Mobile Device Management and Mobile Expense Management—what’s the difference?

In this age of digital transformation, mobile connectivity and devices play a critical role in running an efficient and productive business. But as companies adopt more agile ways of working and embrace the move towards cutting edge cloud-based applications, most encounter a range of challenges in administering mobile assets, applications, services and infrastructure.

Help is at hand in the form of powerful tools that enable you to automate and simplify many of the processes involved in managing the mobile workforce. But in an industry with so many acronyms and tools flying around, it can be difficult to keep track of the different solutions in the marketplace, and what they’re used for. Some of the tools sound as if they’re interchangeable, but they’re not. Mobile expense management and mobile device management (MDM) are cases in point. Let’s take a closer look.

What is mobile device management?

MDM refers to a set of tools and practices that enable an IT team to simplify, automate, control, and secure the administration of mobile devices. This set of tools is primarily used to control the more technical side of your mobile fleet. MDM solutions enable you to enrol, configure, monitor, and secure mobile devices; enforce security policies (like multifactor authentication and encryption); distribute applications; and track, manage and wipe devices remotely.

MDM solutions are evolving into a cutting edge class of tools called unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions that enable you to Windows, Linux, Android, iOS and Internet of Things devices in a holistic way in a single console to simplify operations. With a smarter MDM/UEM framework in place, you can rest assured that security policies in a hybrid working environment are enforced coherently and that IT admin overhead is minimised.

What is mobile expense management?

Mobile expense management is less concerned with the technical side of running your mobile business and more on the financial side. It’s a subset of technology expense management—the tools and practices companies use to optimise telecoms costs and streamline management of ICT services and vendors. Smarter mobile expense management tools help you keep track of service providers, devices and usage in real-time. It involves monitoring, controlling, and optimising the costs associated with mobile devices and services.

Whereas MDM helps to simplify IT administration, mobile expense management helps you to streamline financial admin associated with monitoring and managing voice, data and device costs. A smarter platform will let you monitor and control 3G APN data and voice costs in real time. You can track individual users, teams, and entire departments by identifying usage trends as well as prevent overspending and bill shock. Some of the features you’d expect to find are:

  • Detailed tools for spend analysis, budget tracking and forecasting
  • Automation of internal cost allocation and verifying of your billing rates
  • Integration with service request systems to enable the ordering and altering of infrastructure
  • Tools to help employees track and allocate their expenses as business and personal
  • Automated alerts and usage notifications to help users track costs
  • Collection and verification of expense data directly from multiple service providers
  • Functionality to streamline invoice processing and payments
  • Analytics insights to guide contract negotiation and optimisation
  • A centralised asset database spanning hardware, software, licences, subscription services, infrastructure, and mobile devices

Many mobile expense management solutions can be extended to also simplify the management of other technology expenses, such as fixed-line, wide area network (WAN) and cloud usage, spend and performance. A full-featured technology expense management system can guide your business towards FinOps in your cloud environment and help you to keep a tight leash on costs even as you accelerate digital transformation.

Both have a role to play

Mobile expense management and MDM are essential for organisations to effectively manage their mobile technology resources and expenses. Knowledgeable CIOs and finance teams will work together to use both classes of solution to drive better performance and make the best possible decisions about their mobile workforce and environment.

Do you want to simplify your ICT ecosystem and accelerate your ROI? We can help. For more information about what we do, get in touch with our knowledgeable experts.


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