Feature Article

May 07, 2014

Mobility TechZone Product of The Year Awards -- Mobile Device Management

I tend to look at Mobile Device Management systems the same way I look at QoS solutions: a lot of effort put forth to basically reduce options rather than increase them.  In short, a great many of these systems are designed to make IT comfortable to the point where an employee device can be reset rather than enabled. And another issue I have, as an advocate for the mobile Web and not specifically “apps”, is that many of these systems are saddled with the added cost of being every-to-every with regard to software and devices, rather than the Web’s any-to-any.

All of the above said, many of the POTY Award entries won me over with their insight into how to manage workflow. A selection of the the winners and the reasons for their success include:

NQ Mobile (NQ Mobile Live)

Broadcast tool NQ Mobile Live (http://www.nq.com/) reminds me of Pointcast’s strategy of the early ‘90s, providing a means by which users can customize their cellphone entry screen with the brand or personal information of their choice. Considered along with the rest of the NQ Mobile product line, you can see an identity management company that is focused and ready to support a different model of MDM. A model that is not focused on the IT systems but one that is instead fixed on identity integrity and on delivering information to the individual as quickly and as effortlessly as possible.

OpenWave Mobility (Motify)

If you are the type who finds broadcasting to a community of mobile users intriguing, then OpenWave Mobility’s Motify platform is a solution that is worthy of your attention (http://owmobility.com/motify), and in this case we have the added benefit of contextual awareness. As their CEO John Giere points out, the reality is that much of the information we receive via email and/or text is not efficient or particularly desired. Making the system deliver information when and where you want it is a key objective of Motify, and it’s as close as the carrier is going to get to having the benefits of analytics that are comparable to what the OTT apps offer in their systems.

Centrify (Centrify for Mobile)

Another company that has caught my eye in the area of identify management is Centrify (http://www.centrify.com/). However in this case, it is the company’s very specific corporate objectives, specifically with regard to the management of passwords. In the way that NQ Mobile reminds me of PointCast, Centrify for Mobile brings to mind the issues that OpenID was attempting to solve. The reality, though, is that self management is no longer at the core of many strategies. The product features interfaces to MS Active Directory that, in my opinion, represent an untapped means in which companies can manage end user connectivity. Too often such interfaces are designed to be about the software and not the level of privileges. Centrify for Mobile provides the ability to management Mac and other apple mobile products as if they were designed to be part of the corporate culture, which is something Steve Jobs would not have done, but something many IT architects certainly would.

SAP (SAP Mobile Secure)

If you come from the point of view that device management is actually all about HR then SAP Mobile Secure is a product line that is likely to match your needs (http://www.sap.com/pc/tech/mobile/software/solutions/device-management/overview.html). This is in combination with the SAP product line portfolio that SAP has delivered on keeping the employee and the applications flexible, including the ability to support closed and premise applications with the same security controls. As the corporate culture continues to mobilize it is clear that SAP is prepared for the transition.

For the person sitting there wondering who they can trust to manage requirements, the solutions offered by NQ Mobile, Openwave Mobility, Centrify, and SAP offer an excellent set from which to choose.

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