RIM Puts Mobile Device Management Vendors On Notice

Supporting non-BlackBerry mobile devices is a priority for every company I speak with these days. Regardless of industry and size, firms are bringing in mobile device management (MDM) solutions alongside their BES to manage the increasing number of Android and iOS devices that are in their employees’ hands.

Now let’s be clear, even with these MDM solutions in place I&O professionals should not expect the same levels of security and management for Android and iOS that they’ve come to know on BlackBerry with a BES, yet. Ultimately these MDM solutions are limited by Apple and Google’s APIs, but eventually they will have all of the necessary components to challenge RIM’s position as the enterprise mobile device, especially as more companies allow personal devices inside their networks.

RIM is obviously putting a lot of work into combating the market share erosion it’s seeing in the hardware and platform space, but what about device management? With well over 25 vendors in the MDM space currently, the fight is on for who will manage mobile devices moving forward. Cue RIM’s announcement last week at BlackBerry World stating that it will expand BES and BES Express support to include both Android and iOS devices later this year, you can feel the other MDM vendors collectively shudder.

This is a great move on RIM’s part. Most firms already have a BES in place and their I&O professionals are comfortable using it. If the BES can be extended to manage non-BlackBerry devices the reasoning for bringing in another MDM solution goes out the window. As one client put it, “Our MDM provider is really going to have to prove their value and differentiation in this space if they want to keep our business.”

Still, the fight is far from over, and I&O pros shouldn’t wait on RIM. With Android and iOS support slated for release “later this year” from RIM, other MDM vendors have plenty of time to continue expanding their functionality and winning over new customers who need a solution today. These vendors are hard at work bringing advanced functionality like enterprise application stores, more granular policy management, and integration with client and asset management solutions – a very important feature for I&O pros moving forward.

RIM’s announcement means the clock is ticking for many vendors in a market that’s already prime for some consolidation. It’s time to deliver more than just the basics or be left behind.