Managed Mobility Services (MMS) vs. Mobile Device Management (MDM) – What’s the Difference?

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Managed mobility services (MMS) and mobile device management (MDM) are often confused with one another within the world of enterprise expense management. They are closely related but distinct, each with its own focus on the technology (e.g., devices) or services (e.g., mobile optimization) relating to mobile communications for larger enterprises. 

Managed mobility services focus on the services component with respect to mobility management for enterprises. The services provided by your TEM/MMS provider will include expertise support. Examples of MMS areas:

  • Mobile optimization analysis
  • Mobile help desk support
  • Asset tracking
  • Mobile device procurement

Mobile device management: On the other hand, MDM places its focus very pointedly on the direct processes and mobility tools used in managing mobile devices. These would include devices such as tablets and smartphones. 

MDM process-related tasks that focus on more technical areas of mobile device management help to enforce security policies, update software applications, and monitor mobile device usage. Examples of MDM support focus areas:

  • Mobility configuration support
  • Mobility security support
  • Mobility monitoring

Let’s review in some more detail some typical services that roll up under each of these mobility support areas.

5 Common Managed Mobility Services Management Areas

1. Mobile expense management

These services provided by an MMS provider focus on the audit and optimization of mobility services, their associated mobile plans, and their corresponding expenses.

Important activities such as carrier and other vendor management, along with usage monitoring and expense analyses are conducted to ensure the right services are secured at the most competitive costs throughout the full mobility lifecycle.

2. Mobile content management

These services will help enterprise expense management organizations both secure and proactively manage mobile content. Specific areas include data protection, file sharing, and document management.

3. Mobile help desk and service support

A strong expense management and MMS provider will provide robust user support to ensure your employees are able to maximize the use of their mobile devices. Your MMS provider will provide technical subject matter expertise, along with mobility best practices and industry knowledge to overcome any technical issues related to their device or the mobile technology platform as needed.

At Tellennium, for example, we provide 12×5 and 24×7 support with certified mobility subject matter experts. Most MMS providers will provide similar services but be sure to inquire in detail about their approach to support, as support approaches will differ between expense management vendors.

4. Mobile procurement and workflow support

A strong mobile procurement and order management system will serve each point within the full mobility lifecycle. A competent MMS provider will help your internal expense management team optimize and fully automate for the most effective real-time management of your organization’s mobile devices and provide clear visibility into the full universe of your company’s devices.

5. Optimized invoice processing for mobility services

An MMS provider will bring a powerful SaaS platform to the table to assist with enabling powerful automated workflows and configuration capabilities that allow the team to adapt, as necessary, to your organization’s unique needs. The platform should also provide insightful mobile analytics.

At Tellennium, for example, our process will collect, audit, enable chargebacks, and pay all invoices via an efficient and highly automated workflow. The system will also flag billing errors and variances, providing clear visibility into this piece of your expense management process.

Now, let’s review five common mobile device management areas, which, as noted, focus more on the mobility devices component with respect to mobility management for enterprises.

There is a similar overlap relative to naming for some service areas. And please note that each vendor will have slightly different names for said services.

5 Common Mobile Device Management Areas

1. Mobile device inventory and asset management

Your expense management provider will work to help support your team in properly tracking all mobile devices throughout the entire mobile lifecycle. Support areas typically include mobile provisioning, device configuration, and device retirement.

And strong inventory management is critical for all enterprises and for all services, both wireless and wireline.

2. Mobile security and compliance management

All devices and mobile applications must be properly secured, and all organizational policies and procedures enforced. Typical features include remote wipe support, device encryption support, and compliance reporting.

3. Mobile help desk and user device support

Technical support for mobile device and application issues will often be supported by help desk support teams, online knowledge centers, and/or user portals. It’s important to note the utilization of both direct support personnel and self-help resources via knowledge center and user portal access.

4. Mobile network management

Maintaining and proactively managing mobile network connectivity is important for large enterprises these days, especially so given the proliferation of mobile communications throughout the world (e.g., Wi-Fi, VPNs).

5. Mobile application management

Enterprises need to proactively manage their mobile applications and devices throughout the full mobility lifecycle in our modern era (e.g., distribution and retirement). A strong enterprise expense management / MMS partner will also vigilantly monitor security and application compliance for your organization.

Final Thoughts on MMS & MDM

Strong mobility support is key to all modern-day large enterprises. When seeking support for mobile device management or managed mobility services, take your time when speaking to expense management vendors providing one or both mobility offerings.

Different providers will usually have a stronger focus for either MMS or MDM and each will have slightly different terminologies they use, which naturally adds to the confusion in this area.

We hope this article helps even if the main takeaway is that the MDM focus is primarily on securing and managing the devices themselves, so it’s very device-centric.

Conversely, MMS is primarily focused on a comprehensive approach to managing all your organization’s expense management needs related to mobility. It will focus on encompassing support for all services, applications, and devices throughout your entire organization and throughout the full mobility lifecycle

If you’d like to consider Tellennium in your TEM vendor comparisons, contact us to schedule a brief demo of our solution.

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Call now for a no-cost or obligation demo. (800) 939-9440


Rob Halik is a Senior Analyst at Tellennium, specializing in Managed Mobility Services, Telecom Expense Management, and Utility Bill Management. With over 25 years of industry experience, Rob provides enterprise expense management insights to help businesses optimize their operations and reduce costs. This article is a collaborative effort by our expert team members at Tellennium, including Greg McIntyre, Shawn Veitz, Matt McIntyre, and Todd Givens, who collectively bring over 100 years of industry experience.

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