Consumerization, BYOD and MDM: What you need to know

Consumerization, BYOD and MDM: What you need to know

Summary: Consumerization and BYOD is reshaping the way IT is purchased, managed, delivered and secured. We delve into what it means, the key products involved, how to handle it and where it's going in the future.


BYOD outlook
These days, cutting-edge technology tends to appear first in the consumer market. Once exposed to new tech, people will want to use it at work as soon as possible. If officially denied, they'll probably use it surreptitiously, with potentially serious security consequences.

Consumerization, BYOD and the increasing mobility of business computing create serious headaches for IT managers. But these trends also create opportunities for more flexible working patterns, leading to greater employee productivity and job satisfaction — and ultimately a better return on investment in IT for the business. That's why the BYOD trend is here to stay, and why IT managers need to embrace it.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is currently evolving into the wider field of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), a process that's likely to see further consolidation of today's sizeable vendor population. Larger businesses will want to integrate these products with existing IT systems management infrastructure and collaboration software, which will inevitably see even greater involvement in the MDM/EMM field from big software-and-services players like Microsoft and IBM.

For some companies, virtualisation may prove a more appropriate solution than a full-on enterprise mobility management suite. Here, the IT department simply commandeers part of the mobile device and provides secure access to virtualised business applications, or entire corporate desktops, hosted either in the company's or a service provider's datacenter.

We hear a lot about 'work-life balance' in today's world of increasingly capable and connected mobile devices. The challenge for business IT departments in the next few years is work out how best to accommodate these demands on employees' mobile devices.

Topics: BYOD and the Consumerization of IT, Consumerization, Mobility, Bring Your Own Device


Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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  • This is a joke

    You know what we use Good software for? Cellphones! We do not have any plans to use this software on any other devices and I don't know a single person using their own device unless it is a call center job working from home in a 1099 situation.
    • Been BYOD since High School...

      I started BYOD in high school (2000, before BYOD was popular), and still do BYOD, teaching others in my industry how to do it. Tablets, smartphones, and even full mobile computing devices have become commonplace in Trucking. GPS and navigation is still hotly debated and that has led to apps for mobile devices that improve routing efficiency.

      Corporate-issued devices for trucking now have touch screens and some level of portability (either through cabling OR wireless display technology) within the truck. I even see EOBRs that connect directly to driver-owned smartphones to do their paperwork FOR THEM!

      You know what we use Good software for? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, since we don't use or need Good! Qualcomm, BigRoad and XRS handle everything Good claims to handle (corporate e-mail from dispatch), they do e-mail better than Good, AND they do FMCSA compliance (driver logs, paperwork, and 2-way messaging) as well.

      Also, we have unique ways to control devices and device use. The methods are called FMCSA regulations, corporate policies, safety departments, hands-free devices (including an ignition interlock) and an invention called Bluetooth. Not very unique, huh?
  • Beyond BYOD to BYO...apps

    Rather than focusing on how do we make our "traditional enterprise apps" suck less, we should be looking in new places for solutions designed for this decade.

    Consumerization has hardly dented legacy IT to date, but nothing is safe. Google Apps, Box, Dropbox, Evernote and other "consumer apps" all have enterprise versions that can be purchased and implemented at the business unit level. The success of is largely a result of going straight to the user.

    It wasn't IT's idea to bring the iPad to work. We forward work email to our Gmail account because it will be easier to access. We have Dropbox because 'SharePoint' offers everything but. The CMO uses Evernote because she wants to.

    How do we take control of our users device is the wrong question. How do we enable our users with apps that can be easily and safely leveraged in today's reality? That's the right question.

    Devices were just the tip of the spear.
    • We already do that

      Not just BYOD, but BYOA as well. Most of the time, truck drivers choose their device AND their apps. Hopefully you "corporate" types are next for this...
      • This is fine as long as the person who bought the software owns it

        Try bring all these different systems under one roof and support them is near impossible. We saw this trend early on with the PC. People would buy their own software and do what they wanted, that is until the data they had was needed somewhere else in the company. Silos are what you are building with BYOD/BYOA. Eventually, the real costs of this approach will retire it.
  • Citrix and Microsoft will be the leaders

    I don't think VMware Horizon Mobile is going to catch on like they are hoping. At least it doesn't seem to be so far. Too many people think of them as a company focused on purely on server vitualization. Citrix bought Zenprise a couple of months ago and, with Cloud Gateway Enterprise and Me@Work added to the the XenDesktop Platinum suite, they have perhaps the most comprehensive solution available today. Microsoft's SP1 release for System Center has also really beefed up their offerings with the ability to manage Unix, Linux, OSX, iOS, and Android devices, with much of that funcitonality extended to Azure and InTune. Both Citrix and SCCM are very widely used today and my bet is that Enterprises will be more likely to expand the use of these technologies rather than invest in the others.
  • Op-Ed piece based on old information

    Notice the author doesn't cite the exact dates of the analyst reports? That's because the information that is close to a year old and obsolete. The Gartner report came out in April last year for example. This is like doing a review of car models that came out in 2012 when the 2013 models are being released. There is a lot of other misleading information in here. For example the Horozon platform is not available on iOS yet. Go look for it in the iTunes App Store. If the author did some research he would know this. Don't pay attention to this poorly researched blog entry. Read the new analyst reports when they come out in April.
  • BYOD is not going away

    The point made in the article

    "Consumerization of IT is clearly not going away, so enterprise IT managers cannot simply bury their heads in the sand. The challenge is to accommodate the 'work anywhere, anytime' productivity and user satisfaction benefits that consumerization and BYOD can bring, while retaining enough control to keep company data secure and compliance requirements satisfied."

    is very valid. The difficulty is building business apps that run on the web AND on all the major mobile platforms in all the form factors in a cost effective and timely fashion. The problem is compounded the difficulty in recruiting people with the requisite talent.

    if you think about it

    You can build a web app and then native apps for all the devices, but here are the drawbacks of this approach
    --- Time to build for native is much greater
    --- You have to build for each platform

    Or you can code your own HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript on the client side and code the server side (using tools like PHP, Ruby, Java, Visual and then you still have to figure out providing access to the native hardware of the mobile device. The drawbacks are:

    --- The time it takes to write the server side
    --- The time it takes to write the client side code in JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5 or it still requires significant time to integrate libraries from Sencha, JQuery, etc.
    --- You still have to create the shell for access to native hardware functionality

    There has to be a better way.

    Richard Rabins
    • Hybrid with Sencha Space

      The answer I guess is Sencha space... can run any mobile app within a secure container with sandboxed access to native features (including sencha, jquery, even
  • MDM is such a weak strategy !

    Mobile Device Management only manages the device itself and is limited by the OEM as to what they can access, Mobile Application Management is a far stronger strategy if you're looking to take the organization into a BYOD territory.

    As for the trends and vendor graphs, I thought Gartner MQs were bad, I've now discovered a new level.
  • BYOD

    This was a great article is a good summary of things for businesses to consider for BYOD, but I think that one of the most important things to think about is education. An example is that our healthcare facility put a BYOD policy in place to use Tigertext for HIPAA complient text messaging, but the doctors still used their unsecure regular text messaging. Even though we had a good BYOD policy, it wasn't enough, we had to bring each doctor in to admin for 15 minutes of training and explaining the HIPAA issues and how to use the app correctly. Now we have about 95% of the doctors in compliance. If you want employees to comply with your BYOD security program, you really need to educate employees about the BYOD policy and the technologies you use weather it is an app like Tigertext or a larger MDM system.
  • Secre file sharing for the enterprise

    Really good article. Head to to check out how we are helping enterprises adopt BYOD strategies.
  • Consumerization of App Development

    Being able to develop apps graphically (no code), one app renedered appropriately on all major mobile devices and web browsers, running in the cloud, even mobile device management taken care of with embedded
  • The consumerization of IT has led to many interesting Developments

    Hi Charles, nice post crisp and to the point. You are very right in highlighting the sectors IT is changing rapidly.

    People today are using more than one device computer, tablet, phone, etc and they use it in complimentary fashion. Conventional Desktops and laptops are being mainly used to produce information; tablets to consume and smart phones to communicate that information. In this scenario, it becomes imminent that organizations take the different form factors and capabilities of each device into account when designing their mobility strategy.

    As device diversity becomes the standard, the focus will shift from mobile device management to mobile application management and broaden the mobility solutions to encompass much more capabilities and a better experience. I have written a post on trends in the mobility space for 2013 here
  • Choosing Devices

    I think a lot of people miss the effect that BYOD has on IT departments past security risks - which is how to choose what devices to support and how to support them.This is obviously really tough when we get so many that are hyped up and then fall short of adoption expectations.. This article has an interesting perspective:
    Aya Ephrati
  • consumerized IT

    consumerized IT is great
  • BYOD and MDM

    BYOD is a great discussion.
  • BYOD

    Thru is a solution that facilitates BYOD.