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Is there a Mobile Device Management Bubble?

Is there a Mobile Device Management Bubble?

Is there an MDM (mobile device management) bubble? Currently I get a lot of questions about what our mobile device management (MDM) strategy is, and to be frank I'm not 100 percent sure myself. There is an enormous amount of hype in the MSP industry at the moment and I fear it has more to do with generating excitement than generating revenues. After a number of difficult years in the industry, the emergence of a new class of devices to manage is big news and there is no shortage of acronyms and hockey sticks doing the rounds. I am just not sure we should be buying into it.

BYOD/BYOT is a passing fad in my opinion. If I buy a fancy new gadget then damn right I am going to want to carry it around with me. And with all the cool things I can do with it I am absolutely going to want to use it while I work and every opportunity I have to show it around will be another reason to connect it to my company network. And the IT department? Why they are as excited as the rest of us right now and no way are they going to tell me to put it away.

Taking Notes on iPad

For how long, though? I took my iPad to every meeting for a while. I tapped away, wrote on it with a stylus, and synchronised it to the laptop in my bag as if by magic. I downloaded Notepad, NoteShelf, NoteMan, NoteTaker, EveryNote and every other note app I could find to test out how they would help me be more productive. I was a note taking demon. Then I went back to the office and tried to summarise what I had written onto my laptop. Boy did I miss pen and paper – with doodles for empahsis, arrows and diagrams neatly squeezed in between the lines, and big stars next to Eurika moments. There are some great gadgets out there but as a primary input tool for business I am not sure we are there yet. I did like what I saw of Microsoft's Surface, by the way, although too much was missing in the way of battery life and screen readability to make a call just yet.

The point I am trying to make, is that the current MDM hype is a bit ahead of reality I think. Smartphones and tablets are great for accessing data but they will need to complete the circle to becoming smaller and lighter laptops before they are real business input tools. As access devices we don’t so much need to manage them as manage the networks they connect to, and that is already a mature and robust sector on its own – no one awaiting the emergence of new MDM platforms. I may be wrong, and we debate this internally regularly, but I am not sure I want my personal devices monitored for me. My 12 year old does a great job of doing that already.

Ian van Reenen is CTO CentraStage, which works closely with MSPs. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of CentraStage’s guest blogs here.
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