In some ways, 2012 will be a year of catch-up: Vendors and IT departments will face a tremendous number of decisions aimed at introducing efficiency for the extraordinarily potent, but raw, mobile tools that have come on the scene during the past few years.
This is vital work for a couple of reasons. Most obviously, doing things inefficiently is wasteful. Constantly reinventing the wheel means that the gains, while perhaps impressive, won't be as good as they could be. A second reality is that the growth of mobility results in more sensitive data and access rights floating "out there," beyond the firewall.
This is not just a concern to enterprises. Ronald McCarty writes at BYTE of the reasons that may lead small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to implement mobile device management (MDM) for its iOS devices. The reasons: security, compatibility, compliance, training and operations. Not all these rationales are appropriate for every SMB, of course. But, taken together, they make a persuasive case - and not just for iOS devices.
MSPmentor, in a report about the expected uptake of tablets among SMBs predicted by the NPD Group, commented that MDM could be a winner during 2012. Wrote Nicholas Mukhar:
Just a few days ago MSPmentor predicted that the MDM space will be one of two managed services sectors to expand the most in 2012, along with managed document services (MDS). But up until now MDM software providers have focused mainly on large enterprise customers because enterprises have more mobile devices connecting to their networks. If SMBs start spending more on tablets and other mobile devices, the ever-growing list of MDM software providers will have a new market share to compete for in 2012. Stay tuned.
The times are changing, however, as the Internet levels the playing field, at least to an extent, and the sheer cumulative size of the SMB universe makes it impossible to ignore. Look for great growth in SMB MDM and other management-type infrastructure software - for the reasons outlined by McCarty and perhaps a few others - during 2012. Indeed, two small firms, both of which got a head start on the new year in December, are setting the trend: Avema Critical Wireless, a Canadian company, announced a channel program and Fidelithon Systems LLC upgraded its gMeltWeb platform to version 2.3. The releases offer more details.