The Fast Evolution - and Transformation - of Mobile Device Management

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Mobile Device Usage Soars with or Without Permission

Telecommunications and IT are technically-based endeavors. And that, for those who use them, presents a couple of problems. The main challenge generally is the technology itself: It may not work. Even if it does, it may not do precisely what the user wants.

That's old news. A more subtle challenge is zeroing in on the definition of a particular platform or technique. That sounds like no big deal, but it is. Often, when engineers introduce something, the definition is extremely limited and precise. Soon, however, marketers broaden and change that definition to include a much wider set of features and functions, many of them vaporware. These expand the original definition and, since each vendor has its own priority, make the new meaning different from each other's.

In very short order, nobody is really sure what is being discussed. This is more than a semantic conversation. Understanding what is meant by a particular term impacts what is researched by buyers, what vendors are called in and, ultimately, what the organization uses.

Mobile device management (MDM) is showing signs of going down this road. And, at the same time, the definition into which it is evolving may be the container into which each granular mobile management task - such as security, expense management, inventory control and others - fit. It could be, in essence, the unified field theory of corporate mobility. MDM may be in the process of becoming the organizing theme of the care and feeding of mobile devices and the people who use them.


At one point, MDM was synonymous with the valuable but narrow ability to wipe the data from a mobile device that had gone missing. "MDM in 2000 was a point solution to secure lost devices," said Ojas Rege, the vice president of products for MobileIron. "In 2012 MDM will be a platform, and it's a platform for the entire company to manage and secure both the devices and the apps for mobility."



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Dec 15, 2011 12:41 PM Vizay Kotikalapudi Vizay Kotikalapudi  says:

Nice write up, Carl. Your comment on the broadening of the product definition (from engineering to marketing) was spot on.

One thing I'd like to point out from my perspective as a Symantec employee focused on mobile security and management is that MDM as a standalone is a temporary answer. As with BES, it works fine for a while, but soon after enterprises need a more encompassing single pane of glass for enterprise devices/endpoints. As the line between mobile devices, tablets and laptops becomes thinner, enterprises do not want to manage mobile devices in a different silo. It would be more efficient and strategic for MDM itself to be part of an existing enterprise security or management system where the policies are more information centric than device specific. In addition to better serving organizations long term, this approach would bring better TCO results immediately.

Vizay Kotikalapudi

Symantec

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Jan 2, 2012 6:19 AM Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk  says: in response to Vizay Kotikalapudi

Sorry I missed this, Vizay. Thanks for the comment. I think MDM is going to change radically...Have a great year.

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