At the end of March 2012, Orange UK announced the launch of its ‘Secure Mobility’ proposition, a bundle of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) service (using MobileIron’s platform) with its own data VPN service. Orange joins a number of other mobile operators, including AT&T, Swisscom, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Global Enterprise that have started offering MDM-as-a-Service as part of their managed mobility portfolios over the past year or so (all of these operators use MobileIron, but many other MDM platform providers exist – see box).
The arguments for organisations to use MDM software to support functionality such as remote data wipe and lock, policy enforcement, over-the-air (OTA) device management and application sandboxing across employer- and employee-owned devices are familiar:
AT&T, Orange, Swisscom, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Global Enterprise are, at the moment, largely aiming their MDM offerings at the high-end corporate market – in particular targeting large organisations with thousands of employees, and in sectors with particular sensitivities around data security such as financial and legal services. Companies such as Virtela (using MobileIron's Connected Cloud platform) and Fiberlink (with its own MaaS360 platform) are beginning to offer cloud MDM platforms that promise a lower cost of entry (because the purchase of server equipment and upfront licence fees is not required). This makes their services accessible to smaller organisations (although these suppliers are also targeting larger organisations too).
MDM solutions for varying sizes of company
Smaller and medium-sized businesses face a number of similar issues to those faced by large multi-site corporates: around data security, the need or desire to be able to support different mobile OS platforms, and wanting to use ICT to drive productivity – they just have smaller budgets. As MDM platforms, and the underlying mobile OS's, mature to be able to support the range of functionality that businesses require, MDM offered as a service promises a way to extend the market for MDM platforms beyond the corporate.
Mid-market and smaller business without the financial or technical resources – or operational bandwidth – to support their own MDM deployments, but with a business need, can be better addressed with appropriately-priced service offerings. And this is a service proposition that mobile operators and those service providers that are geared to serve medium and small-sized businesses are well placed to offer.
This article is an excerpt from a forthcoming Innovation Observatory report on Enterprise Mobility. For more information, contact us.