As enterprise apps continue to expand onto mobile, users will expect a consistent experience -- and a single help desk resource that can remedy application issues, whether the app is running in the cloud, on a desktop PC or on an iPhone.
Sorting through the options
All MDM software supports the basic hardware management functions available through Android and iOS APIs, but many vendors now support extended management API sets. One example is Samsung for Enterprise (Safe), which adds features such as the ability to disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and to manage Bluetooth-connected devices such as printers.
Many tools also now enable automated provisioning and provide a protected space within which enterprise apps and data can reside. Many have also added network management features such as usage monitoring and reporting, and the ability to restrict downloads to Wi-Fi connections in a bid to control cellular data and roaming costs.
Vendors are differentiating in other areas as well. Symantec's mobile management suite includes anti-malware features. Citrix has re-launched its Zenprise acquisition under its XenMobile MDM brand name and enables virtualized access to the user's desktop applications through CloudGateway, which, along with XenMobile, is part of the vendor's Mobile Solutions Bundle. Finally, IBM, SAP and Symantec all offer tools for managing desktops and laptops, with consoles that enable access to both sets of management tools.
Many organizations are still looking for the right tools. Of survey respondents who said they support the use of smartphones and tablets for business use, just 45% said they had already deployed mobile management software, while 24% were either in the process of deploying or planned to deploy software within the next 12 months.
While 54% said the mobile management software they use meets most or all of their needs, 38% said it meets only some of their needs. One reason is that the tools are still maturing, says Guinn. "There are more than 50 different vendors out there and they're all fragmented. Many are acquiring features they don't have, so things are being bolted on."
What users choose -- and why
CenterBeam, a managed service provider, uses IBM's Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices, a Tivoli product that manages servers, PCs and mobile devices for all clients' machines from a single console.