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Forrester Evaluates the State of Smartphone Management

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A new report, Market Overview: Smartphone Management, by Forrester estimates that in the next 12 to 18 months, IT managers will change the way they manage client computing strategies, impacting smartphone management in the enterprise.

Smartphone Management Becomes More Inclusive

Informational workers have been consistently evolving the technology they use in the field, thus facilitating the need for IT managers to advance their support of various smartphones and mobile devices.

However, instead of initiating a “one-size fits all approach”, the study finds that corporate IT policies will include support for at least BlackBerry, iOS, and Android platforms and will be more inclusive and supportive of individual devices connecting to corporate resources.

While it’s no secret that today’s IT manager is overwhelmed by the growing use and acceptance of smartphones in the enterprise, the fact is that it’s only going to increase. Smartphones are not just used to facilitate communication, they also facilitate productivity among mobile workers, allowing them to work efficiently and effectively from remote locations. Companies have recognized the benefit that they bring to the enterprise, while understanding the security risks they present as well.

Criteria for Measuring the Evolving Smartphone Vendor Landscape

Forrester outlined ten key functionalities, which they believe make up the smartphone management landscape, and as result make it easier to evaluate different vendors. From configuration, software and security management to device recovery, scalability, asset management and reporting, IT managers can effectively measure the risks and benefits of each. However, the report indicated that to a majority of Forrester’s clients, being able to compare vendors against a list of supported mobile OSes was the most important tool in selecting the right smartphones.

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Figure 1. Forrester offered the ten criteria for evaluating the smartphone management vendor landscape
 

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Figure 2: Significant Differentiators Within the vendor landscape Is the list Of Supported OSes

Smartphone Management in Four Parts

The report also divided the smartphone management vendor landscape into four groups: incumbents, new entrants, best-of-breed, and services.

Among incumbents, Forrester listed Good Technology, Microsoft, RIM, and Sybase, with RIM’s BES setting the gold standard for its more than 500 policies for enterprise IT managers to control their fleet of BlackBerry devices.

New entrants highlighted included BoxTone, MobileIron, Trust Digital, and Zenprise. Though these vendors have fewer than 1,000 enterprise customers, Forrester was impressed by the number of active proofs of concept (POCs) each had developed, particularly within heavily regulated industries such as healthcare, financial services, public sector, and manufacturing.

Forrester selected vendors like AirWatch, Motorola, SOTI, and Wavelink to represent its best-of-breed category, highlighting the ways that they support not just mobile device management by WLAN management, as well as peripheral devices like cash registers, scanners and kiosks, among others.

Finally, for services, Forrester chose tier one mobile operators and vendors like Fiberlink, Mformation, and Perlego because of their ability to offer mobile device management as a managed service, which is especially helpful for companies who need help managing or developing their mobile management strategies.

More of the Same to Come

Overall, the study doesn’t provide a "silver bullet" for the future of mobile enterprise management. Instead, it predicts that the future will include many of the same challenges and issues currently faced. The future of IT management will continue to evolve its policies as the smartphone landscape evolves the way employees work, making it much more advantageous for companies to embrace its diversity while preparing for its security.

 
 
 
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