Has Mobile Device Management (MDM) Jumped the Shark?
Mobile device management (MDM) was the hot term for managed services providers (MSPs) throughout most of 2012. But I have a sense the "hot" MDM opportunity has cooled off a bit in 2013. Check Google Trends and you'll find searches for the term peaked around January 2012. At the same time, I think most MSPs are still struggling to monetize smartphone and tablet management. Even some MSP software companies tell me their MDM offerings aren't selling. Some folks may never find a way to make a buck off MDM. That doesn't surprise me.
For about five years now, MSPmentor's top traffic stories have involved (A) pricing strategies for managed services and (B) sales strategies for MSPs. The old per-user vs. per-device pricing debate rages on. Until recently, that debate was mostly limited to PC, server, network and traditional application management. My question: If you can't nail down a business model for mature IT markets, are you really in position to formulate a profit plan for disruptive waves like mobility, cloud and so on?
Ah, and there's the rub: We (vendors and the media) all spend so much time focused on MDM — but you need to think bigger and focus instead on the broader implications of mobility.
- What mobile applications and devices are your customers already leveraging?
- What type of profits do various mobile services generate for your customers?
- How are those solutions sourced, managed and secured?
- How can you help your customers to move even closer to their end-customers?
Once you gather answers to those questions, you can get a better feel for just how much customers are willing to pay for mobility solutions. Think of it this way:
- What I Won't Pay For (not even a dime): I've owned an iPad and an iPhone for a combined seven years. Never once have I called on our corporate IT team to "manage" or "maintain" those devices. Nor am I willing to pay a fee for such basic maintenance.
- What I Will Pay For (perhaps even a premium): Imagine if there was a specific mobile application that generated a ton of money or end-user productivity for my company. I'd certainly pay an MSP top dollar to help me deploy, maintain and manage that application — perhaps even sandboxing that business application away from my consumer apps. Or, imagine if I had to adhere to corporate compliance standards and privacy standards. Here again, I might pay a premium for such services.
Bottom line: There's no easy money in the MDM market. As we predicted about a year ago, MDM is basically blending directly into traditional IT management platforms and/or RMM software. With that thought in mind, MSPmentor about a year ago ran the headline MDM is dead. Long live managed mobility.