Channel Partners: Mobile Device Management Is Only The First Step

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Forrester analyst Christian Kane made note of this trend in a recent company blog post. Like Trace3's Hekimian and Accenture's Osman, he viewed MDM as an essential first step to control physical mobile devices in the enterprise. But as mobile environments become more sophisticated, solutions around application and mobile data management will grow in importance.

"Realistically, MDM only solves your challenge around device control," Kane wrote. "That's the path that many vendors are following today. As the MDM market becomes more commoditized, most vendors are turning their engineers towards data protection and sharing tools and application management technology."

Christopher Hertz, founder and CEO of New Signature, a New York-based solution provider and Microsoft partner, said that his MDM conversations with clients usually lead to broader discussions around infrastructure. Like apps and data management, reducing infrastructure costs and complexity, which can sometimes escalate in "consumerized" environments, is often a natural next step for clients laying an MDM foundation.

"This has precipitated a strong demand for mobile device management," Hertz said of the bring-your-own-device or consumerization trend. "But there is an equally strong demand from IT to avoid adding infrastructure complexity to support these new requirements, as additional personnel resources are not being allocated to accommodate this new responsibility," Hertz said.

As a result, he continued, demand for the deployment of both cloud-based infrastructures and mobile management platforms, like InTune, is on the rise.

It seems, then, that MDM offers a win-win for both end users and solution providers. For end users, it puts in place the essential underpinnings of a holistic mobile strategy. For solution providers, it presents the opportunity to be part of that strategy.

"[MDM] is something you want to lay in place, and it becomes a springboard; once you have it and have a certain degree of manageability … you can take a breath, and say 'Alright, the next mountain I'm going to climb foundationally is do I build apps, or mobile web, or do I need middleware or not?'" said Accenture's Osman. "Once you lay that groundwork, it's off to the races."

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