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The Ugly Reality of Mobile DeviceManagement TechnologiesThese days I spent a lot of time talking to KidoZen customers about theirenterprise mobile initiatives. During those conversations, I frequently getasked my opinions about the mobile device management (MDM) space andits relationship to modern enterprise mobile platforms such as KidoZen.Almost unequivocally, you can sense the levels of confusion, frustration anddisappointment that customers express when comes to MDM technologies.From my standpoint, I don’t find those reactions surprising anymore if youconsider that we are talking about an overhyped space that have seen itsbest days passed without delivering on the promise of becoming thekeystone of the enterprise mobility movement.Last night I briefly summarized some of my thoughts about the MDM spacethat I hope can provide an additional perspective to organizations evaluatingthese type of technologies.MDM is Just Not EnoughLet’s face it, managing connected devices is just a necessary capability ofenterprise mobile solutions but it’s far from providing any foundation forbuilding a solid enterprise mobile infrastructure.In plain words, MDM NOT ENOUGH.In addition to managing mobile devices, organizations need to effectivelyimplement the necessary infrastructure and processes to manage specificmobile applications, business data, develop, test and distribute applicationsand many other aspects of a complete enterprise mobile strategy.Nobody Likes Doing MDMThe fact that most organizations clearly understand MDM technologies arenecessary doesn’t prevent them from hating the technology. Setting upsecurity policies for smartphone and tablets is not sexy and it doesn’t deliver
any tangible business value by itself. If you factor in the fact that most MDMstacks are ridiculously complex and require fairly sophisticatedinfrastructures, dedicated management and operations staff and expensiveprofessional services you will clearly see why most enterprises see thesetype of solutions as a “necessary evil” in their enterprise mobileinfrastructure.The Golden Days of MDM are Behind UsAs a technology trend, MDM has passed its best days. The strong entranceof companies like Citrix, Microsoft and VMWare in the MDM market and thelarge funds ($200M series A) raised by market leaders like AirWatch are aclear sign that we are passed the hyper growth curve of the MDM space.From now on, we should expect additional consolidation in the market thatwill also cause a lot of the existing MDM vendors to reinvent themselves orface the inevitable consequence of going out of business or becomingirrelevant.Too Crowded, Not Enough DifferentiatorLike any other overhyped technology trend, the MDM space is crowded witha large number of technology vendors with similar value propositions. Theselevel of noise in the market, makes it really hard for customers to distinguishthe unique MDM vendors from the mediocre ones and, let’s be honest,THERE IS A LOT OF MEDIOCRE TECHNOLOGY IN THE MDM SPACE.The Big Guys are Making MDM a Feature not a ProductWith the entrance of some of the leaders in the system management spacesuch as VMWare, Citrix or Microsoft, the MDM ecosystem is witnessing atransformation on which the capability of managing mobile devices is beingdelivered as part of bigger IT management suites. While is too soon todetermine if this trend will prevail in the long run, we have to admit that,conceptually at least, it might help to bring more value to customers and itcan completely commoditize the MDM space.At the End, MDM is an Enabler not an End SolutionEven if you disagree on the previous points I might be able to convince youabout this one: as an organization, it’s key to realize that MDM is, in the bestcase, just an enabler of security and management capabilities in anenterprise mobile infrastructure and nothing else. Your goal as an enterpriseshould never be to effective manage smartphones or tablets but to deliver
great enterprise mobile solutions to employees, partners and customers.Sometimes MDM solutions can help to facilitate that goal or, sadly,sometimes they just become a roadblock.