How Enterprise Device Lifecycle Management Helps Organizations

person looking at tablet

Your team relies on numerous devices to collaborate, communicate and get work done. Each device has unique requirements for security and ongoing maintenance and support, with different operating systems and update cycles. Enterprise device lifecycle management (DLM) helps you stay on top of these processes and get the most value from your mobile fleet.

Enterprise DLM helps you maintain your organization’s fleet of mobile devices, including phones, tablets and laptops, and point-of-sale devices to ensure they’re up to date and performing well. If you’re looking for ways to manage and optimize your mobile devices and processes, this article is for you. 

Learn how enterprise DLM helps you take control of costs and realize greater returns.

What Is Enterprise Device Lifecycle Management?

Enterprise DLM is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of mobile devices in an enterprise, from procurement to retirement. This covers stages such as device enrollment, configuration, security, monitoring, support and end of life.

Enterprise DLM is an ongoing process that involves multiple overlapping phases and activities. These include enrolling in mobile device management programs, maintaining users, device and data security, and ensuring responsible disposal of hardware and data.

Common Enterprise DLM Phases

Enterprise DLM consists of several phases. Not all devices are in the same phase at the same time, nor will they always follow the same schedule. However, most devices pass through these phases:

  • Planning: Determining device needs and creating a plan for acquiring and managing these devices. 
  • Procurement: Acquiring devices, either through purchasing or leasing. 
  • Deployment: Configuring devices and installing software.
  • Maintenance: Undertaking ongoing efforts to keep devices in good working order. 
  • Reporting: Collecting and analyzing data about device performance and usage. 
  • Reallocation: Reassigning devices as employees enter and exit the company. 
  • Retirement: Decommissioning devices and disposing of them in an appropriate manner.
  • Inventory: Managing an accurate list of devices, services, providers, and users. 

How does this lifecycle play out in real life? For example, your organization hires a new employee and needs to provide a company device. With enterprise DLM, there’s a process to ensure that each device is properly configured and secured before the employee takes possession.

Over the employee’s tenure, your organization tracks the device, monitors its usage, manages software updates and protects sensitive data with mobile device lifecycle management. Finally, once the device is near retirement, your organization wipes the device and disposes of it. The cycle begins anew as the employee is assigned a new device.   

What Are the Benefits of Enterprise Device Lifecycle Management Strategy?

Many businesses struggle with managing device ‌costs and security, not to mention maintaining employee productivity. Enterprise DLM helps you take control of mobile processes and devices in a systematic, repeatable way. Here are some of the key benefits.

Improved Mobile Device Management

Implementing an enterprise DLM strategy contributes to mobile device management excellence. By maintaining an accurate inventory and keeping employees up and running with secure and compliant working devices, risk is lowered and business continuity is always on. Plus, with monitoring device performance, usage patterns and user feedback, you can identify which devices are best suited to which types of work. 

This helps ensure that employees have the right tools for the job, whether on-site or remote, which improves their productivity and job satisfaction.

Increased Security

Enterprise DLM strategies contribute to increased security because you’re actively tracking and installing security updates and patches, protecting devices from vulnerabilities and mitigating other security risks. 

Security measures such as endpoint protection and access controls will ensure that only authorized users have access to enterprise-owned devices and data. By keeping track of all devices and knowing who is using them, you can quickly identify, lock or wipe lost or stolen devices.

Centrally Managed Resources

Enterprise DLM reduces IT support costs by simplifying the process of managing mobile devices. When all devices are centrally managed, your IT department can quickly identify and resolve issues, deploy updates and manage software licenses.

Streamlining mobile device management improves efficiency and productivity, notably by freeing up IT resources to focus on other projects that add value to your business.

Better Cost Control

By tracking and analyzing device usage and performance, you can anticipate when devices need upgrades or replacements. You can also see which devices are most used by employees, including by function. Understanding how your employees use devices and which devices are most helpful can inform your purchasing strategy.

When you have a clear understanding of your mobile device inventory, you make better purchasing, budgeting and forecasting decisions. You avoid overspending on repairs, device replacement and on buying devices that your workforce doesn’t need. 

What Are Common Enterprise DLM Challenges?

Ongoing enterprise DLM requires organizational discipline and resources, as it’s not a one-time step. Here are some challenges with adding enterprise DLM and maintaining the program over time.

Managing Large Amounts of Inventory

Keeping track of every device in your enterprise is a complex task, especially with devices at different stages of the lifecycle. Even tasks that should be simple, such as invoice processing, can become time-consuming and complicated when you’re managing a fleet of devices.

Devices regularly become obsolete because they hit their natural end of life, break down or are lost, or because new technology supplants them. Managing the deployment, disposal and replacement of large amounts of inventory can be challenging, especially considering security and potential regulatory requirements around disposal. 

The risk of loss, theft and damage to devices and sensitive data stored on them increases with the size of your inventory. Inefficient processes for managing inventory can also lead to delays, errors and additional expenses to manage.To avoid these challenges it helps to triage devices, rapidly assessing root cause issues in order to accelerate repairs.

Ensuring Compliance

Compliance is an essential but challenging aspect of managing devices. Regulations related to data privacy and security are constantly evolving, requiring extra care and diligence to ensure you’re meeting today’s needs (and anticipating tomorrow’s requirements). 

Adapting to Technological Changes

The technology landscape is constantly evolving, adding pressure both to maintain the devices your employees need and keeping up with the latest trends.

Maintaining Budget Constraints

The cost of procuring, storing, maintaining and disposing of a large inventory of devices must align with your overall budget while accounting for potential technology and device upgrades. Without effective lifecycle management, you’ll spend more than expected on device support, repairs and replacements.

Addressing Hardware and Software Issues

Users inevitably run into issues with their devices, whether user error, software bugs or hardware failures. Addressing these issues quickly and effectively is difficult as your enterprise grows, especially if you don’t have an enterprise-wide management plan.

How Do You Get Started With Enterprise DLM?

The key to enterprise DLM success is understanding your needs and finding a DLM services provider that alleviates the challenges of device support. Learn more about aligning and optimizing DLM processes.

Conduct a Device Audit

Start by auditing and optimizing your device inventory and spending. This audit should cover information such as brand, model and operating system. This information is the foundation for your enterprise DLM inventory and strategy, helping you identify areas of improvement. 

Define Your Policies and Procedures

The next step is to review and update your policies and procedures. This step includes establishing guidelines for device procurement and deployment, management, maintenance and the end-of-life process. Your policies should align with your enterprise strategy.

Thoroughly document your policies and procedures, and communicate them to employees.

Review Enterprise DLM Options

With policies and procedures in place, review the available options for enterprise DLM. Look at factors including cost, ease of use, scalability and compatibility with your existing devices. Because this system will serve your entire enterprise, look for providers that offer comprehensive yet customizable solutions. 

Choose an enterprise DLM solution with 24/7 support during implementation and for ongoing maintenance and management. This ensures you have access to help when you need it. Define your needs for outsourced services providing bill pay support as well as employee on- and off-boarding services. Consider whether your provider offers repairs certified by device manufacturers and consulting services that help with RFP processes and contract negotiations.

Monitor and Assess Results

After your solution has been implemented, monitor and assess your results by tracking metrics such as device utilization or support requests. Enterprise DLM is an ongoing process, so you can continue to review performance and improve results. Work with your solutions provider to identify ways to enhance cost savings or better ways to analyze performance or improve uptime.  

Are You Ready to Embrace Enterprise Device Lifecycle Management?

You need an enterprise DLM provider that understands your unique needs and challenges. Each organization’s fleet  will look, function and operate differently. Your devices likely span a range of services, brands and carriers. Your IT department has a lot to do, and you need a partner to take on the important but time-consuming and complicated work of managing all the lifecycle stages involved in fleet management. 

Effectively implementing an enterprise DLM strategy saves money, increases security and improves overall management of mobile devices. Not only will you optimize your devices and make your employees’ lives easier, you’ll also get the most value out of your investment. Learn how Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) by Tangoe can simplify, manage and optimize your mobile devices and processes.