Mobile device management maturing rapidly

Mobile devices have become an integrated part of business and require the same degree of management as a desktop PC or the server that powers the organization’s software. There are products that can help businesses manage these devices and as Gartner points out in a recent report this new market is maturing, giving customers more choice of technology and more flexibility in pricing.

Such choice and flexibility is vital as Gartner research shows it takes multiple types of mobile software to produce an effective management system. These systems have to cover everything from software distribution and policy and inventory management to security and service management.

The report shows that the mobile device management (MDM) market is rapidly evolving and that vendor offerings will be even more sophisticated next year. Gartner analysts have found that high demand is creating a frenzy of development as well as expectation. Although many of the successful MDM providers have focused almost exclusively on mobility, during the next few years those who have focused more on the desktop will also be investing and looking for opportunities in the mobile space.

Gartner makes a number of recommendations for assessing an MDM vendor. One of the most important is not to expect the software to address or support each platform the same way or support. Another key factor is that Android support is still immature – Gartner estimates it will be another year before Google’s operating system is well-supported by most MDM vendors. BlackBerry support is still important and has to continue because, in many regions, it is still the most supported enterprise device, even as other platforms take away market share.

But as fast as businesses get to grips with MDM, they need to be looking further down the line to mobile application management.

The problem with mobile operating systems is that they differ dramatically from the desktop, making app management less suitable for IT's traditional approach. But even as IT has given up the notion of ruling over mobile devices, it still needs to manage the business-oriented apps on those devices.

Analyst Galen Gruman predicts customers will see a gold rush in the mobile application management arena, with an emphasis on moving away from the heavy hand of total control to the nuanced approach of specific control. This will give rise to a ‘consumerized IT’ shared model of business technology, where users, IT and third party providers are all part owners and thus part managers.


Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.