Mobile enterprise presents a huge opportunity for service providers. A recent research report by STL Partners, found that less than half of enterprises have no formal enterprise mobile strategy or mobile device management (MDM) solution in place.
The report also found that more than half the enterprise market would consider buying enterprise mobility solutions such as mobile app development platforms, managed mobility services, enterprise app stores and mobile apps from telcos.
Enterprises want to buy from telcos because, in their eyes, enterprise apps belong in a telco’s portfolio: a telco offers network expertise, one supplier, the ability to add on services and simpler billing.
The problem, though, is that enterprises aren’t buying from telcos because of data security concerns, lack of business process expertise and lack of app development expertise – and because, of course, operators aren’t selling the services they want to them.
A diverse set of digital requirements
The issue is that operators often don’t have the systems in place that can support the extremely diverse set of digital requirements that enterprises have, often because their enterprise mobility strategies are at various stages of maturity. These range from ‘wait and see’ to ‘ad hoc’ and finally, ‘preparing for take-off’, according to the STL report.
This is compounded by the fact that telcos’ own mobility programmes themselves aren’t very advanced. This means there is a disparity between what services telcos are offering, or planning to offer, and the services enterprises would consider buying from telcos. Telcos underestimate enterprise demand for custom apps but “application development simply isn’t regarded within the industry as a suitable activity for an operator.”
Telcos, therefore, have a number of challenges to address in order for enterprises to buy from them, including keeping pace with employee demand, mobile security and delivering digital application development.
Meeting enterprise demand
Without first evolving their own enterprise mobile strategies, telcos will not be able to meet the demands of enterprises hungry for services. At a practical level, they need agile new systems that can compete on a solid technological level, as well as offering flexibility for new business opportunities. Legacy telco billing systems are preventing them from evolving digitally. Traditional systems are unable to respond to increased requests for digital services, resulting in lost opportunities, missed commitments and unmet financial objectives.
In a report sponsored by MDS(2), industry analyst firm Stratecast examined the current state of cloud-based billing for business customers and found there was a need for telcos to move beyond the traditional business process and systems management in order to meet the needs of their enterprise customers as they digitise the services they bring to market.
Mobile and cloud technology enables enterprises to manage their users with a variety of new digital business models, yet the support from the mobile networks to enhance, improve and innovate in these areas is often missing, the report found.
Telcos’ inability to respond rapidly is due to the lack of configurable billing and charging systems, and flexible processes. This precludes them from adapting to changing market demands, including new network technologies such as LTE, virtual networking and virtual data centre services.
The solution lies in the cloud
A private cloud-based charging, billing and customer management solution model is one way to meet the expectations and demands of today’s digital marketplace because it enables enterprises to bring services to market quickly, and as frequently as required. To accelerate speed to market, a managed service model can bring a number of advantages over a licence and services approach. Customer management tools, systems and processes delivered as a managed service, including third party interfaces, can help reduce CAPEX, improve cost efficiency and enhance overall customer experience.
With a customer management solution that provides enhanced real-time charging and billing capabilities in place, a telco can respond rapidly to and meet the changing requirements of today’s digital enterprise.
 ‘Telco 2.0: The $50bn Enterprise Mobility Opportunity: What's stopping telcos winning 500% more business?’, STL Partners, http://www.telco2research.com/articles/Enterprise-Mobility-Telco-Opps
 ‘Cloud-Based Business Management is a Growing Alternative for Monetizing New Technology and Changing Business Strategies,’ November 2014, Stratecast Perspectives & Insight for Executives (SPIE), Volume 14, Number 43