5 products leading the enterprise mobile management pack
Mobile Communications

5 products leading the enterprise mobile management pack

With the rise of consumer technology, IT departments find themselves forced to adapt mobility management strategies to account for employees' personal tablets, smartphones and smartwatches. And mobile device management, or MDM, isn't enough. Gartner points to a rise in enterprise mobility management (EMM) and notes that IT leaders are looking for software that can help manage updates, deliver analytics, protect data and offer support for troubleshooting across numerous devices and platforms. Several vendors aim to supply businesses with the right balance of security and productivity they need in order to keep the business secure and employees happy.

Gartner released its 2015 Magic Quadrant report earlier this summer, highlighting the key players in enterprise mobile management. The data uncovered five leaders in this area, companies that -- by multiple standards -- are at the top of the EMM market. Gartner describes "leaders" in this industry as having the highest revenue in the EMM market, years of proven success with customers, the "most complete products in the EMM market," being in-touch with the current EMM trends and demonstrating a commitment to the EMM market. Gartner identified five companies as fitting this category, ones that found a balance between their overall vision and an ability to execute on that vision.

VMware AirWatch

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Once a standalone product, AirWatch is now a cornerstone of VMware's EMM solution, offering support for multiple platforms and third-party mobile apps. Gartner cites a positive track record for large-scale deployments of AirWatch across various markets, an easy-to-use administrative console, integrated training and a continuing push for innovation as some of the company's biggest strengths.

However, Gartner cautions that there have been complaints from clients who didn't purchase the additional Technical Account Manager (TAM), stating that reports suggest the customer service isn't as good as it is for clients who opted for the extra cost. There are also some concerns around the acquisition of EMC -- VMware's parent company -- by Dell. Gartner points to an uncertainty around whether or not VMware's AirWatch will get the same consideration that it did under VMware as a solo company.

[ Related story: Mobile management takes on apps, content ]

MobileIron

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As one of the last remaining stand-alone EMM vendors, Gartner says MobileIron is facing increasingly stronger competition in the market, especially as competitors shift to offer EMM as part of a more comprehensive package. But MobileIron has held strong, implementing an overhaul of its executive leadership, growing its customer base and staying on the cutting edge of the three major mobile platforms.

Gartner points to MobileIron's strengths in custom analytics, third-party integration, platform-compatibility and positive customer reviews for scalability and stability as some of the company's biggest strengths. It's also typically the first vendor to support the latest Android, iOS and Windows updates and releases -- leaving little downtime when it comes to supporting the latest technology.

However, Gartner does point out a few of MobileIron's weaknesses, including reports of unsatisfactory customer support for those without a dedicated technical support escalation contact and an outdated user-experience lacking in some critical features. There are also questions around the new leadership, with Gartner stating a new executive team can create some uncertainty around the future of the business.

Citrix

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Citrix's mobility management suite of products include XenMobile, Worx and ShareFile. While Citrix offers a full suite of EMM products, the company recently renovated its console user experience, updating it with a cleaner interface that is easier to navigate despite the number of products offered.

Gartner also notes that Citrix is constantly innovating, especially around its Worx app suite and ShareFile client, which is great news for customers, especially those that want to transition their Citrix apps or desktop software over to mobile devices. It's also one of the more user-friendly options for mobile management, with the ability to create specific policy controls for the end-user to automate user messages and help migrate complex settings across devices. Gartner also points to Citrix XenMobile as a great solution for any organization that is already entrenched in the Citrix eco-system and that require a broader EMM offering.

There are some cautions regarding Citrix, with Gartner pointing to issues with large SaaS-based deployments, noting that businesses should investigate how well Citrix's products will scale. There are also some questions around the touch-friendliness of the software, which may be a problem for anyone looking to integrate tablets or smartphones.

[ Related story: Mobile management vendors compared ]

IBM

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IBM's EMM solution, IBM MaaS360, works across iOS, Android and Windows, making it a viable choice for businesses working across multiple platforms or trying to manage BYOD policies; it also features compatibility with older versions of Windows and OS X.

Some of the strengths listed by Gartner include a proven track record of successful large-scale deployments and integration with QRadar, which allows administrators to automate wide-spread actions across mobile devices in the event of a breach of vulnerability.

But just as with any EMM provider, there are some downsides to IBM's MaaS360, including low adoption in larger enterprise settings and the need for administrators to manually remove retired devices. Also, Gartner does point out that while IBM certainly rolls out fast product updates and even offers same-day support for new platform releases, it does fall behind when it comes to the latest features and functionality when compared to the competition.

Blackberry

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Although Blackberry smartphones might not benefit from the same brand-awareness they did in the mid 2000's, the company hasn't backed down from its focus on offering enterprise-grade security. Once the industry-standard for mobile confidentiality and encryption, Blackberry has continued that focus with its "Good Secure EMM Suite," which, according to Gartner, positions the company to "take a leading role in MCM and containment."

Gartner points to Blackberry's EMM solution for "highly regulated industries," noting that they will find the most advanced and strongest security features, especially for current and past models of Blackberry devices. Customers are also happy with Blackberry, citing positive experiences and the ability to have a direct pipeline to executives within the company.

While Blackberry has one of the most secure EMM offerings in the industry, Gartner expresses concerns around the fact that for the cloud version of BES12, the backups are stored in two locations that might interfere with national policies in certain countries. For example, with primary sites in Canada and the Netherlands, it leaves compliance regulations up in the air for plenty of countries, including those in the European Union and the United States.

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