Mobile device management remains the starting point for a true mobile workplace experience. VMware's recent acquisition of AirWatch isn't the first time that a leading provider of virtual desktop technology has bought mobile device management capabilities. But the road to creating a true mobile workplace experience is long. The task of meeting workforce requirements by consolidating device management, desktop management, virtualization, and the delivery of the right applications and content to mobile endpoints remains complex. A number of managed service providers are positioning themselves as strategic partners to support you in this transition. Are you ready for such an engagement? How do you select the right partner?
One obvious starting point is to check the capabilities of the provider you have already picked to manage your devices. But which of these providers are up to the challenge? Our research reveals that the European playing field is evenly shared between telecommunication providers and IT service providers.
IT Providers, Telcos, And Disruptors Are Fighting For Your Business
For our new report, Managed Mobile Workplace Services In Europe, we spoke with a number of leading telcos and IT providers that are expanding into comprehensive mobile services beyond device management. Here's our take on their plans to support your mobile workplace transformation strategy:
Mobile device management is a fully commoditized market. In the strictest definition of MDM, the available functionality is limited to those application programmer interfaces that are made available by the operating system vendor (Google or Apple). There is very little that traditional MDM offerings can do to differentiate themselves from the other 100+ vendors in the market. This causes significant price pressure on the offerings. Value for MDM is rapidly approaching zero. As we have seen over the past year-and-a-half, core MDM component offerings have been continuously lowering their prices in an attempt to maintain market share. There is a transition by the major MDM players to expand well beyond the traditional "wipe," "lock," and "locate" concepts available to them into more advanced technologies such as content and collaboration systems, security components at the network and application layer, as well as partnerships and integrations with secondary market offerings. These features have value. MDM at its core does not.
I think it's about time someone came out and said it. Just like Dobby from the Harry Potter books, MDM should be free. I've been telling all of the vendors that I work with that if they don't put out their MDM offering in a freemium model very shortly, the other vendors will beat them to the punch. Traditional MDM offerings are a land grab for enterprise market share and should be used as an upsell or wedge into more advanced and differentiable offerings. I predict that in the next 6 to 9 months we will see most, if not all, of the leading MDM vendors giving away their core functionality.
On January 22, 2014, a new mobile security player was born. This is the date that VMware announced its intention to purchase the mobile device management (MDM) firm AirWatch. With a price tag of $1.5 billion, this acquisition confirms that the mobile security market is scorchingly hot. This news comes on the heels of the November acquisition of Fiberlink by IBM. I expect additional mobile security market consolidation to occur throughout the remainder of 2014. This acquisition is a shot across the bow of any other major vendor looking to play in the mobile security market. If you don't step up and spend now, you might just be left holding the bag.