Smart Money: Where There's Mobility, There's Margin

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Solution providers agree that BYOD, in no uncertain terms, has radically changed the mobile device landscape—even for companies that haven't deployed a true mobility or BYOD plan. The consumerization of IT has put the focus of mobility less on office environment compatibility and more on the device itself (ease of use, performance, functionality, interface and even device size).

Richard Cheston, master engineer and distinguished inventor at Lenovo, is one of the chief architects of the computer maker's products and believes consumerization has put the focus back on the user experience. "Users are driving mobility," Cheston said, even when it's the enterprise that owns the devices. "It's more attention toward the user to be more connected and productive. Mobility is rippling through organizations as the main initiative."

Steven Findlay, president of Noratek Solutions, Prince George, British Columbia, said even if employees aren't technically allowed to bring their own mobile devices into work, they're making their preferences known to IT decision-makers. "At the end of the day, BYOD is really benefiting the Apple and Android devices because that's what younger people want," he said.

XMatters, an application vendor that specializes in alert and notification management for mobile devices, has seen the mobility market shift drastically over the past decade. Abbas Haider Ali, chief technical officer at xMatters, said the shift from BlackBerry to Apple and now to Android in the commercial market with BYOD has complicated the mobility landscape for businesses.

"Unfortunately, there are very, very few customers with any kind of real enterprise mobility plan, whether it's BYOD or employer-driven," he said. "We don't see many companies with mobile device management services or support, and the ones that are usually are using first-generation tools and don't have a lot of experience with the different mobile OSes."

But that void, solution providers say, is an opportunity. Brian Dagan, senior systems support engineer at Connected Work- Place Solutions, Washington, D.C., said CWPS traditionally concentrated on managed services for corporate infrastructure. But now, he said, the company is moving beyond server and workstation management to mobile device management.

Why? Dagan explains CWPS has approximately 100 customers for its managed services practice, with a total of 6,000 servers and workstations. While that number may seem big, it's nothing compared with the sheer volume of mobile devices being used by the employees of those clients. "MDM is the new cloudlike buzzword," Dagan said. "It's a huge opportunity."

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