How to Get Executive Buy-In on Mobile Device Management

Pitching an idea to the c-suite executives at your job can be intimidating, to say the least, whether you are in middle management, first-line management, a team leader or a non-management employee. Not only can there be a valid fear of potentially negative consequences if it falls flat, but it can also be challenging to develop a strong and persuasive enough pitch to make it worth your superiors’ time and not have it fall on deaf ears.

However, there are also times when the importance or potential benefits of the pitch override those doubts and fears, driving you to bring the presentation before upper management regardless of the outcome. In many workplaces, one of those important issues is mobile device management (MDM). While executive management once brought the laptop into the workplace in a top-down fashion, IT workers and those closer to the ground are leading the charge for MDM as they experience the increased productivity and efficiency that MDM can bring.

If you are in that position of wanting upper management to incorporate MDM into everyday operations for the benefit of the entire organization, this article offers a step-by-step guide to developing a strategy for getting c-level buy-in for mobile device management.

How to Get Executives to Buy Into the Benefits of Mobile Device Management

1. Do Your Research

When taking on a project of any kind, research is always the first step to success. When it comes to persuading an executive team on a significant decision such as incorporating mobile device management into their organizational structure, or any other pitch for that matter, the importance of adequate research is magnified.

While the executive team at your place of employment may not be well-versed in the concept of mobile device management, they will most likely be able to tell if the person delivering the pitch has done their research on it or not. Furthermore, although MDM is a relatively new technology, there is a good chance that at least some of your senior executive team will have a working knowledge of what MDM can offer.

2. Identify The Issues Result From Not Having Mobile Device Management

As you do your research on MDM, start the way you want to go. That is, do your research according to how you want your pitch to be ordered. With that in mind, you will want to begin your pitch by grabbing the attention of your senior executive team right off the bat. A great way to do that is by drawing their attention to the pressing issues that besiege productivity rates due to not having an MDM solution in place.

To do so, you may want to focus on the ubiquity of personal mobile devices at the workplace. We are two decades into the 21st century, so the vast majority of employees will have a smartphone or tablet that they use to navigate their everyday routines and responsibilities. Furthermore, most of those employees will bring those devices to their place of employment, and many will link them with corporate emails and other resources.

In addition to using personal mobile devices for corporate purposes, the presence of that device for an employee at their workplace also opens the door for them to use apps and sources that are outside of corporate control and authorization. Not only can unmanaged personal mobile devices decrease employee productivity, but they can also become a security or compliance issue for companies that lack an effective MDM solution, as employees can potentially expose organizational data to third-party apps or cyber-attacks without intending to or being aware of doing so.

Security issues such as data breaches can negatively impact an organization’s reputation, not to mention the high expenses of dealing with the fallout of a data breach. If your executive management team does not think that a data breach or other security issues are likely to happen to their organization, you could show them a statistic from a 2017 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute that approximately one in four organizations will experience a data breach at some point.

That tidbit will likely get their attention! Once you have it, the time is ripe to talk about the benefits of MDM.

3. Identify the Benefits of Mobile Device Management

Once you have thoroughly researched the issues of not having an MDM solution at your workplace, shift your focus to the tangible benefits MDM can yield for the entire organization. Starting your pitch with the issues of not having an MDM solution can put the benefits of having one in proper context in ways that also make MDM appear as an essential technology for your organization. Some benefits that you may want to focus on in your pitch include:

  • Ease of access and use: MDM can be initiated on a workplace device without any user interaction. A member of the IT department can remotely send the necessary information to the employee’s mobile device for linking to the company’s VPN. From there, the IT department can set up accounts for employee emails, calendars, contacts or apps to facilitate workplace communication or productivity so that employees can step right into those accounts without wasting company time setting them up on their own.
  • Supports and leverages the use of personal devices: MDM can easily support devices that employees bring from home, also known as a BYOD or bring-your-own-device policy. If your organization has adopted a BYOD policy, MDM can work with that, so your executive team will not need to worry about extra costs in that regard. Of course, employees need to give their consent for MDM to work on their personal devices. This can help with morale and productivity, as employees can use a device they feel comfortable with while also decreasing distractions, as the IT department can implement a proxy server on the devices with allow-lists and block-lists for certain websites or apps.
  • Increased productivity: MDM can increase employee productivity in numerous ways. Since it involves remote access, IT support can automatically and efficiently address any IT issues with a person’s device, dramatically reducing time lost as employees wait for IT support to fix their problem. Furthermore, you can also use MDM to keep employees off of certain websites when using their MDM-controlled iOS or macOS device, which can minimize distractions and sharpen their focus on the task at hand.
  • Improved IT support and updates: Time lost due to IT issues can be frustrating for everyone involved. With MDM, if an employee has an issue with their device, it can be fixed from the IT support person’s computer IIS server, as the IT department can automatically manage the device without needing the user’s password. An MDM solution can return valuable productivity time to the employee and company by speeding up IT fixes. Furthermore, the IT department can also remotely update all devices on the network whenever changes are made within the network. Consequently, an MDM solution can ensure that all devices on the network are compliant and up-to-date with organizational policies and systems at all times.

  • Enhanced security: As mentioned, using personal devices for corporate purposes in the workplace can potentially compromise organizational data, financial information and other data to unfriendly sources. MDM solutions can blocklist apps and sites that put company data in peril, remotely erase data from a lost, stolen or obsolete device, employ device tracking and enforce several other security measures that keep pertinent organizational data safe and sound.
  • Cuts down on data safety costs: in addition to preventing expensive data breaches, MDM can also save the company from excess spending on data safety measures. While MDM will come at a price, that price is typically less than the costs of constant updates to data safety systems and mobile device compliance.

4. Identify Potential Questions or Concerns

After you have identified the benefits of having MDM and the issues that come with not having MDM, you want to anticipate the objections, concerns or questions that the senior-level executives will throw your way. Answering such concerns with something along the lines of “I hadn’t thought of that” or fumbling through an incoherent answer will translate to upper management that you are unprepared and have not done adequate research. They will likely dust the proposal under the rug in such circumstances.

So added to your research itinerary should be a deep dive into common questions and concerns about MDM from senior-level executive teams,  problems other IT departments and organizations have encountered when implementing MDM as well as the potential problems that could arise with the incorporation of MDM into your particular organizational structure.

Some questions that you could consider and conduct further research on include:

  • Will the MDM successfully integrate with the current systems used in our organization?
  • What kind of firewall or host environment will the MDM operate behind?
  • How will the MDM balance security measures while also increasing morale and productivity?
  • Will the MDM help the organization identify unnecessary expenditures and reduce costs?
  • Does the MDM solution mesh well with the organizational strategy and ethos?

5. Develop Your Pitch

Once you have all the information needed to bring forth your proposal to senior management, the next step is to craft that information into as persuasive a package as possible. In many ways, the presentation of the information is as important as the information itself. If your specialty is more within the area of research than design, you may want to enlist someone particularly skilled at the aesthetic aspects of a presentation to help you craft the perfect pitch.

When developing your pitch, keep your specific audience in mind. Who are they? What motivates them? What do they value? What is their specialty within the industry? It may be helpful to find out their specific views on MDM if they are familiar with it, as well as what they perceive to be the best ways to improve productivity and security within the organization.

Likewise, frame the benefits of MDM and the issues of not having it within the context of your specific organization. Doing so will make the proposal much easier for the executive team to relate to rather than question why they should be interested in it. Connected to this idea is timing your proposal to deliver it precisely when the executive team is likely to be the most receptive to it.

It is also important to manage emotions — your own and those of your audience — that is, communicate your passion for the idea without instilling a defensive response in your audience. You want to invite your audience to join you in your passion for the idea rather than blame or humiliate them for not incorporating MDM sooner.

6. Involve Other Team Members

There is power in numbers, as the old saying goes, and it rings true when bringing forth a proposal to upper management. The executive team is more likely to be receptive to a proposal if it has the weight of many employees and other management staff in favor of it than if it appears as a fringe concern. To that end, involving other members who hold considerable influence and favor within the organization can be particularly instrumental to the eventual success of the proposal.

Not only will involving other team members strengthen your image before senior-level management, but it can also improve the strength of your presentation when you utilize the talents and skillsets that the various members have. For example, one team member may be particularly adept at research, while another may have a knack for public speaking. Divvying out different roles in this way can optimize your proposal by playing to each team member’s strengths.

7. Suggest Solutions That Will Work For Your Team

Finally, back up your proposal with practical and creative solutions that can be implemented into the organization efficiently and pragmatically. Anytime a person points out a problem without suggesting a feasible solution, their proposal is more likely to be met with frustration than genuine contemplation. Doing so will require consideration of financial matters, the time and effort it will take to implement MDM and the MDM solution that will work best with the existing infrastructures in the organization. With that in mind, the more hands on deck you have for crafting the pitch, the easier and less time-consuming the overall project will be.

Start the Conversation About MDM Today

If you are ready to get executive buy-in for MDM at your workplace, our team of MDM specialists at Orchard would love to get you set up with our Apple Device Management services. Please feel free to contact us for an assessment, quote or any further information you would like about our MDM services today!