting necessitate better tracking of users, their devices and what they access. Enterprise-wide order management combined with mobile device management (MDM) put important customer, device, configuration and usage data in one place to enable remote device configuration and control who gets access to what.
An “order” or request is entered by the user, order management puts together the “offer” or configuration based on specific user attributes and MDM is used to download the configuration over-the-air and monitor the device. Order management and its associated enterprise product catalog is the source of record for devices, configurations, connectivity, user information and status. Order management and the product catalog also drive self-care and the help desk so that the data available to both users and technical support is consistent.
Accommodating Connections of All Kinds
A large Korean electronics manufacturer recognized the need to support all of its employees, partners, suppliers and dealers with any combination of devices connected in every possible way. As demands on IT and the employee help desk exploded, existing systems could no longer adequately support users. Looking beyond traditional IT sources, the enterprise purchased an OSS/BSS stack to establish an enterprise product catalog, manage internal service orders and drive employee self-care. The new solution implements a streamlined process for device and user on-boarding and keeps better track of devices, access and configurations. The company anticipates operational savings, improved security, fewer lost assets and better management of connected devices and users.
Enterprises are quickly realizing that IT users can no longer be tightly controlled. Whether bringing their own devices or using remote connections, employees and external users of all types need to be properly configured, tracked and managed. A foundation of dynamic order management, centralized product catalog, MDM and user management makes that possible.