Managing Mobile Computing at Enterprise Scale

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There’s a lot of talk these days about mobile device management (MDM), but in the context of enterprise computing, the name of the game is soon going to be squeezing out as much of the cost of managing smartphones, tablet PCs and notebooks as possible.

As such, Brian Reed, chief marketing officer for Boxtone, a provider of an MDM platform for the enterprise, says that it’s only a matter of time before more IT organizations start looking for MDM platforms that function as a more natural extension of their existing IT management systems. Otherwise, notes Reed, the cost of deploying a separate MDM platform requiring dedicated IT people to manage it becomes cost prohibitive when managing thousands of mobile computing devices.

IT organizations, adds Reed, not only need an approach to MDM that scales, but it needs to neatly plug into their existing systems management DNA via support for any number of plug-ins to leading systems management frameworks. The Boxtone MDM platform, which is now priced at 99 cents per device managed per month, is built around an automation engine that supports real-time data collection on top of a centralized database. IT organizations can then utilize predictive analytics and rules engine automated workflows in a way that allows them to continuously enforce policy and compliance requirements.

Over time, Reed says Boxtone is also extending that capability out to third-party MDM systems that enterprise IT organizations for one reason or another will eventually need to integrate with their existing systems management frameworks. Most of those offerings are not particularly designed to be integrated with enterprise systems as they were built initially to focus on specific mobile computing platforms, notes Reed.

As mobile computing becomes an increasingly standard part of the enterprise, the need to manage mobile computing as a natural extension of the way the rest of the enterprise is managed is becoming increasingly obvious. That doesn’t mean that mobile computing doesn’t introduce a lot of systems management nuances that need to be appreciated. But it does mean that MDM should be managed in isolation no matter how complex the environment gets.

No matter how many users or number of devices involved, the real cost of IT is in the personnel required to manage the environment, which means the end game should be to find a way to allow as few administrators as possible to effectively manage thousands of devices regardless of whether they are owned by the company or the employee. Otherwise, it’s won’t be too long before the cost of supporting the mobile computing environment starts to actually outweigh the productivity gain it enabled.