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.”