The 10 Must-Have Capabilities of a Next-Generation EMM Solution

Enterprise

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Dramatic increases in productivity.

Unprecedented innovation.

Surging profitability.

These are just a few of the benefits business leaders are counting on from future advances in enterprise mobility. Realizing these lofty ambitions, though, is contingent on a number of factors, including a radical rethinking of existing roles, procedures and business practices.

But the biggest obstacle to making your business better through mobility is a failure to evolve your current EMM solution. Many organizations are still struggling with the stop-gap mobile device management (MDM) offerings they adopted a few years ago to handle the sudden influx of mobile end points.

It wouldn’t be wise to count on any of these MDM pure plays to lead you to the enterprise mobility promised land.

Today, Tomorrow and Beyond

Workforce mobilization Nirvana is only obtainable through an EMM solution designed to meet today’s challenges and whatever lies around the corner – one that excels in each of the following areas:

  1. Self-Service

An EMM platform that provides easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate self-management and support capabilities will let end users take charge of numerous mobile management chores. In addition to reducing the burden on IT staffs, self-service appeals to end users who are still anxious about giving away the oversight of their personal devices to the IT staff.

At minimum, users should have the ability to perform rudimentary – but important – device management tasks, including the ability to wipe data in the case of a lost or stolen smartphone or tablet.

  1. Automation

A next-gen EMM solution requires dashboards and management systems with the flexibility to allow administrators to customize the look and feel of the interface and automate multiple functions.

Tight integration with enterprise directories, for example, makes it possible for IT to automate the process of ensuring employees are supplied with the right apps and polices to do their jobs.

  1. Contextual Management

Business mobilization is all about timing: Getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

A baseline requirement of next-generation EMM solutions is the ability to create context-dependent policies, such as enabling a mobile device’s camera or GPS to work only during certain hours or not work when the smartphone is in a specific location.

It’s also imperative that an EMM platform be smart enough to understand that most business workers use multiple devices and to match the right applications, policies and connectivity to each end point.

  1. Beyond Smartphones and Tablets

Several sources predict that wearable devices, such as connected watches and eyeglasses, will contribute significantly to the next wave of consumer-oriented communications and computing devices. And the Internet of Things (IoT) may eventually bring billions of new mobile end points into the enterprise.

Independent analyst Jack Gold has coined the phrase Enterprise of Things (EoT) to describe the anticipated infiltration of smartwatches, fitness bands and other mobilized devices. Though Gold predicts it will take a few years for the EoT to develop, he estimates that a typical enterprise will eventually need to deal with tens of thousands of corporate connected mobile devices that fall outside of smartphone or tablet classifications.

A next-generation EMM solution will need to keep tabs on all of these end points.

  1. Scalability

Given the expected surge of wearables and IoT-enabled devices into the enterprise, scalability is a core requirement of an EMM solution built for the future.

To reduce the cost and complexity of a premises-based installation, a next-gen EMM solution should be capable of supporting at least 25,000 devices per server and 250,000 devices per management domain.

It should also be capable of eventually scaling to handle a million or more devices.

  1. Solid Security Foundation

All the attention focused on potential productivity gains could give the impression that security has diminished as an enterprise mobility priority.

Just the opposite is true.

The need for a rock-solid security foundation only increases as mobile end points start to store applications and content critical to the financial and competitive health of your organization.

The most effective means for ensuring that risk management is not sacrificed at the altar of business enablement is an EMM solution designed from the ground up with security in mind that is also a partner with a rich legacy in the security, mobility and enterprise sectors. Mobile security cannot be an afterthought.

  1. Analytics

The benefits of big data extend to enterprise mobility.

To optimize the mobile experience across the enterprise, IT needs to be able to tap into a rich vein of information about the use and performance of mobile devices and the apps running on those devices.

Some of the data that should be available to admins include information about device activation and device usage, such as the most popular devices in the organization by model, carrier or platform. Application information, such as the most utilized mobile apps – and how they’re being used – is also valuable data.

  1. Archiving and Auditing

It’s also imperative that a next-gen EMM solution be able to assist businesses, especially those operating in regulated industries, in complying with mandated regulations.

Messaging and voice archiving capabilities are baseline requirements.

  1. Flexibility

Organizations of all sizes are likely to require multiple device management strategies. It’s not uncommon, for example, for a government agency to manage a mix of use cases and security profiles across its workforce.

Managing the entire enterprise with a single EMM platform, then, requires a solution that supports the entire mobility management spectrum. That means simultaneous support for Corporate-Owned, Business-Only (COBO), Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) and BYOD management scenarios from a single management console.

10. Advanced Application Management

As the enterprise app portfolio expands from email and other productivity tools to business-critical work processes, integrated Mobile Application Management (MAM) becomes an obvious next-generation EMM requirement.

And a key component of a future-proof MAM solution is an Enterprise App Store (EAS), which functions as a centralized application management and distribution depot. App lifecycle management – including onboarding, deployment, security, updates and retirement –is also administered from an EAS.

Ease of use is a key attribute of a successful MAM solution. Otherwise, end users will seek out apps from alternative sources, potentially exposing corporate information to unmanaged and untested applications.

Diving Deeper

Unleashing Business Transformation Through Mobility, a recent BlackBerry white paper and navigational aid for IT managers and business leaders, provides organizations of all sizes with a glimpse of enterprise mobility’s future, as well as advice on how best to evolve workforce mobilization initiatives to make their businesses better.

About Joe McGarvey

An Enterprise Mobility Strategist at BlackBerry, McGarvey has covered the enterprise and telecommunications industries for more than 20 years as both a journalist and analyst. He is best-known as a long-time principal analyst at leading market research firm Current Analysis. McGarvey has also been an analyst for Heavy Reading and an editor at several leading technology magazines.

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