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Mobile management morphs

Robert L. Mitchell | May 16, 2013
Customers are pushing the limits of the software -- asking it to manage and do many more things than it was originally created to do -- and vendors are happy to oblige.

At Skanska, the infrastructure group manages both, but Roman says he's fine using different tools to manage Windows PCs, BlackBerries and iOS devices. He's still using BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) but has added AirWatch for iPhones and iPads because, he says, it was much less expensive than other options he evaluated and BlackBerry's multiplatform MDM tool, BES 10, wasn't available at the time.

At Hillarys Blinds, Bond chose SAP's Afaria primarily because its support for Samsung's extended management APIs enables his staff to control the user's Wi-Fi, camera and Bluetooth, and to manage wireless printers. But the ability to manage both mobile and desktop apps from the same console is a checklist item for the future.

"We'd prefer one tool, definitely," says Scholastic's Abraham. But today, he adds, "You must focus on what is the best platform for what you want to do."

"We have two different support groups working alongside of each other. That causes a surprising amount of grief" at Hillarys, says Bond. For example, the internal sales management app has desktop and mobile versions, but users must talk to two different groups to get the issues addressed. "As we are starting to move enterprise apps onto mobile, I'm having to rethink how I support that."

Overall MDM satisfaction How fully do the capabilities of today's mobile management tools meet your organization's needs? Fully meet our needs - 11% Meet most of our needs - 43% Meet some of our needs - 38% Don't meet our needs - 2% Don't know - 6% Source: Computerworld survey, April 2013, base 82

Kadlec Health Systems' CIO Dave Roach chose Good Technology's Good for Enterprise to manage 2,500 Android and iOS devices that employees bring to work. He likes Good's mature containerization technology, which isolates the healthcare provider's business applications and data within a secure container on the user's phone, and he found that the administrative user interface was easier to use than were other products tested. But now he's testing desktop virtualization to provide access to electronic medical records software, and he likes the idea of enabling virtual access to that same application on mobile devices through Citrix's mobile management suite.

Like many organizations, Kadlec still has BlackBerry users -- about 500 of them -- so his staff is evaluating BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. The new release, launched in January, can now manage Android and iOS as well as BlackBerry devices. "Had RIM been able to support Android and iOS before, we wouldn't have looked at Good and we would have had one solution to manage," Roach says. But with the BlackBerry population shrinking, the decision is no longer a slam-dunk. "We'll have to see whether that meets all of our needs or not," he says.


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