Only 14 MDM vendors are in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Where do the hundreds of others fit in?

Looking at the 2014 Gartner EMM Magic Quadrant* reminds me of how many different "angles" there are for mobile device management and enterprise mobility management. Besides the 14 vendors in the listed by Gartner, there are at least a hundred or so other vendors out there that offer some form of MDM or EMM, often from different angles.

Looking at the 2014 Gartner EMM Magic Quadrant* reminds me of how many different “angles” there are for mobile device management and enterprise mobility management. Besides the 14 vendors in the listed by Gartner, there are at least a hundred or so other vendors out there that offer some form of MDM or EMM, often from different angles. When and why do you pick them?

Many different angles

For a few years now people have been saying that MDM on its own isn’t a product, but rather a feature that you can add onto other products. Most of the Magic Quadrant vendors are taking a comprehensive approach that combines multi-platform MDM with mail clients, browsers, file syncing and content management, other forms of mobile app management, app stores, and in some cases, various ways of combining all that with desktop and systems management.

But what about all the other angles and vendors? Today there are a lot of other products that happen to have MDM as a feature. I’m not talking about pure-play EMM products and vendors that just didn’t happen to meet Gartner’s requirements—I’m talking about completely different categories:

Security, antivirus, and anti-malware products There are many companies that combine MDM with mobile anti-malware or AV. What’s interesting that using mobile anti-malware or AV is a long way from being an established practice, and that three of these vendors—Kaspersky, McAfee, and Trend Micro—were in last year’s Magic Quadrant but got dropped for 2014.

Mobile file syncing / content management I’ve always thought that mobile file syncing was a good place to start any enterprise mobility strategy. For some of these vendors, MDM seems like the next reasonable step.

Mobile app development platforms / MAM / mobile app security MDM is a logical extension here since it can be used to push apps, add an extra layer of policy at the device level, and increasingly be used to add app-specific policies. Note that the only addition to this year’s Magic Quadrant is Globo, a vendor that combines MDM and MAM with a mobile app development platform.

Networking A mobile device is an endpoint on the network, so from the networking angle, it makes sense that the network should have the visibility and management into the device afforded by MDM.

Even more angles It seems like I’m still learning about a new vendor that has some sort of MDM every week. Some of the other angles include telecom expense management, unified communications, collaboration platforms, and all sorts of other random services.

Which “angle” do you choose?

So when you’re beginning to address iOS and Android devices, which angle do you choose? A core EMM vendor, or another product that happens to have some MDM added on?

It could depend on who you ask. Image a meeting at a company that’s trying to figure out a mobility strategy:

Boss: “Well everybody, we need some MDM. Who should we consider?”
Networking admin: “I think Cisco comes with MDM.”
Citrix admin: “Citrix has MDM.”
Security person: “No, wait, our AV vendor can throw in some MDM.”

It’s a classic question of best of breed versus well-integrated versus cheap or free. Some more things to consider:

Does it matter if not all of the parts of your mobility solution comes from the same vendor? These days MDM can take care of a lot of the on-device integration.

In some cases, some of these products feel like the MDM part was tacked on as an afterthought just to jump on the bandwagon. On the other hand, many of them do make a lot of sense and are capable enterprise mobility solutions if they’re not as powerful or as wide ranging as the core EMM vendors. There’s also the fact that as device manufacturers add more management APIs, it makes it relatively easy for these vendors to expand their capabilities, too.

Another relevant point is that it might be easier to get corporate buy-in on a mobility effort if it’s a low-cost or free add-on. That could come in under the radar, as opposed to a big brand-new proposal with one of the core EMM vendors.

What do you think?

Honestly, I’ve met very few people considering these “other” angles as their source for MDM. I’m curious: Are you are specifically considering or not considering any of these other angles for a mobility project? Why or why not? Tell us about it in the comments.

*(Note: We don't have a reprint license for Gartner reports, but a number of vendors are offering copies in exchange for your contact information. Just Google it.)

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