Managed Mobile Services: The Wave of the Future

Count research and analysis powerhouse Gartner among the growing number of expert sources predicting that mobile devices will come to dominate the US workplace within a few short years. Gartner recently released two key predictions on the growth of workplace mobile technology to which MSPs serving clients of all sizes, including SMBs (who are not typically early adopters but very often fast followers), should pay attention. Indeed, the mobile device management (MDM) wave is building.

Reflecting the increasing amount of time a growing number of employees are spending at remote locations, Gartner predicts that by 2016, at least half of enterprise email users will rely primarily on a browser, tablet or mobile client instead of a desktop client. Gartner terms the expected pace of change for the transition away from desktop client-based email in the next four years “breathtaking,” and says growth will be beyond what is expected considering the general movement toward mobile devices in the workplace.

As part of this trend, Gartner says email system vendors are also likely to build mobile clients for a diverse set of devices, and market opportunities for mobile device management platform vendors will soar. Increased pressure will be on those suppliers to accommodate an increasing portfolio of collaboration services, including instant messaging, web conferencing, social networking and shared workspaces.

MSPs have a great opportunity to build a set of managed services around all the different devices, platforms and collaboration methods expected to mushroom out of the mobile email trend. SMBs will be in even greater need of help given their generally less robust in-house resources and greater constraints on cash and time.

Smartphones and Tablets Replace PCs

Gartner estimates that by 2015, mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of four to one. Smartphones and tablets represent more than 90% of the new net growth in device adoption for the coming four years, and Gartner says increasing application platform capability across all classes of mobile phones is spurring a new frontier of innovation, particularly where mobile capabilities can be integrated with location, presence and social information to enhance their usefulness.

As a result, the vast majority of client-side applications will eventually be mobile-only or mobile-first for these devices. So while MSPs should not abandon managed services for PC users just yet, they should recognize what is coming down the pike and start expanding their managed mobile services offering now. Assuming that anything being done on a PC today will be done on a smartphone or tablet in five years is a safe bet, and MSPs serving SMBs should also take note that mobile devices, especially if they are employee-owned, can substantially reduce hardware overhead costs. Preparing a targeted mobile sales pitch now is not such a bad idea, either.
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