Magazine Article | March 26, 2013

Best Practices For Enterprise Mobile Device Management

Source: Field Technologies Magazine

By Randall Light CEO, Ovation Wireless Management,

The shifting sands of the MDM (mobile device management) landscape create challenges for enterprises.

The rapid growth and evolution of the MDM market are creating challenges for enterprise IT organizations focused on securing mobile endpoints and supporting a diverse mobile connected workforce. The MDM market is highly dynamic with new entrants, mergers and acquisitions, and planned IPOs. The multitude of offerings and market fragmentation add complexity to the decisionmaking process for IT organizations.

With the rapid evolution of mobile platforms, it is imperative for enterprise decision makers to utilize best practices to ensure that the MDM solutions deliver a sufficient lifetime value and return on investment. In order to mitigate the risks of this dynamic market, enterprises should consider the following best practices.

Assess The Viability Of MDM Providers
There are many start-ups in the MDM landscape that are attempting to cash in on this multibillion-dollar market. A significant percentage of these companies have not achieved profitability, and therefore, it is important to choose carefully if they are in your consideration set. Many of the market leaders have achieved critical mass and are capturing an increasingly larger share of the market. Therefore, breaking into the market is becoming more difficult for startups. Make sure that any MDM start-up is on a path to profitability and that they have enough funding to see them through challenging times. Don’t let the innovation blind you, and make sure that they’re focusing on a large enough market to sustain their business. If an MDM start-up has a unique solution that solves your exact requirements but they’re not profitable, then you’ll want to consider including contract terms that give you access to their software in the event that they go out of business. A common strategy is to ask for the source code to be escrowed.

Assess The Viability Of MDM Product Road Maps
This is critical, especially during times of significant merger and acquisition activity. Some of the most notable acquisitions in the past year include Zenprise being acquired by Citrix, Dialogs being acquired by Sophos, Wavelink being acquired by LANDesk, Odyssey and Nukona being acquired by Symantec, and Numara being acquired by BMC Software. When companies are acquired, it doesn’t take long before product priorities shift to ensure alignment with the acquiring company’s objectives. If you’re relying on future product releases to fulfill your MDM requirements, then you’ll want to include contract terms that lock the MDM provider into delivering that feature or functionality regardless of change of control due to a merger or acquisition.

Seek Robust Cross-Platform Support
Unless there is a highly specific use-case that you’re solving for, it is important that your MDM solution(s) deliver very robust cross-platform support. Enterprise mobility is a consumer market, and the enterprise consumer is fickle. Apple’s iPhone made short work of BlackBerry and then in turn was surpassed by the Samsung Galaxy III. The speed of change and innovation in mobility creates significant challenges for MDM solutions providers. Therefore, you need to stay ahead of the curve and ensure on a quarterly basis your MDM provider is updating its platform support requirements in order to avoid a costly wholesale change.

Fund MDM With Mobile Expense Management Savings
Enterprise IT and telecommunications departments should work hand in hand when developing your MDM strategy and requirements. This should include the deployment of mobile expense management services that reduce wireless service costs by as much as 30%. These hard cost savings can help fund MDM programs and often support multiple MDM solutions to meet enterprise requirements. Bring your own device (BYOD) programs and employees with high data security requirements often warrant different MDM solutions that can drive up the total cost of ownership of enterprise mobility. Mobile expense management can offset these costs with monthly service savings.