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Enterprise travel: 3 reasons to adopt a global SIM approach

February 15, 2019

Tim Sherwood   

Vice-President – Business Development, Mobility & IoT Solutions, Tata Communications.

Once upon a time, travel SIMs were for tourists only, advertised in the pages of in-flight magazines or sold at airport kiosks. They were used on a pre-paid basis for a week or two, then abandoned. Fast forward to today and the picture is very different.

Many enterprises are increasingly adopting a ‘mobile first’ strategy to unleash employees from their desks and enable them to work on-the-go, with seamless access to applications and data. Despite this effort, traditional connectivity options for travelling employees are not without compromise, especially when it comes to using enterprise applications.

These options include local roaming operator plans, switching off data roaming in favour of local Wi-Fi and a second SIM (either a standard travel SIM or local prepaid SIM). Yet, all these options lack usage and security controls and can lead to unpredictable costs – i.e. bill shock – not to mention a poor user experience that leads to reduced productivity.

Clearly a fresh approach is needed to solve this problem. But deploying seamless, cross-border enterprise mobile communications services can seem challenging. For a start, mobile network operators are licensed on a national basis. This often restricts enterprises to dealing with a single network in any given market, without giving them control over policy management needed for consistent and cost-effective connectivity. What’s more, with around 900 mobile operators operating across 200 countries, it’s prohibitively complicated and expensive for an enterprise to negotiate its own roaming agreements to offer their employees truly seamless cross-border mobile experiences.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel: an innovative global SIM approach is set to transform mobility for enterprises and employees alike. The benefits this approach offers compared to existing solutions are clear.

 

1. Better user experience

With a global SIM, quality of service (QoS) and experience (QoE) are managed and supported by a single service level agreement. This helps deliver a consistent user experience no matter where in the world employees are travelling, enabling them to access applications and data reliably and securely just like at home. This in turn leads to increased workforce productivity.

 

2. Easier management

A global SIM approach enables the enterprise to replace hundreds of roaming relationships with a single aggregated contract with a global connectivity provider. Through a management portal, the IT team is able to define the boundaries of each employee’s mobile usage, from time and cost through to application type. For example, the use of data-intensive applications like Netflix might be restricted for all employees. The global SIM approach therefore simplifies the management of mobile connectivity and services globally, helping to not only reduce spend but also ensure that mobility costs are far easier to predict too.

 

3. Security, security, security

With more and more enterprises falling victim to hacking and other security breaches over the past couple years, and regulations like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposing hefty fines on those that fail to safeguard their data, security is at front of mind for many.

Unscrupulous individuals can use unsecured, public Wi-Fi networks to infiltrate enterprise networks and stage devastating attacks on businesses. These attacks can bring a business to its knees, halting operations and revenue generation, and causing huge reputational damage.

A global SIM approach helps protect the enterprise network, and by extension it’s revenue and reputation.

 

Why the time for global SIM is now

The global SIM concept is new, but it is rapidly gaining popularity amongst businesses in different sectors. It is particularly beneficial for enterprises where travelling is an inherent part of the business.

The airline industry is one obvious example: the global SIM can be used by pilots and cabin crew to access passenger and cargo data and flight plans, anywhere, anytime. But it’s also ideal for global sports series. Motorsports and golf are just a couple of examples of sports where events are held in different parts of the world throughout the year, requiring hundreds of staff to stay seamlessly connected, no matter where the next competition takes place.

With a global SIM approach, mobility can be seen in the same way as the worldwide web and cloud infrastructure. It is all about empowering employees with anytime, anywhere access to applications, data and a range of communications and collaboration services. Simply put, creating truly borderless mobile experiences.

As enterprises look to reinvent how they operate with the cloud and the latest digital platforms, and become mobile-first businesses, it’s time for the SIM to be reinvented too.

Read more about how borderless mobility is empowering global enterprises here.