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Management Tools For Mobile Workers

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Paul Korzeniowski's picture
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Management Tools For Mobile Workers

In the past few years, energy companies deployed mobile devices, so employees could complete their work. The changes came quickly, and in many cases, utilities handled out the compact systems without any way to ensure their proper use. In response, many energy companies are investing in Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions and tightening up their management of these systems.

The pandemic caused a rapid and dramatic change in how work was done. Office employees were quickly sent home and needed new devices in order to complete their work. To enable them to work from home, utilities invested in laptop systems and tablets in unprecedented numbers.

Changes also came to utility service teams. They no longer were able to visit customer sites to make sales, install new devices, and maintain existing equipment. They also were outfitted with mobile systems and used collaboration systems, like Zoom, to complete their work.

Open Up New Security Holes

The changes came unexpectedly. As a result, energy companies often did not complete the due diligence needed to ensure that the proper checks were in place. In certain cases, employees worked with open wireless home networks, leaving company information open to outsiders.

As utilities began to understand the repercussions from the switch, they looked for ways to ensure that the mobile systems were used appropriately.  Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions provide energy companies with the ability to monitor mobile end points and ensure that corporate information is protected.

MDM Interest Booms  

Integration is one attraction with these systems. Previously, energy companies deployed autonomous solutions to oversee each type of mobile device and in some cases, each variation (say an Apple iPhone and a Google Android systems). MDM solutions consolidate the management functions, so techies control all mobile devices from one console.

The management tools come from vendors, like Blackberry Ltd., Cisco Systems Inc., Citrix Inc., IBM, Microsoft Corp., SAP, VMware Inc., and Zoho.  Worldwide revenue is expected to grow from $5.5 billion in 2021 to $20.4 billion by 2026, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 29.8%.

These solutions offer potential benefits but also present utilities with a few challenges. Energy companies have little to no experience with the tools. Therefore, they may need to contract with third party specialists to understand the systems.

In the past few years, energy companies quickly rolled out a hodgepodge of mobile devices to employees. MDM solution offers them the opportunity to create order from the chaos but present their own deployment challenges.

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