Still Room for Innovation on EMM

by Eric Klein | 03/24/2017

Dynamic deployment environments require real-time and contextual insights
While the argument of securing devices versus data persists (MAM/CASB vs. EMM), there is no question that the need to manage devices will remain a key requirement in compliance-intensive industries (e.g., financial services, insurance, health care, and telecommunications), as well as in enterprise deployments, where large fleets of purpose-built devices remain on premises, or are permanently affixed to objects (such as a wall or a piece of furniture, or onto a vehicle, airplane or train). Government and military deployment environments also figure prominently—in toto, these deployments are vast, and account for the majority of the current EMM revenue opportunity.

Going forward, we expect to see cloud and security-oriented vendors continuing to position themselves in competition for traditional EMM business; both Bitglass and Okta have made very visible moves in this direction. However, EMM vendors have also made strides in bolstering their value proposition. In our view, ISV partnerships and integrations are the most important of these, along with the pivot toward The IoT and Unified Endpoint Management. These are now de facto messaging themes, along with playing nicely with Microsoft, Macs and managing headless devices (e.g., peripherals and printers). While these elements of their offerings have yet to significantly move the needle in terms of revenues, it is important to recognize that partnerships, integrations and capabilities are still new, and that many businesses still have yet to upgrade from basic MDM. So, EMM is not going away—however, platforms must continue to evolve and add value in order to remain commercially viable and as “stand-alone” products.

So, What’s Next?
Our position has been that when combined with the power of cloud computing and integrated identity management, EMM solutions can add significant value to traditional IT service and application delivery models. This being said, to maintain this positioning, vendors must continue to incorporate features which will be welcomed (and valuable to) IT professionals.

I had the opportunity to attend IBM's InterConnect conference this week in Las Vegas. While I wasn’t surprised that there was no emphasis on enterprise mobility (or EMM for that matter), IBM did issue a press release that almost slipped past my radar (a rarity, thanks to good old Google alerts). The company announced it had integrated a cognitive assistant into its MaaS360 UEM solution—powered by Watson, the new release leverages machine learning to analyze and monitor core details of a deployment environment, such as: device type, enrollment, network access, identity and regulatory considerations. Below is IBM’s depiction of the new capabilities of MaaS360 UEM.


In our view, UX (and enhanced security) remain as key areas for EMM vendors to differentiate on; however, administrators will appreciate having curated actionable, predictive and prescriptive information pushed to them. Managing identity and access management policies and functions is increasingly complex and time consuming; particularly for larger deployment environments. The ability to effectively prioritize and triage alerts and critical security threats is valuable for its ability to offer time savings and keeping a mobile workforce productive. We expect every prominent EMM vendor move in this direction and begin to offer competing functionality; in fact, market leaders such as BlackBerry, MobileIron and VMware have been busy enhancing the analytic elements of their respective platforms. IBM is first, and has a robust analytics platform to leverage—while these new capabilities are differentiated, we don’t see them offering IBM an opportunity to gain market share; however, they will enable IBM to compete head-to-head with market leaders, particularly if IBM continues to enhances it's UEM capabilities.

VDC will be releasing our annual EMM report in June, please feel free to contact me to arrange for a briefing.

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