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Mobile Mentor: From smartphone mentoring to Microsoft Partner of the Year

By Nick Forrester, 09 Sep 2021

20 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to remote working has been well and truly established. And while many countries and jurisdictions have begun to open their doors and offices again, many workers and employers have opted to retain a remote workforce.

For most, the rapid shift turned out to be a bit of a ‘culture shock’ — especially for large enterprises, where the process of getting everyone in the workforce to set up at home, with remote devices on remote networks, was herculean.

But not all companies shared that same experience in the early months of 2020. Some, like Mobile Mentor, were ready.

For years now, the company has specialised in empowering remote workers — securing devices and helping people be more productive in the way they work. Their expertise in this field gave them the resources, tools and know-how to weather the COVID crisis, and help others do so.

Fast-forward to today, and Mobile Mentor has been awarded a Microsoft Partner of the Year Award for modern endpoint management. So how did they get there? Mobile Mentor managing director Randall Cameron says the company’s success has been to move with the technology as it changes: at its inception, Mobile Mentor was focused on mentoring people on how to use mobile phones, spending an hour with each person who bought a new smartphone, doing all the set-up and personalisation. 

That was a roaring success — but as smartphones became simpler and people got smarter, the business model needed to shift. So Mobile Mentor added tablets and laptops, software like Office 365, and developed custom apps – essentially providing the tools for the remote or mobile workforce. 

“We started with Nokia devices running Symbian OS as the platform of the day which today seems very very outdated,” says Cameron. 

“Set-up was one at a time. Cloud management was not even a concept. One by one, we sat down with people and helped them to get the most from their new device.

“Just a couple of years later BlackBerry turned up running the BlackBerry OS.  The big difference was not the OS, the keyboard or the awesome email experience — it was in the backend and the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).”

Unbeknownst to Mobile Mentor at the time, BES would set the scene for what was to become Mobile Device Management (MDM) as a category. 

Not long after, the iPhone was debuted, and Mobile Mentor once again found themselves moving technology to a new operating system in iOS — and to new management tools from a raft of start-ups looking to capitalise on the wave of iPhones being used at work. 

“Eventually, managing multiple devices to satisfy employee choice became the hot topic along with BYOD,” says Cameron.

“Device management was raging.”

Taking a page from this mobile OS journey making waves around the world, Microsoft set out to make Windows 10 more mobile — and with that, Modern Device Management was born.

“Companies started asking themselves: ‘Why can’t I deploy laptops to my staff like I do with mobile phones?’ and ‘Why isn’t my PC fleet always up to date like my smartphone?’

“This takes us to today where once again we acted early to identify this market opportunity to challenge businesses to think differently about how they manage their Microsoft OS devices with Windows 10," says Cameron.  

“Just because you managed them one way for the past 20 years does not mean you should for the next 20.”

Now, in the wake of the disruption caused by COVID-19, all devices are mobile devices. So how did Mobile Mentor’s work in the mobile devices and endpoint management lead to its eventual Microsoft Partner of the Year achievement?

“The crux of the award was taking our 15+ years of mobile learning from the very first cloud-managed devices, and translating it to businesses so they could continue to deliver their services throughout COVID,” says Cameron.

He says the market has opened wider and is more important than ever before. 

“With remote work now the norm, if you are still shipping devices to a central office to be manually configured to then on ship them to the employee, you are really missing a trick.”

To learn more about Mobile Mentor, click here.

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