Amid the BYOD boom, Mobile Device Management (MDM) remains a ripe opportunity for managed services providers (MSPs), according to IBM's Tim Tsao. Here's why.

August 19, 2013

3 Min Read
MSPs Must Monetize Mobile Device Management (MDM)

By IBM Guest Blog 1

I last wrote asking, “What’s a Next-Generation MSP”? And I suggested 5 key steps to transforming your MSP. Now, let’s take that a step further to magnify one of my favorite topics: Mobile. I’m going to show you how to make money in 3 steps.


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Let’s first discuss a few facts about the marketplace. Most companies, especially in the midmarket, don’t have many IT resources. In fact, the average midmarket firm has eight to 15 IT staff members, according to a study of Midmarket clients by the SMB Group. The study also found that 47 percent of midmarket companies say security is a top concern when deploying mobile and 90 percent of firms will support BYOD by 2014. What does this tell you? There’s an expanding pie and there’s plenty of client demand for mobile device management to address application, network, and device security. 

So how do you make money? First step: get a Mobile Device Management tool to manage mobile devices like tablets, smartphones and laptops. Look for a solution with one User Interface to manage across all endpoints, from servers to smartphones.

A suggestion is to download the free trial of IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices. This powerful software, part of our IBM MobileFirst portfolio, will allow you to use one tool to manage key MSP capabilities like patch management, security & compliance, and of course mobile devices to address BYOD. We have a software licensing option called Application Specific Licensing (ASL) that allows MSP’s to maximize profits and your branding on what you sell into your end-clients. And right now we have some great ASL incentives.

The second step is start marketing your BYOD mobile capabilities. Pursue your existing customers where you’re managing their server, network, or storage already. They will want to know how they can accommodate their employee’s demands for BYOD, enabling simple functions like email and calendaring. Use this as a point of differentiation and upsell them to achieve more margins from your existing customers.

Now, step three, expand your footprint. You’ll soon be asked for apps like secure file sharing or access to your client’s ERP/CRM. You can use third-party apps or build your own, and you’ll probably want to setup a secure company app store for your customer’s employees. You can do this, as this MSPmentor article suggests, by creating a service line offering a mobile PaaS to develop mobile apps using a Mobile Application Development Platform or just find a partner to do it for you. Just be sure your technology partner has not only a broad mobile and infrastructure portfolio, but also a strong MSP program with pricing and finance options that cater to an MSP business model.

Tim Tsao is MSP marketing leader for IBM General Business Midmarket. Guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor event engagements.

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