I have been to a number of conferences recently where the comment “MDM is dead” has come up. The argument is application catalogs/management and content management is all that is needed to manage mobility security and usage issues. Management of devices is overkill and adds unnecessary complexity to the mix.
While I agree that good app and content management tools provide a lot of core mobility functionality, there is a lot more to mobility than apps and content. Using app and content management without core device management is like having a social media strategy without using any monitoring tools. The capability is enabled but you don’t have visibility into underlying data that is driving usage.
So what does using Device level tools buy IT:
Smartphones and Tablets are as powerful as many laptops, so why not treat them as such. Understanding what devices are in the workplace by role and region can be very valuable information. Even if you are just keeping track of BYOD devices, I.T. can see trends in device adoption and make better buying choices for your corporate device purchasing. Knowing that most of users are bring their own Samsung Galaxy 3s to work is a good indicator of what to buy for the corporate provided device pool.
Whole View Mobility
MDM provided a complete view of employee’s device usage. Knowing what applications are downloaded from public app stores gives insight into what applications to approve as corporate sanctioned or have your internal dev teams create corporate versions. If a majority the org is using an app like Evernote, that’ s a great candidate to make part of the corporate app store. Feel it’s not fully complainant with corporate security and compliance, then Evernote will be standard by which the corporate approved variant will be judged against.
Better Network Management
Looking at network access data at a device level is also helpful from an I.T. standpoint. Seeing how much roaming happens across devices and regions can lead to better network management for corporate sponsored devices.
Having a great content and application management is key to enabling enterprise mobility, but ignoring device level management leaves I.T. with an incomplete picture of mobility. MDM tools helps I.T. stay on top of mobile trends and provide a mobility solution that is tailor-made for your users.
Photo by Cathyse97 from Creative Commons.