6 Enterprise mobility questions I’m asking in 2018 (And how to answer them)

I’ll be watching Windows 10 Modern Management, mobile data breaches, Macs in the enterprise, the future of MDM, and new categories of devices.

For 2018, I’m not going to make any big, vague predictions like “Bots are going to be huge!” Instead, here are the questions I have for this year. I tried to stick to topics that actually have real, objective answers, so I’ve listed the metrics that I’ll be watching for each question.

Windows 10 Modern Management

This was, without a doubt, the biggest story of 2017, especially considering Microsoft SCCM Co-Management and everything AirWatch is doing for Windows 10.

How many devices will move to Windows 10 Modern Management? I’ll watch for co-management or Intune Windows 10 numbers from Microsoft, as well as any Windows 10 figures from AirWatch, MobileIron, and other EMM vendors. (One thing to note is that Gabe expects that most people will plan to migrate OSes first, and then change management approaches, so I won’t be surprised if the number still isn’t huge any time in 2018.)

Mobile threat defense

2017 was the year we could say mobile threat defense really found its groove, with threat models maturing and partnerships all over the place. Still, it’s very early, and it was hard to find companies using it in the wild.

How many companies will adopt MTD in 2018? And will this be the year of a headline breach? I’ll watch out for any concrete customer numbers, M&A activity, and any news of a confirmed breach that’s actually traced back to a mobile device.

Android enterprise

By the end of 2017, Android enterprise hit a couple of important milestones: It’s been required for over two years, Android 7.0 has pretty good BYOD features; and even Google announced that it will deprecate the old Device Admin MDM API in 2018 and 2019. The stage is set for it to spread.

How many companies will adopt Android enterprise MDM techniques? I’m not sure if Google will release any numbers, but maybe some EMM vendors will. (A huge thanks to any vendor that decides to open up their metrics on this!)

Mac management

The number of Macs in the enterprise—along with the number of Macs under some type of management—has really been rocketing up in the last few years. Just look at Jamf. They’ve been growing like crazy, partnered with Microsoft, and got a big investment. Other vendors want in on this opportunity, the biggest being VMware AirWatch.

Will AirWatch start to get a big piece of the pie? Again, when it comes to true metrics, we’re at the mercy of whether or not they decide to release numbers.

iOS MDM and BYOD

While Apple has put in a lot of work adapting iOS mobile device management APIs for institutional use cases (see DEP, Apple School Manager, VPP improvements, and so on), the BYOD capabilities have stagnated. I wrote about this in depth, and I was disappointed with iOS 11.

Will Apple finally make iOS BYOD better in iOS 12? I’ll be glued to the 2018 Worldwide Developer Conference, which will take place in June. They even stream all the sessions live these days, so this one gets bonus points for the excitement factor.

Devices

2017 was one of the most interesting years for devices and gadgets in a long time. Samsung made a big go at phones that convert into desktops with DeX; Windows 10 S came out; and Microsoft and partners worked on Windows laptops with Qualcomm chips, due out soon. We also took a look at Neverware, an enterprise-oriented version of Chrome OS, and AirWatch announced integration with Chrome device management.

Will Samsung DeX move beyond the hype and get some big reference customers? Will Windows 10 S or Windows on Qualcomm take off? Will this finally be the elusive “year of the enterprise Chromebook”? We’ll look at a combination of customer references, vendor metrics, and consumer electronics analyst reports.

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