ÜberTech

Managed Mobility Gets Even Better, Exposes Dithering IT Managers

Summary:Verizon introduced an upgrade to its managed mobility service that takes away one more excuse for IT managers procrastinating about when to secure and manage their smartphones and tablets.

Procrastination. I suffer from it, you suffer from it, whole organizations suffer from it. How else would you explain the many enterprises that are drowning in employee-owned smartphones and tablets yet have managed to avoid deploying Mobile Device Management (MDM) software, despite the increasing threat of data loss and theft?

According to a Yankee Group survey released earlier this week, 59% of U.S. enterprises said they allow personally-owned devices on their network, even though they don't take any steps to manage or secure them.

Verizon Business made an announcement earlier this week that erases one more excuse for organizations dilly-dallying about mobile device management (MDM).

The operator added a fifth module to its managed mobility service. This one lets enterprises create their mobile business apps once, and run them on multiple smartphones and tablets with little to no rewriting required.

Platforms include iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Windows and, soon, Android.

Launched 14 months ago, Verizon's service was mostly based on my employer's market-leading Afaria software (or to paraphrase the movie Swingers, Sybase is "the guy behind the guy").

Even at that time, Verizon already had what Yankee (free registration required) called the "leading carrier offer" because of its comprehensive-ness: telecom expense management, logistics, device management, security and consulting.

That's the downside of some other telco-offered services, and cloud-offered solutions in general.

"The importance of a well-orchestrated solution shouldn’t be underestimated, as some leading solution providers report that roughly 20-30 percent of customers take the full suite rather than just one or two elements," Yankee said. "They also indicate that the percentage of customers purchasing entire suites grows each quarter."

Of course, compromises with cloud can be ok. Google Docs doesn't have Microsoft Office's bazillion features and that works for many users.

Enterprises will migrate to managed mobility services that offer strategic, not simply operational, benefits, says Yankee Group.

But cross-platform enterprise app development is quickly morphing from a nice-to-have to a gotta-have feature. According to Forrester Research, 63% of corporations are either deploying mobile apps or planning to in the near future.

Verizon has solved that by enlisting the capabilities of the Sybase Unwired Platform. That makes managed mobility powerful enough for most enterprises and certainly most startups and smaller firms, while delivering all of vaunted upsides of cloud: low cost, low pain.

Don't be confused by offerings that look like managed mobility, but are really traditional on-premises software offered by operators, like this AT&T-MobileIron deal.

Of course, Sybase still believes strongly in the on-premises market for MDM software. Our Afaria has led that market for the past 9 years.

But managed mobility democratizes sophisticated MDM the same way Salesforce.com made powerful CRM tools available to one-man startups for the first time. It is also "gaining momentum and will play a more strategic role in enterprises over the next three years," opines Yankee.

That's why Sybase is supplying our mobile management expertise to other service providers, including another huge telco, Orange, Veliq, and, most recently, Symphony Services Corp.

Topics: Enterprise Software, iPad, Mobility, Wi-Fi

About

Eric Lai tracks the latest news and trends in enterprise mobility. A veteran tech journalist most recently covering enterprise software for Computerworld, Eric joined Sybase, an SAP company in April 2010. Eric's views are his alone and do not necessarily represent those of SAP. This blog is sponsored by SAP.

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