The Story of EMM

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — June 16, 2014

Of all the clichés around mobility, change and complexity are at the top of the list. More than buzz words, though, the concepts are true, which is how they become clichés in the first place, and the progression to enterprise mobility management (EMM) was filled with both.
 
In examining enterprise mobility in early 2012, a Citrix study stated, “The overriding theme of this report is how diverse the mobile device, application and data landscape has become and how this complexity will only increase.” 
 
At that time, 36% of respondents cited BlackBerry as the company’s primary device versus 39% who said iPhone. Sixty-two percent said their “mobile strategy” focused on device management.  
 
In December 2013, Citrix took another look, and 58% of enterprise IT respondents reported they were “very concerned” about corporate information in apps. Yet, the majority in all cases said they have a plan in place to manage devices, apps and cloud data.

Six months later Citrix reported, "Device enrollment has increased to 135%.  While iOS still remains the dominant operating system, all platforms saw a similar increase in device enrollment."
 
Conclusion? Things have changed; and “organizations will need to re-evaluate existing mobility strategies to account for the increase in complexity in 2014.”
 
The Magic of EMM
The re-evaluation that is called will involve a broader approach and new solutions—EMM. Accordingly, Gartner released its first Magic Quadrant (MQ) around “enterprise mobility management suites,” noting a rapidly evolving market that is, of course, “more complex.”
 
The firm sees the evolution much like it was shown by the Citrix research over the last few years, where organizations started by adopting MDM, then moved onto apps and access to more sources of content. This is the new but “adolescent” EMM, according to the Gartner report.

Phil Redman, VP of Mobile Solutions and Strategy at Citrix, expands on this, saying, “Most importantly, EMM supports enterprise data in any form, on any type of device (mobile or desktop), and over any network. It also includes in its components security, hardware, software and network management.”
 
What is the state of EMM?
He also acknowledges that EMM is in early stages—“nascent”—but noted that organizations wanting to take a strategic approach to mobility are increasingly seeking more sophisticated solutions. In fact, Citrix’ current stats show that over 85% are choosing integrated EMM offerings versus standalone technologies. “They recognize the value of a complete solution in order to effectively mobilize their workforce,” said Redman.
 
Why the shift now? It’s simple: enterprise mobility is “unstoppable,” and it will be the only way to meet growing employee demands, along with their expectation that they can work from anywhere on any device with secure and instant access to corporate information.
 
This period continues to be unlike any that has come before in business. “In the past, users had a greater divide between what was work-based and what wasn’t. Today, there is a greater blend of work and personal life,” he explained.
 
EMM is necessary to connect a complex infrastructure and user needs, and Redman pointed out that companies want to leverage their existing investments. He said that a fully integrated EMM solution is easier to implement, configure, scale and manage than disparate solutions. “It offers flexibility to address the needs of existing corporate users and IT, as well as address change in the future.”
 
Waving Goodbye to Mobile Separation
That future, as Gartner sees it, involves three waves of mobile and client management convergence, ultimately culminating in “unified endpoint management.”
 
The MQ report said the first wave is where most companies still are today as they moved toward EMM, with largely separate tools for mobile and client management. “The second wave will include more options for organizations to use a single vendor's tools for PCs and mobile devices. There will be more options, because mobile devices are making the management of their platforms easier, which will allow more vendors to offer sufficient EMM capabilities.”
 
Gartner also noted in the report that many organizations “have an entrenched client management tool,” representing significant investments. If their client management vendor does not meet EMM needs, this wave is likely to be skipped.
 
Within 5-7 years, Gartner predicts the convergence that is wave 3 will happen; where dependence on legacy technology will be eliminated and  “a single tool for all endpoints will be feasible.”

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