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As the EMM market gives way to broader end-user computing suites, organizations need to consider a vendor's sustainability before buying its products.
Some of the top enterprise mobility management (EMM) vendors, including VMware and IBM, are large companies that have business in many different areas. This gives them more financial security, and gives more confidence to customers that the vendor will be in business for the foreseeable future. Other vendors, such as MobileIron, focus primarily on EMM and are dependent on the success of that technology to stay in business.
Additionally, many vendors include EMM software, such as VMware AirWatch and Citrix XenMobile, as part of product bundles or workspace suites. This approach can put companies that don't do this at a competitive disadvantage.
Organizations need to consider whether or not the EMM technology they're interested in would benefit them better as a stand-alone offering or in a package with other products. They also need to be aware of their prospective vendors' long-term prospects in the EMM market.
All major EMM products now offer PC management as well -- an approach known as unified endpoint management (UEM). At the same time, some traditional desktop security companies, such as Sophos, now include mobility management capabilities in their products.
Here, Jack Gold, founder and principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, a mobile analyst firm in Northborough, Mass., explains why it's important for organizations to consider their various product options.
What trends do you see in the EMM market?
Jack Gold: It's a market that's fading fast. As we move into more integrated workspace capabilities, the notion of a pure EMM play becomes less interesting. The functions of EMM are still a requirement. You have to manage devices and apps, but how does [EMM] get delivered?
Years ago, when you bought a car, if you wanted an FM radio, there was an aftermarket in selling stereos to add to your car. You don't do that anymore. You just get it with the car. EMM is moving that way as well. MaaS360 is a capability of IBM's broader core. AirWatch and VMware will combine [EMM] with other products they offer. But if you're stand-alone, what do you do? That doesn't mean they go out of business tomorrow, but it's problematic.
How do these changes in the EMM market affect IT buying decisions?
Jack Goldfounder and principal analyst, J. Gold Associates
Gold: You want to know how long the vendor will be around. I want someone who will be around in the next five to 10 years. Companies like AirWatch, they are part of VMware and Dell, so they won't go away anytime soon.
BlackBerry has a huge install base in high-security and government and other regulated industries where people don't change that often, unless they really need to. BlackBerry has a good niche there. Why change if it's working? Change is costly.
What does the future hold for MobileIron as a stand-alone company?
Gold: MobileIron has a difficult path if it stays independent.
The reason BlackBerry bought Good Technology was because it was a good deal, since [Good] was a private company. MobileIron is a public company, so a buyer has to pay what the stock is worth and then some. [Potential buyers] might just be waiting for the stock to go down. But it's an investment and a long-term decision. It has to be a pretty big company that makes this move.
How is UEM working out for vendors and IT?
Gold: [Vendors] went down that path because organizations and IT don't want to have more than one product doing the same thing. Despite what everyone thinks, PCs aren't going away. It's a desire for IT to simplify. From the vendor's perspective, it's a way to get more engrained in an organization. The more you do with a tool, the less likely you are to get rid of it. Has it worked? Somewhat, but most customers will say they use Microsoft tools for PCs because they are basically free.
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