Many mobile device management (MDM) software cloud companies (including some featured in Gartner's Magic Quadrant research) don't understand managed services provider (MSP) business models and MSP customer engagements.

Joe Panettieri, Former Editorial Director

July 20, 2012

3 Min Read
Do Mobile Device Management (MDM) Vendors Understand MSPs?


Many mobile device management (MDM) software cloud companies (including some featured in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant research) don’t understand managed services provider (MSP) business models and MSP customer engagements. As a result, those MDM are overlooking a massive opportunity to potentially work with MSPs in the small business market.

I reached those conclusions after speaking with several MSPmentor 100 companies in recent days. Those MSPs have spent months research potential MDM options from big vendors as well as from RMM (remote monitoring and management) software companies. And in many cases, the MSPs don’t think the big software companies understand the MSP mindset in the SMB market.

Can MDM Vendors Do This for MSPs?

Some of the key MDM companies in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant research don’t understand that MSPs want:

  1. Recurring revenue opportunities;

  2. Service provider licensing models that MSPs manage on behalf of the customer and the back-end vendor;

  3. Billing capabilities that allow the MSP to manage how customers are charged for mobile device management; and

  4. White label capabilities that allow MSPs to brand the MDM service as their own.

I’ve previously predicted that standalone MDM tools will eventually disappear as big software, cloud and IT management companies gobble up the leading MDM players over the next 18 months to three years at absolute most. While the MDM technologies can be powerful, I don’t think corporate IT managers and MSPs want yet another standalone management dashboard.

Who’s Reaching Out to MSPs?

On the upside, we are starting to hear from MDM software and cloud companies that are building out partner programs. Examples include:

Note: I’m not specifically endorsing those solutions. I don’t know if each player delivers on each of the four requirements further above in this blog But our team will be checking in the days ahead. Of course, each of the major MDM software and cloud tool providers deserve equal time on this topic. In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll strive to offer that equal time.

MSP Software Companies Lead the Way…

In the meantime, RMM software companies continue to strengthen their own MDM offerings for MSPs…

  • Kaseya has been in the market for nearly a year with an MDM module.

  • Level Platforms recently introduced its own MDM module, which works with the company’s Managed Worldplace platform or as a standalone solution.

  • LabTech Software has introduced Android and Apple iOS support, with potential Windows Phone 8 support to follow, CEO Matt Nachtrab hinted at the Automation Nation conference last month.

  • N-able Technologies is preparing MDM support, and sources say the company may have general availability in early 2013… or perhaps as early as Q4 2012. I will ask for an update next time I speak with N-able.

  • Did I miss anyone? Post a comment or send email, joe [at] NineLivesMediaInc [dot] com.

MDM Business Models…

Meanwhile, MSPs attending Schnizzfest in Philadelphia today mentioned that they’re not trying to charge a “per device” fee for MDM. Rather, they are charging a fee for business continuity, data protection and corporate compliance services that now extend from servers out to desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.

Of course, multiple MDM business models will emerge for MSPs. But the MDM market would grow even faster — especially in the small business market — if the MDM software giants woke up to the MSP opportunity.

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About the Author(s)

Joe Panettieri

Former Editorial Director, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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