Deploying an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Solution? Here Are 7 Must-Have Features to Look For

Aug 10, 2018

It’s time for businesses that already use an EMM or MDM (mobile device management) solution to circle back and conduct an assessment. And it’s long overdue for many non-users to evaluate and introduce EMM for the first time.

Frost & Sullivan defines Enterprise Mobility Management as a solution that centralizes the management, configuration and security of a company’s mobile devices, mobile software applications, and mobile content.

Why is now a good time to give EMM a serious look? Here are a few stats from our 2018 Mobile Enterprise Survey:

  • Only 26% of North American companies have an EMM solution in place at this time. A much higher percentage is planning to, but not currently acting.
  • 91% of respondent businesses have issued company-owned devices to employees. 66% support BYOD.
  • Use of multiple mobile form factors and operating systems is common within individual companies.
  • Use of smart watches and smart glasses by workers has begun.
  • Almost half of respondent companies already have six or more mobile worker apps deployed. More apps are expected to be introduced over the near term.
  • Approximately one-third of businesses report that employee use of unauthorized mobile apps is a problem.

Businesses are realizing that failing to implement a solution that manages and safeguards this burgeoning and complex array of digital assets can result in operational disruptions, non-compliance penalties, and significant financial losses.

In this light, the lack of an EMM solution can be viewed as an irresponsible risk.

However, choosing an EMM product can be a challenge. Today’s EMM market is in constant motion, steadily expanding in terms of coverage and capabilities. When vetting current and prospective solutions, today’s business should start by exploring these seven basic considerations. Does the EMM offering provide:

A Roadmap to UEM:  EMM solutions are evolving beyond mobile device/app/content management into a broader and more inclusive Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) experience. That means an integrated platform that at least also manages and secures desktop computers – and is in the process of adding wearables and select enterprise IoT devices to the mix.

A Priority on Security:  External threats to device and data security are increasing, driving companies to search for enterprise-grade security tools. EMM/UEM providers are incorporating and prioritizing security in their solutions, including services such as mobile threat detection and defense. MTD used to be treated as a separate “nice to have” service available from third-party specialists. Now, it’s being viewed as integral to a best-in-class EMM portfolio, whether as a native capability or in partnership with MTD experts.

Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics:  Predictive analytics translates past patterns and data into proactive recommendations, warnings, and actions that can prevent policy violations, save money, and increase user satisfaction. Machine learning is a key tool, increasingly used to strengthen EMM/UEM security capabilities and optimize threat defense. Context-based identity and access management is one example of how machine learning can be leveraged to create a more secure user experience.

Cloud-based Delivery:  While on-premise EMM/UEM delivery continues to be made available, cloud-based solutions are receiving a significant amount of attention.  Why? The cloud’s affordability and third-party administration often effectively neutralize two of the biggest barriers to EMM adoption: “too expensive to implement” and “too complicated to deal with.”

Flexible Pricing:  Today’s businesses – large and small – are a cost-conscious bunch. EMM/UEM providers recognize this and typically offer a tiered set of solution alternatives, from basic to complex. This allows the customer to find the appropriate level of features and capabilities and not have to pay for unnecessary services. It is common for providers to use a subscription pricing model, charging a monthly per-user or per-device fee.

An Optimized User Experience:  Workers and administrators expect EMM/UEM solutions to make their jobs easier, not to impose management and security mechanisms that slow down productivity or narrow choice. Including actual users in the solution evaluation process can decrease the possibility of employee resistance down the road.

Tight Integration:  Silo solutions can be a bad financial and operational decision. There is now a strong emphasis on the value of integration, whether that be with the provider’s related systems and overarching platform, with valuable third-party services, and/or with native OS/device management solutions. Integrating visibility and administration of all endpoints on one console is also expected, as is the concept of a unified app store that provides access to all types of apps (mobile, desktop, etc.).

A review of these seven topics will provide the basis for initial vetting and set the stage for further, more in-depth discussions with providers of interest. 

More of our thinking around the EMM/UEM sector can be found in the Frost & Sullivan study, “North American Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) Markets, 2018,” 9ABE/35, June 2018 at https://store.frost.com/.


Jeanine Sterling

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