The Risk Of Increasing Operational Cost (OPEX) By Doing MDM Backwards

We’re all aware of the explosion of new devices arriving in the marketplace.   From phones, to tablets, to bigger phones, to smaller tablets,…. And all of the new challenges and opportunities these devices bring with them.  Everyone is abuzz with the new terms of “device consumerization”, and “application containerization”, etc.,. etc.  The emergence of so many new devices, with so many different form factors is exploding the options for endpoint connectivity into enterprise business applications.  

However, what do all these new devices really mean in terms of providing enhanced value to today’s business processes?   And, what do these changes really imply in terms of mobility device management?   Is it possible, as is often the case with rapidly evolving technologies, that all the hype is really about a rather thin area of deployment, and is overlooking some, or possibly many, of the basic fundamentals?   If so, what does this imply about future costs?

Three prior articles shed some light on these questions.   Consider the following highlights.

  • According to Aberdeen Group’s Analyst Insight, “High Performance Organizations Empower Employees with Real-Time Mobile Analytics”, July, 2011
    • The adopters for Mobility Business Intelligence (MBI) on emerging mobile devices can be segmented as follows;
      • Enterprise Executives – The Board Room and other C-Level company stakeholders
        • These users are interested primarily in Dashboards that allow them to view the holistic health of the business from one central platform.
      • Field Sales – The road warriors and those dependent upon direct interface with the company’s customers
        • These users are primarily interested in real-time data to help close sales faster, (i.e. inventory stock data), as well as increase customer satisfaction, (i.e. trouble ticket response data).
      • Operations – Operations management including I/T
        • These users want to deploy Dashboards again, but focused solely on the health of their specific area of operation, (i.e. server uptime, etc).
  • The second article; “What’s Your Mobility Index”, in Supply Chain Management Review, September / October 2011 indicates the following;
    • A Mobility Index, defined in the article to quantify the utility of emerging Mobility on business processes, and measured across various industry segments, and the various processes within each segment, is very low (as late as Sept/Oct of 2011).
    • In other words, the utility of using emerging mobility in the supply chain still remains very low at this time.
      • In fact, according to the article, the highest utility rating for emerging mobility technology is 47%, and that is in the Make to Ship industries.
  • Finally, the Aberdeen paper, “Enterprise Mobility Management 2011”, March 2011 notes the following (paraphrased);
    • Because the (early) adopters of new mobility devices are primarily Enterprise Executives, and Field Sales, the requirements for mobile device management (MDM) on new mobile devices is quite evolved from the requirements of the traditional autoID MDM user.
      • However, what is glaringly absent in this, and all other reports of this type, is the fact that, although new MDM is evolving, it still needs to include the bullet-proof features that have been utilized for years in traditional autoID MDM.   This is extremely important right now, in light of a another fact discussed in this paper, which is;
    • I/T is slowly taking back control of MDM management from the early adopters, (who are moving too fast of I/T to keep up (yet)).
      • I/T operations imply standardization, bullet-proof operability, and many other features that have yet to show up in much of the emerging MDM offerings.  Features like Dashboards, App Stores, etc, are wonderful for new mobility users, but imply ADDITIONAL management cost when migrated to existing I/T operations.

So, taken together what can we say about all this?

  • Emerging mobile device technology, although sexy and exciting, is still determining its real value and utility in enterprise business processing.   It’s primary adopters so far are carpet-side executives, whose requirements are totally different from traditional autoID device users.   However, due to their C-Level status, these adopters induce a hyper-sensitive focus on their feature requirements, even though their relative population size is much smaller than the population of traditional autoID, and autoID MDM users.
  • Enterprise Mobile Device Management for emerging mobile devices is still evolving.    And, it is highly influenced by a set of users that have little or no experience with “bullet-proof” requirements of traditional MDM operations.   “The CEO is demanding access to the dashboard on his phone,” has everyone jumping to comply.  However, this compliance isn’t factoring in the 5-9’s requirements for security, and uptime that traditional autoID MDM has been providing for years.
    • (Want proof?   Consider this.  The concept of “application containerization”, an emerging requirement for security, was developed AFTER the rollout of every new MDM solution on the market.   So, first came the new MDM providing device visibility only, THEN came the idea, “…. uh.. security… yea we need that too….”)
  • This represents a big risk for emerging MDM applications, and for adopters of newer MDM technologies.   In their rush to provide features to support a smaller, hyper-sensitive, Executive-level set of early adopters (features like Self-service Portals, and App Stores, etc,) are they really including features necessary for long-term, bullet-proof I/T management and security?

If current trends continue, it is highly likely that we will be facing a near-term uptick in operations cost (OPEX), as emerging MDM solutions attempt to merge with traditional autoID MDM, and other standard I/T solutions.  

It is exciting that the adoption of emerging mobile devices is driving innovation in all areas of mobility and mobility device management.   However, in the rush to “get to the new”, customers are advised to start from the MDM fundamentals first, as opposed to implementing it the other way around.  Working with traditional MDM providers, and adding additional support for the emerging users ensures the lowest cost, long term solution.

What do you think of what I’ve laid out above?

 

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