Goodbye Mobile Device Management, Hello Systems Management

Mobile Device Management (MDM) will ultimately die as a standalone platform and will blend into systems management and/or RMM (remote monitoring and management) platforms. MSPmentor made that statement back in April 2012. And we're repeating it now. Citrix Systems acquired Zenprise today. What's coming next? First, a massive technology company will make some major MDM news in the next few days, and at least one MDM company in Gartner's Magic Quadrant may sell itself before January 1, 2013, MSPmentor has learned. So what does all this mean for MSPs?

The simple answer: Tread carefully as you look at standalone MDM platforms. They're going to disappear through M&A, and will re-surface in larger systems management or RMM (remote monitoring and management) platforms that already take care of PCs, servers and networks.

The three paths forward involve:

  • RMM software providers that offer MDM capabilities.
  • RMM software providers that OEM MDM and/or systems management capabilities.
  • Big technology and systems management companies that buy up the MDM players.
Citrix showed its hand today, buying Zenprise -- which will be integrated into the Citrix CloudGateway and [email protected] solutions for managing mobile apps and mobile data.

But that's just the first of many imminent moves. At least one more massive technology company will show its hand in December, I believe. And at least one MDM company in Gartner's Magic Quadrant will try to wrap up a company sale by December 31, 2012, MSPmentor has learned.

What are the chances of an actual sale? Two sources say about "50/50" -- and it all comes down to (A) a close check of accounting and (B) a double-check on whether that accounting affirms the current valuation discussions. "Everyone on the buy side of the table is a bit spooked by the HP-Autonomy debacle," said one source who is familiar with the negotiations.

HP recently wrote down $8.8 billion and recorded a massive quarterly loss, alleging Autonomy committed accounting fraud before HP acquired the company in 2011.

Systems management companies don't want to experience similar financial setbacks -- but they seem hot for MDM acquisitions. The next one could arrive before you say Happy New Year...

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