four pigeons in flight
In spite of this being the fourth year Gartner has released the report, people are still confused what enterprise mobility management means PHOTO: David Spinks

This is the fourth year Gartner has published a Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Suites, yet the analysts who wrote the report — Rob Smith, Bryan Taylor, Manjunath Bhat, Chris Silva, Terrence Cosgrove — shared an interesting observation: they still get inquiry calls about MDM (mobile device management) from companies who have never heard of EMM.

So before revealing the vendors whom Gartner has deemed EMM suite Leaders, let's define EMM.

What Is Enterprise Mobility Management?

According to the analysts, "EMM suites are the 'glue' that connects mobile devices to their enterprise infrastructure."

More specifically, EMM tools are used to configure, deploy, upgrade and retire devices for enterprise use; for auditing devices to insure compliance with company policies; for protecting enterprise data including access rights and device lockdown among other things; and supporting and troubleshooting devices.

Gartner noted five capabilities for EMM Suites inside the report:

  1. Mobile Device Management (MDM) for the administration of mobile devices including setting up profiles, configuring operating systems, device provisioning, de-provisioning and more.
  2. Mobile Application Management (MAM) which might include providing in-house and third party apps via an enterprise app store or simply overseeing OS APIs, such as Android for Work and iOS's Managed App Configuration, and the wholesale purchase of third party apps.
  3. Mobile Identity (MI) for insuring devices and applications are being accessed only by authorized parties — without taking away from the end user experience.
  4. Mobile Content Management (MCM) for managing access rules for enterprise content while at the same time making collaboration simple. Some vendors include Enterprise File Sync and Share in their offerings.
  5. Containment for facilitating and separating employee and personal usage on the same device. This may include segmenting enterprise data. Containment is often achieved by preconfigured apps or apps that are wrapped in what Gartner calls "a layer of security."

In the report, Gartner noted that MDM, MAM and at least one of the following: MI, MCM or containment technologies must be present in the EMM Suite to qualify for consideration in the MQ. It also reported that most advanced suites include all five technologies.

4 Companies Lead in EMM

Thirteen EMM providers qualified for this year's MQ (subscription required): Blackberry, Cisco, Citrix, IBM, Ivanti, Matrix42, Microsoft, MobileIron, NationSky, Snow Software, Sophos, SOTO and VMware.

Of the 13, Gartner selected four leaders: VMware, MobileIron, IBM and Blackberry. 

Gartner Magic Quadrant for EMM
PHOTO: Gartner

VMware

Palo Alto, Calif-based VMware pushed beyond its EMM (AirWatch product line) to what Gartner calls UEM (Unified Endpoint Management) which allows endpoints, whether iOS or Windows 10, to be managed from a single console, making life easier for administrators. It also noted enterprises that leverage the capabilities of the Dell ecosystem (including VMware AirWatch, VMware Pulse IoT Center, EMC data management, and Dell's hardware and services) get a robust solution in VMware's Workspace One.

While the analysts liked VMware's track record with large enterprise deployments and innovation, they found support complaints from users who did not purchase Technical Account Manager as well as some problems with email and AirWatch code. 

In spite of these concerns, VMware received the highest marks of all the vendors when it comes to “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision.”

MobileIron

Mountain View, Calif-based MobileIron has achieved wide adoption rates among enterprises as a single integration point for mobile policies “due to its broad integration capabilities with third-party infrastructure components, such as certificate authorities, security information and event management (SIEM), network access controls (NACs), mobile threat defense tools and the AppConfig ecosystem,” according to Gartner. The analysts also highlighted the vendor's appeal to companies in regulated industries because of its numerous security certifications.

While MobileIron rated highly for user experience and security, the analysts sent up a yellow flag noting it is the only stand-alone EMM in the Leaders Quadrant and, as a result, could face “competitive pressure from vendors with broader suites of products and be threatened if and when enterprises look to reduce their overall vendor footprint."

IBM

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM received high marks from Gartner for complementing its previous security focus with a newfound attention to user productivity. It also received accolades for its “better together” strategy, in which a specific IBM product leverages other parts of the vendor's vast portfolio. In the case of EMM, IBM’s MaaS360 cloud-based solution can leverage IBM’s cloud access security broker (CASB) as well as Watson Analytics for cognitive insights to help IT managers understand their environments.

Gartner's areas for concern were MaaS360 is offered as SaaS only and the size of its iOS app, which could prove frustrating in places with slow internet connections.

BlackBerry

Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry‘s Unified Endpoint Manager (UEM) goes well beyond EMM to include the integration of Good Technology (acquired by BlackBerry in 2015) with BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). Blackberry can now manage not only mobile devices but PCs, Macs and Internet of Things (IoT) as well.

BlackBerry also acquired enterprise sync and share provider Watchdox in 2015 giving it secure, enterprise- grade content management and collaboration capabilities.

The analysts raised a few yellow flags around BlackBerry UEM, in some cases due to its newness and others due to its apparent workarounds.

It's worth noting that Citrix and Microsoft just missed the Leaders MQ.