How to Select Enterprise Mobility Tools
There is a large and growing number of employees using mobile devices for work, and mobility is critical to most enterprises. Therefore, selecting the right mobile strategy and enterprise mobility tools may be one of the most crucial decisions taken by the IT department and organizational leadership.
EMM is evolving, so when evaluating enterprise mobility tools, consider current requirements and future requirements, and make sure to pay attention to user experience.
The place to start when selecting enterprise mobility tools is the organization's current needs. For example, what business apps do employees typically use? What network and service management features are needed? What are the regulatory and security compliance needs of the organization? What reporting capabilities are required by the organization? What are the mobile operating systems in use?
Other considerations to keep in mind are whether the organization needs app management, device management, content management, and whether the company allows BYOD in addition to company devices. If there are employees who travel abroad, geo-fencing may be required to comply with the data privacy requirements of certain countries.
If the EMM rollout makes using mobile devices harder, employees will try to circumvent the EMM policies and procedures. It is a good idea to have a trial rollout. Make sure to test the EMM rollout with a variety of mobile devices. Also make sure the test is long enough “to thoroughly test all the major use cases—on all supported platforms—that you’ll have to support with a new product. It’s not enough just to look at a list of supported features. In most cases, the devil is in the details, and these can only be reliably exposed through use,” says Bryan Taylor, research director at Gartner.
Not all employees will need EMM. Consider each type of employee use case and implement only the EMM features that are required for that type of employee. “This is one of the major failure points for EMM. We recommend that organizations segment their workforces and match EMM [policies] to the appropriate use case. Some employees won't require EMM [control] if they're only using one application or are only working for a short time for the organization,” says Andrew Hewitt, a researcher at Forrester Research.
Individual Products vs. Suites
Depending on the organization size, mobility needs, and existing EMM infrastructure, an organization will have to decide between an EMM suite and best-of-breed components.
In general, larger, global enterprises can benefit from an EMM suite. These suites cover MDM, MAM, and more. The EMM features of a suite may include most of the EMM requirements of large corporations, instead of having to rely on several individual products.
By contrast, individual EMM products may better suit a small or local company. Most of the capabilities of an EMM suite may be redundant for a small company. “We see organizations moving toward more comprehensive suites, but sometimes this is overkill. If all your employees need to do is approve an expense report using a mobile device on the fly, they probably don't need an EMM [suite]. Simpler products that provide mobile versions of applications are preferable in that case,” says Forrester’s Hewitt.
However, suites vs. products is becoming less of an issue, according to Gartner analyst Bryan Taylor. He states that suites vs. products “has become less of an issue over the years, as many of the products in this space have evolved to cover device, app, and often mobile content at a minimum. That’s the reason we started using the term EMM in place of MDM, which had a device-centric connotation.”
Future Proof of the EMM Rollout
Technology is changing, and so are the needs of regulatory requirements, end user needs, and customer requirements. While addressing the current needs of the organization, an EMM platform should be innovative enough to address future needs. Investigate if the EMM vendor is investing in emerging EMM considerations.