Mobile Device Management (MDM) Is Dead

Mobile Device Management (MDM) Is Dead

Mobile Device Management. It's a fast-growing market and a hot topic of discussion for managed services providers. Still, I think a major portion of the mobile device management (MDM) market is already dead. That's right: Traditional MDM is dead and buried. So here we are: You're just getting started with MDM. But you already have to change your strategy -- if you've got one. Here's why.

First, please note: This blog entry does not focus on the enterprise mobile device management market. Rather, I'm referring to MSPs and VARs that support SMB customers -- where iPads, iPhones, Android devices, tablets and smartphones are running in the wild.

Call Me Crazy (But Keep Reading)

I have two beliefs about the market:
  1. Standalone MDM platforms are dead. MSPs want mobile device management (MDM) integrated into their existing managed services dashboards. That's why most of the major RMM (remote monitoring and management) software providers are introducing plug-in MDM modules. Or maybe it's "just there" -- without any extra modules to install. Plus, security companies like Symantec and Sophos are buying up MDM vendors. The MDM market is growing (in sales) but consolidating (through big fish-little fish M&A).
  2. MDM per-device pricing is dead. I've had an iPad for two years. It just works. As a small business co-founder I can't imagine paying someone a per device "fee" to take care of my company's iPads and tablets. I think I'll get some strong debate on this point. Some MSPs are succeeding with per-device MDM fees.
My thoughts above have been brewing for a few weeks. But they came into focus when I spoke with Dave Sobel, a former MSP who recently joined Level Platforms. I won't spill our conversation into this blog since Sobel was speaking to me based on his MSP mindset rather than based on any statements from his employer.

MDM Will Become Part Of...

I firmly believe MDM will just become another capability built into RMM software, or built into broader IT management platforms. And I do believe MSPs will profit from MDM -- perhaps in a "total user pricing" model, where the per-user fee covers every device and application a user touches. It's all part of the total user experience.

For instance, if John Doe has a PC, tablet and smartphone, the MSP would charge one flat monthly fee to maintain all those devices while also ensuring Doe has corporate application access, backup, security, across all devices.

The goal: Give your customers an awesome user experience, regardless of device, location and application.

Indeed, standalone mobile device management is dead. Long live total user experience management.

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