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IT pros itching to deploy EMM platforms in 2017

IT pros recognize the need to manage and secure the many mobile devices in their environments, which is one reason many want to deploy EMM this year.

More advanced capabilities and affordable options have organizations planning to deploy EMM platforms this year.

Large businesses have made up the bulk of enterprise mobility management (EMM) adopters, but the technology has become more appealing to medium-sized organizations. Vendors began including EMM in popular software licenses, offering volume discounts and providing stand-alone mobile app management (MAM) capabilities to draw their attention. And organizations are recognizing the need to protect themselves and secure all of their users' endpoints.

"The wide variety of devices in your environment is something companies are starting to be concerned about," said Douglas Grosfield, president and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, an IT consultancy in Kitchener, Ont. "If you don't have those technologies in place and you have a BYOD environment, it's a pretty dangerous thing."

More than 39% of IT professionals want to deploy EMM platforms in their organizations this year, according to TechTarget's IT Priorities Survey.

Why adopt EMM platforms?

A big change in the EMM market occurred in 2015, when Microsoft included its Intune product in its Office 365 licenses. This strategy led more Office 365 shops to consider adopting Intune, because they were already paying for it. Microsoft may have caused a ripple effect across the industry, forcing its EMM competitors to provide more affordable options, said Eric Klein, director of mobile software at VDC Research Group Inc., in Natick, Mass.  

The wide variety of devices in your environment is something companies are starting to be concerned about.
Douglas Grosfieldpresident and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions

For example, last year, VMware AirWatch launched a cheaper mobile device management option, which is designed to quickly install and configure Wi-Fi and apps on users' mobile devices for $2.50 per device, per month. That's down from $4.50 per device, per month for AirWatch's entry-level, more fully featured EMM bundle. VMware and Citrix have also been known to offer EMM discounts to customers of their desktop and application virtualization products.  

Meanwhile, appealing features such as MAM have taken off in the last year. MAM allows IT departments to secure corporate content at the app level without controlling the entire device, which is ideal for contractors, temporary workers and BYOD users.

"Managing the app layer can be just as effective as managing devices," Klein said.

Additionally, EMM platforms have made significant progress from the early days, when it was complicated to onboard users and enroll their devices, he said. That's because the major mobile operating system vendors, Apple and Google, work more closely with EMM providers to support their software.

Despite EMM market growth among large and medium-sized businesses, some smaller organizations don't view it as a necessity. Ongweoweh Corp., a pallet and packing management company in Ithaca, N.Y., doesn't plan to adopt EMM because it has less than 50 mobile users, said Jim Davies, director of IT. 

"Our company is a bit small for that," he said.

Next Steps

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