2012: MDS, MDM to Take Center Stage

I've spoken with industry analysts, listened to co-workers and read plenty of IT prophecies form an opinion about what the New Year will bring. In my opinion, the two hottest managed services sectors entering 2012 are  managed document services (MDS) and mobile device management (MDM). I expect both MDS and MDM to headline MSPmentor's coverage and dominate the managed services market in 2012. Here's why.

In one word, competition. If you're an MSPmentor daily reader you have likely noticed that new news has been surfacing in the managed print/document or mobile device management sector almost every day, particularly in the second half of 2011. One day Xerox takes center stage by signing a managed print services deal only to be out-shined by a Lexmark announcement shortly thereafter. It seemed like each time Ricoh announced a new managed document solution, a company like Hewlett-Packard (HP) just happened to capture headlines within the same month.

The same is true in the MDM sector. Ever since the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management Software was released in April 2011, software developers atop the Quadrant such as AirWatch, MobileIron, Numara Software and others have been racing to support the new Apple iOS 5 platform, become compatible with Android mobile devices and add new mobile security features for enterprises dealing with the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) demand from their own employees.

The competition among MDS and MDM software developers was red hot during the second half 2011, so there's no reason to believe things will slow down when the calendar flips.

Driving Factors

Why are so many companies consuming these MDS and MDM solutions? MDS providers have positioned their solutions as a way for businesses to save money. They claim to speed up daily work processes and provide an easier way to manage workflows -- two big factors pulling in cash-strapped businesses from around the world that are looking to save money.

When it comes to MDM, businesses don't really have a choice. Employees are demanding that their employers allow them to use their own mobile devices. So businesses are turning to mobile device management software to help them monitor devices coming onto their networks.

There are no indications that the above driving factors are slowing down. I believe the MDM and MDS markets will continue to expand.

Challenges Ahead

The news around MDM and MDS is not all roses and rainbows. There are challenges ahead for MSPs and businesses, particularly when it comes to MDM. Many businesses still do not know how many devices are connected to their networks. That leaves them open to network attacks and downtime, which ultimately hurts their pocketbooks. So the next challenge for MDM software developers is to more closely engage MSPs to get customer devices under control.

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