Mobile Device Management (MDM) Buying Guide: Page 2

In the BYOD era, a good mobile device manager is more important than ever. Here's what you need to look for in a MDM.
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Mobile Content Management (MCM): This is a way to push documents out to users from a central location and move files between users. Dropbox is the most common example but there are some MCMs that are more complex than Dropbox, such as Citrix Sharefile, which mixes and matches cloud and on-premises storage.

Electronic Funds Source (EFS): EFS is a method for making real-time electronic payments via a mobile device. This is no PayPal or credit card reader plugged into the ear phone jack. For companies with truck fleets, there is fuel payment and tracking along with expense and payroll management, since the truckers are on the road. For corporate customers, there is expense tracking, accounts payable and management of corporate MasterCards.

Buy Small: MDM Frugality

One of the biggest mistakes customers make, say both Gold and Taylor, is buying too much and then having a lot of unused resources that they are paying for. "You have to decide what it is you need to manage," said Gold. "Most companies are primarily concerned with asset management, the device itself and apps. Those are the big ones, if you got nothing in place. These days you can get that for next to nothing or nothing."

Companies should decide what it is important and what is not. Some are throwing in whole suites, with features like an appdev system and an app store, when they don't need it, and wind up paying $50 or 100 a seat when you might only need to pay $5 per seat. "It still makes a lot of sense to buy it off in chunks," said Taylor. "Buy email [support] and MDM first, then content management, then MAM. You'll pay more but you won't have it sit there unused."

That's easier said than done, since MDM software is not quite as mature as PC management software. There has been a fair amount of merger and acquisition activity in the MDM space in recent years. VMware grabbed Airwatch, IBM purchased Fiberlink, SAP bought Sybase not for its RDBMS but its sizable mobile data management software, including MDM software, and Google is embracing Samsung's Knox management software.

And there will be more, predicts Taylor. So don't make too big of an investment in MDM software. "[Enterprises] should be tactical. They should not get into something longer than a two or three year contract. They should eat it a bite at a time. Just do email deployment now. Then add apps support. But understand two years from now you will change the way you do things," he said.

Major MDM vendors

There are many MDM and EMM vendors out there, a few of which are linked below. Note this is far from a complete list of MDM/EMM vendors, only the ones most highly-rated by Gartner on its Magic Quadrant chart for MDM. They are:


Now a VMware company, AirWatch offers both MDM and EMM solutions, including mobile device management, mobile application management and mobile email management solutions.

Citrix XenMobile

Citrix claims it has the largest ecosystem of mobile business apps along with an SDK for building them, along with secure email, document browsing and sharing, flexible storage, cloud or on-premises deployment and multifactor single sign-on.

Fiberlink's MaaS360

IBM purchased Fiberlink recently, and has enhanced MaaS360 to make it cloud-based, with full MDM, mobile app management, document management and a secure productivity suite.

Good for Enterprise

A company built entirely around MDM and EMM, Good Technology provides the gamut of mobile management, from basic MDM to containerization that protects and isolates corporate data to secure connection and access, app blacklisting and whitelisting and even connectivity to Salesforce.com.


MobileIron offers on premise and cloud-based MDM solutions. The company launched its first product in September 2009, but it has already become one of the market leaders by combining mobile device management capabilities with security, data visibility, apps management, and access control.

SAP Afaria

One of the many mobile products that made Sybase an acquisition target, and not for its database, Afaria is focused around a high performance mobile platform, appdev kit and suite of secure, enterprise apps, all tied to the Sybase database.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Tags: mobile device management, MDM, BYOD

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