The 3 Phases Of Enterprise Mobility Management Evolution

To successfully deploy mobile applications and support BYOD, IT leaders realize that they must create a mobile management strategy that defines how to manage and support an influx of devices, how to secure access to corporate data, and how to distribute and manage the wide range of enterprise applications the business plans to deploy. At the beginning of the mobile era, the tools for mobility management were basic, fragmented, and focused on devices. In fact, the market was called mobile device management (MDM). At this time, there were separate tools and separate vendors for mobile device management, security, and expense management. Mobile application management (MAM) was practically non-existent. Today, the functions within mobility management have expanded to support these changing demands and many vendors are now players in this mobile landscape. Many of these tools have been collapsed into suites or can be acquired from an ecosystem of partners that have collaborated to deliver a more comprehensive solution. For example, MDM vendors now offer at least basic applications management.

Lopez Research believes mobility management will continue to evolve over the next several years as BYOD and mobile application deployments become more commonplace. The industry will evolve into a rich set of functions, called enterprise mobility management, in at least three phases, which include:

1.    2007- 2012: Device-driven management. MDM delivered inventory management, device status and health, and help desk support. It offered rich security at a device level such as preventing unauthorized access to: 1) the device and its data – including data on removable storage 2) data as it transits the network and 3) the corporate network. Basic security features such as password enforcement, remote lock, and remote wipe are found in MDM. Mobile device management and mobile security vendors dominated this era. The focus was on the device, not the application or data. In some cases, security vendors and MDM vendors merged to provide more comprehensive suites.

2.     2011- 2014: Application management and containerization. In this era, MDM vendors offered centralized management for mass deployment of applications, over-the-air (OTA) updates, and certificate support. Mobile application management vendors entered the scene to focus on delivering enterprise application stores and managing the ability to add, configure, update, or remove apps. MAM vendors didn’t offer the detailed device management of MDM, but MDM vendors made attempts to offer richer MAM-like products. The focus in the industry shifted to how to secure corporate data while enabling employees to maintain and use all of their personal data and applications. Virtualization vendors and MAM vendors offered new security solutions that are based on sandboxes, containers, and app wrapping to separate, secure, and manage corporate data, all without changing how employees use their personal devices. Industry consolidation accelerated as vendors came to understand the importance of EMM and looked to fill product gaps.

3.     2014 and beyond: Contextual Enterprise Mobility Management. In 2014 and beyond, EMM will build on the solutions of the past but focus on delivering content protection with contextual management based on attributes such as location, role, time of day, and type of content. Security will be present at all layers from the device through the application. The corporation will select which functions the business wants in an EMM. Some will opt for an EMM that spans the device through the application while others will take a lighter approach that focuses on apps. Wireless LAN vendors will enter the market to link network context into application management. More partnerships will form between focused vendors such as MAM, MDM, and WLAN vendors. The market will experience further consolidation as IT looks to minimize the number of management consoles it uses. The focus of the EMM market will shift to managing employee interactions and applications over multiple devices.

How do you see enterprise mobility management evolving to support the business? What features would you like software vendors to develop? Leave me a comment here or send me a message @MaribelLopez on Twitter.


Maribel Lopez is the CEO and mobile market strategist for Lopez Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm that specializes in communications technologies with a heavy emphasis on the disruptive nature of mobile technologies. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

Maribel Lopez CEO Lopez Research About Maribel