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The Ever-Changing Mobility Landscape: What’s Next?

This is a question I have been pondering for some time.  I know it’s a broad question, and I know I am not the only one to be asking myself this question, because isn’t this the holy grail….being able to look into a crystal ball and see what the future holds?  Hmm…well I won’t portend to say that I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen in 18 months in our wonderful of enterprise mobility, never mind five years, but my sense is I do see a growing trend.  The trend is convergence and leap frogging.

One of the most exciting, yet challenging components of enterprise mobility – specifically enterprise mobility management – is that it is such a nascent space, that there are so many start-ups that see an opportunity to address an emerging problem.  Obviously, larger organizations take more time to address said problem given the amount of effort required to steer a large ship. However, over time, the larger organizations realize the opportunities and are ready to address the issues in their own manner.  In order to play catch up, they will often acquire the leading start-ups.  This is a classic exit (and entry) strategy.  So how is this going to play out in enterprise mobility.  I have no idea.  However, I do have a couple of ideas I would like to share and get your collective feedback on.

Let’s look at how other IT systems are managed.  You can use tools like HP OpenView, Microsoft System Center….you can use network performance management tools that would come from Juniper or Cisco…you could also manage things from a security management perspective.  Let’s touch on that last one first.  Look at McAfee’s recent acquisitions, and even Juniper’s acquisition last week of a mobile security company.  When are we going to see Symantec buy its way in to enterprise mobility management. Did I mention also SAP’s offer to buy Sybase (yes, a mobile application strategy play, but Sybase is also big on enterprise mobility management…see where I am going?)

Microsoft has some history in mobility management.  System Center Mobile Device Manager, its second attempt at MDM.  I say 2nd because Exchange obviously can provide baseline MDM.  When does Microsoft buy its way into a bigger EMM position.  What about Unified Communications players?  What is preventing Avaya, Cisco or even Microsoft from buying a wireless expense management company that can hook into the unified communications software? Hmmm….

Cisco is obviously big in network management….and endpoints are always touching the network.  So what is preventing Cisco from making its own play?  I can think of one company in particular that could be of great interest to Cisco.  Let’s not forget IBM.  I’ve always said they will come back from nowhere to become a leading mobility management company given their tremendous skills in managed services and outsourcing.  Maybe I should throw Dell into the mix….

My final comment as I await your thoughts is that there are a large number of leading enterprise mobility management vendors out there…but in the not too distant future, my sense is you’ll hear of “Acme, Inc.” as “Acme, Inc. a much larger Acme Inc, Company.”

7 Comments

  1. Posted August 3, 2010 at 06:33 | Permalink

    MDM is definitely going to be a challenging component for the next generation enterprise mobility. Along with that, we can see the emergence of mobility extended enterprise solutions, especially from tier 1 product vendors for each of the industry verticals. We can feel that trend from the latest happenings in the market like the one from SAP for its plans to incorporate Sybase’s mobility solutions to define the roadmap of SAP products. IBM Maximo also has come up with their own mobility infrastructure as part of their latest version after realizing the potential of enterprise mobility. We have to keep in mind that IBM was recommending mobility solution offerings from Syclo for their customers who are using Maximo version 6 and below!

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  2. Posted August 3, 2010 at 07:56 | Permalink

    Great question. In the long term, I see MDM as integral part of every I/T vendor’s offering and no different from whether it becomes part of a hardware box manufacturer offering, a mobile phone manufactuer offering or a software platform sold by the likes of application vendors like Oracle, SAP, Microsoft. For this to happen, there will be consolidation and mergers, as you have indicated

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  3. Posted August 3, 2010 at 13:15 | Permalink

    When does it get to the point, if it’s not there already, that the IT Manager realizes that they’ve got, not just more mobile devices to manage but multiple mobility vendors to manage? It seems to me that compliance along the axis of mobility solutions will require a unified approach to gain control. Interested to hear others take on this.

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    • Posted August 3, 2010 at 13:42 | Permalink

      Could it be when there’s the big security breach we’re all expecting/dreading?

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    • Posted August 4, 2010 at 16:45 | Permalink

      Mike – I feel that IT is getting it more quickly than given credit. Are the technology choices there for them to make the easy decision? If you take the view point that a device is a device (which is the view point I like to take)…IT will want a solution similar to what they have today. Not necessarily the same solution they have today but, the idea that they can manage and report on “all” devices under one roof or Cloud! Will it be their existing vendor or a new one. Lots of MDM only companies hope that it is a new one for only mobile devices. Existing vendors who are getting behind the 8 ball will help consolidate the space and provide both. Similar to the encryption space of a few years ago.

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  4. Posted August 5, 2010 at 04:18 | Permalink

    MDM solutions available today have to go a long way to address the new and new challenges evolving in the mobility landscape today. The boundary line of corporate/ business phone and personal phone is vanishing slowly and now enterprises are seriously looking at MDM solutions that can bring personal smart phone devices of employees into the enterprise IT infrastructure without compromising on the IT security policies. Smart phone devices and platforms are capable enough to address the enterprise mobility requirements (Push mail and PIM to devices are just a minor part of the whole enterprise mobility requirements!) like availing BI package on mobile or CRM on mobile. But MDM solutions have to take care of multiple multi platform, administrative and segregation (segregation of local storage for business and personal) aspects to benchmark it against existing solutions available for IT managers for their current infrastructure management!

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  5. Posted August 11, 2010 at 02:49 | Permalink

    Remember the good old days, when only star salespeople and top execs had smartphones, and they could choose between a BlackBerry and a BlackBerry? Now, platform choice is the name of the game for end users. If you haven’t seen demand for smartphones explode yet, you will.

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