4 questions about the management of your mobile devices


For a few years, the fixed-line telephone and desktop computer were the rule in the office, but things have certainly changed. Smartphones and tablets are taking over the workplace. Their management and security are therefore a major point of concern. Mobile device management is not a luxury. “The whole company becomes mobile and then customised management tools are, quite simply, a necessity.”


Mobile device management (MDM) helps companies to make the move to the mobile era. The growth of MDM is remarkable. At the end of last year, the market for mobile device management (MDM) was worth approximately half a billion euro. According to predictions from the specialised research bureau The Radicati Group, it will more than double over the next four years to a value of 1.1 billion euro. We analyse this market with the help of four key questions: who; what; how; and of course: why?


1. Why mobile device management?

The need for mobile device management lies in the increased popularity of mobile devices for business use. Various figures immediately clarify this trend. Sales of desktop computers have dropped by more than 10 per cent according to figures from the research bureau Gartner. At the same time, the market for mobile telephones has increased by 4 per cent, with smartphones in particular acting as growth accelerators. But the absolute winner is the market for tablets, which has seen at least 68 per cent growth this year. However, according to Leonie Birch, Head of Large Business Marketing at Orange Business Services, the use of the tablet in the business world still needs to really take off. “A lot of companies are only just beginning to take the use of tablets into consideration.”

Smartphones or tablets - many of these (new) devices are appearing in the office. People are using their personal mobile devices for work more and more frequently. “And then the management and security inevitably get extra attention,” says analyst Maribel Lopez, the founder of Lopez Research, a company specialised in research into the mobile market. According to her, it is not just the so-called BYOD trend (Bring Your Own Device) that increases the need for mobile device management. She believes companies need to be more conscious in choosing a mobile approach. “Companies are beginning with the traditional office. Mobile working is already happening everywhere today: on the road, at home, at the client’s site and in the office itself. Efficiency, productivity and customer-friendliness are vital here,” she says. “In short, today we are talking about enterprise mobility: the whole company is going mobile and customised management tools are needed.”


2. What does mobile device management involve?

In two words: the management and security of mobile devices. The tasks of mobile device management systems are already very diverse. They allow company data on a device to be deleted or a device to be switched off or localised. They can require users to use a password or block certain functions (such as Wi-Fi or a camera on the device). They can also force users to follow a policy on their smartphones and/or tablets.

Besides the management and security of the devices and their data, apps also come into focus. “These systems are concentrating on the mobile apps more and more,” says Maribel Lopez. Among other tasks, they specialise in "app wrapping", allowing companies to make apps (extra) secure, via encryption for example. Some also offer a so-called enterprise app store, a central place where employees can consult apps dedicated to business use. All tasks that are becoming increasingly important for an average organisation according to Maribel Lopez. “It’s time that companies choose a strategy for the management of all these new devices and apps.”


3. Who offers mobile device management?

The market of suppliers is extremely diverse. “In total, there are dozens of manufacturers, of which, in a few years, five will be truly representative,” predicts Maribel Lopez.

An even more important party here are the telecom operators, like Orange. They too are directed at this market, where they offer Mobile Device Management as part of a total offer, in addition to hardware and connectivity. This trumps other suppliers who are often unable to offer it, confirms Lopez. “Operators can supply a valid offer in the management of mobile devices, because they maintain regular contact with the client and it is an area of service where they have traditionally proven themselves,” she says.


4. How does mobile device management work?

There are actually two major categories in mobile device management. Some systems are aimed at the traditional ‘on premises’ approach, and are therefore situated at the company itself. The other category offers its solutions via the Cloud, where mobile device management is already offered as a service via the Internet. According to Gartner, about 83 per cent of MDM is "on premises". The Cloud is responsible for the remaining 17 per cent, although Gartner sees this share growing in the future. “An application in the Cloud has certain advantages, such as for updates that can automatically take place,” points out Maribel Lopez, who also sees this category increasing. “I do see it remaining a minority for the time being. But a very relevant minority.”


Alphabet soup in Enterprise Mobility: BYOD, CYOD and COPE? 

With the mobilising of your staff member, a number of abbreviations have popped up. We will quickly run you through the most important of these:

  • BYOD or Bring Your Own Device. This is the most well-known. Employees bring their personal mobile devices to work with them. They use their smartphones or tablets for work as well as for private needs. 

  • CYOD of Choose Your Own Device. This is where employees choose from a pre-determined number of devices; for example, a series of models from a limited choice of manufacturers. For an organisation, it is easier to control whether a device meets all the demands in relation to functionality and security. 

  • COPE of Company Owned, Personally Enabled. This is where the devices are offered to the employee, but unlike with BYOD and CYOD, the device remains the property of the company. Employees are still able to use them for personal needs. COPE is therefore more like the opposite of BYOD.



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