October 10, 2013, 12:00 PM — There’s no question that mobile device management (MDM) has made great strides in the past few years. But, anecdotally, the IT folks I talk to say they still need to use multiple vendors.
Part of the reason, they say, is that no one vendor “does it all.” So they are left filling feature gaps with two or more solutions. But just as challenging is that MDM system features are inconsistent across heterogeneous platforms, so it requires multiple systems to create the consistency required.
The BYOD trend, of course, now has a mix of device types and mobile OSs floating around enterprises. Though most MDM systems are multi-platform in nature these days, they tend to be optimized for a particular platform, according to some attendees at the recent Interop conference in New York.
For example, said Chris Fadrowski, senior director of it infrastructure at Brookdale Senior Living: “One MDM can’t control every aspect of all devices.” So the company is using a mix of BlackBerry and native Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for managing BlackBerry devices, MobileIron to manage Apple gear and SOTI MDM in the Samsung/Droid world.
“Certain MDMs work better for certain platforms, and there’s no ONE that integrates with all,” said Fadrowski.
This is to be expected, because MDM software makers are limited to the MDM functions and APIs that the device makers choose to expose to them. And each device maker exposes its own set.
But from the enterprise perspective, that situation leaves room for improvement. And don’t count BlackBerry out of this market just yet. A recent report from analysts at Jeffries states that 18% of IT executives surveyed plan to use BlackBerry Enterprise Server 10 to help manage non-BlackBerry mobile devices. The report said the finding ties BES10 with MDM vendor AirWatch for the top spot among those polled, in terms of future deployments.