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Attack of the BYOD-killing MDM software

Tom Kaneshige | Feb. 5, 2014
BYOD has been an enterprise hit because it allows employees the convenience of combining their work and personal lives on a single mobile device while offering companies a sense of security thanks to mobile device management software. However, a breed of monstrous new MDM software threatens to send users away screaming.

Another way usability suffers is with the lack of access to new features.

Consumer-focused device makers such as Apple and Android are always one-upping each other to deliver the latest cool features. It's a white- hot space with lots of changes, fixes, patches, additional capabilities all coming to market in rapid succession. Apple, for instance, is on iOS 7.4, its fourth release. Each unannounced release sets off a chain reaction whereby app developers and MDM vendors must scramble to make changes to their software.

As Big Boys Get Into MDM, Agility Suffers
So far, pure-play MDM companies have been pretty nimble, but this is changing as enterprise heavyweights wade into the market. Microsoft expanded its management tools into the MDM space. Citrix bought Zenprise a year ago. IBM bought Fiberlink in November last year. Most recently, VMware bought AirWatch. Yet tech giants catering to the enterprise haven't fared well keeping up with the frenetic, whimsical pace of the consumer.

"It's hard to imagine a Microsoft, Oracle, SAP or IBM being agile enough to keep up," Baker says. "The same has to be said about the VMware acquisition of AirWatch and the Citrix acquisition of Zenprise. Is Zenprise as agile as they were beforehand? I don't think so."

If the MDM doesn't support the latest upgrade, then employees won't be able to get the latest features on their personally owned BYOD. If the MDM forces users to jump through hoops, then employees will opt out of the BYOD program. If the MDM appears too controlling, then employees will revolt.

If sci-fi scripts have taught us anything, in the end, humans always win.


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