The demand for mobile device management (MDM) solutions to modernize enterprise technology is rising. Shash Anand, VP of Product Strategy at SOTI, comments that the growing number of operations supported by mobile devices is creating opportunities for managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs). First, however, IT solutions and services providers must educate themselves about new tools that give deeper visibility into a mobile deployment and solve more business-critical problems for that organization.
Anand shares his thoughts on the outlook for MDM solutions – and rising demand for enterprise mobility management (EMM) – in the near future.
What is driving increased demand for mobile device management solutions?
Anand: Long-term remote and hybrid work have caused frustration and challenges for employees, and having the right tools to diagnose problems quickly is essential. A modern diagnostic help desk solution designed for mobile devices is critical for businesses to operate and support their employees. Additionally, with e-commerce at an all-time high and rising consumer demand, workers in the field need quick and straightforward solutions to their most critical and debilitating mobile tech problems.
Organizations lacking a mobile-first mindset risk hampering operational success and jeopardizing worker productivity. An MDM solution makes it easier for organizations to onboard, configure, provision and track devices remotely without downtime or disruption to regular business operations. The solution can also help keep network infrastructure and corporate data safe by tracking lost or stolen devices and locking down or wiping devices remotely.
What is the status of progress from MDM to EMM?
Anand: Enterprises adopting mobility for their mission-critical operations quickly identify that EMM benefits them exponentially more than MDM. In fact, the terminology is used interchangeably across all industries. More specifically, the expectations of any MDM are that they provide EMM capabilities. Managing the applications, content, security, location and remote troubleshooting are a few examples of required components for a strong EMM solution. The depth and breadth to which these components can be managed are critical as they allow companies to scale and adapt quickly to various market conditions. EMM itself is no longer sufficient as it must be tightly integrated with other business-critical mobile operations to gain visibility and traceability and drive further efficiencies in an organization
What’s behind that change?
Anand: The introduction of remote work has emphasized the business-critical need for companies to look at other areas of their organization, particularly their infrastructure, and remove paper and pen processes as they don’t scale and lack real-time visibility. Building mobile applications become that much more critical to replace manual processes. At the beginning of the pandemic, many organizations scrambled to build mobile apps quickly on multiple platforms – and now, it’s clear those remote and hybrid work formats aren’t going anywhere.
In addition, having a modern diagnostic intelligence solution designed for mobile devices is critical for businesses to operate and support their employees. There is no doubt that this new normal has caused frustration and challenges for remote workers, and having the right tools to diagnose problems quickly is essential. A help desk solution that is tightly integrated with an EMM solution provides a deeper level of diagnostics. A quick example is grabbing Android Debug logs, which can take hours and requires a laptop, but with the proper diagnostic help desk solution, it can be just a click of a button. This leads to first-call resolutions being the new norm as well.
Finally, there is a strong desire for greater visibility into the operations of an organization that has deployed applications and to understand whether any issues are preventing them from doing their jobs. For example, companies are looking to be proactive instead of reactive in answering questions like:
- Do the devices last an entire shift?
- Are there problems with signal strength?
- Are the applications being used effectively?
- How much data is being consumed by each of my devices?
- Which applications are consuming the most data?
What are the most important things VARs and MSPs can do to be successful when providing their clients with mobile device management or enterprise mobility management solutions?
Anand: MSPs and VARs need to provide their clients the ability to transform their organizations rapidly and allow them to scale. When clients are considering an MDM solution, key factors to consider are:
- IoT device management solutions can remotely monitor and repair IoT devices. However, without complete visibility into a company’s mobile fleet – including IoT device status, location, software updates, security and more – organizations can miss out on the full range of benefits the deployment was meant to achieve in the first place.
- Accessing servers through the cloud is critical because it allows IT teams to access business-critical applications from anywhere and continue to keep businesses running.
- Tools that can quickly build and deploy applications to remote staff are essential as employees rely on those applications to complete their jobs in the field.
- Ensuring your clients can restore mobile data after a disaster can add value to the solutions you provide.
What other advice can you offer about the outlook of mobile device management and enterprise mobility management?
Anand: The key to choosing an EMM is looking for one that has been around for a lengthy period because the vendor will have the depth and breadth of supported devices and the experience to help customers and partners avoid pitfalls that come with poor EMM execution.
In addition, look for an EMM that can help you be proactive versus reactive. For example, today, a client may be an Apple-only shop, but that business may consider other devices in the future. Hence it’s important to look for an EMM that supports different operating systems (e.g., Android, Windows, Linux), device types (wearables, printers, scanners, sensors, cameras) and a demonstrable track record for scaling to millions of devices. This allows you the flexibility to test and change devices quickly and easily.
Also, remember that MDM and EMM are now used interchangeably, so it’s good to focus on what business issues you are trying to address and ensure the solutions you choose solve those problems.