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Enterprise mobility management: A guide to tips, tools and trials

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IT pros to makers of EMM tools: Time to pony up

IT has put faith in vendors to provide EMM tools that help with mobility challenges and advance technology, but that trust may be misplaced.

Many of the enterprise mobility management tools available today only meet temporary needs, and vendors are losing trust with the companies they're supposed to be helping, according to some enterprise mobility bloggers.

"For so long, the [mobile device management] vendors were talking about how great BYOD was," writes Philippe Winthrop, founder of the Enterprise Mobility Forum. "And now we have to discuss how it's a challenge and that companies need to find ways to deal with the consequences of BYOD [bring your own device]."

These vendors use talk of BYOD challenges to tout their EMM tools. As a result, IT pros feel like they can't trust them, Winthrop says. His suggested solution is to "stop trying to do BYOD," which eliminates the challenges of managing users' devices altogether.

Winthrop wasn't the only blogger taking vendors and their EMM tools to task over the past month. Check out what others had to say about this issue and additional hot topics, such as Apple iOS 7 and wearable computing.

EMM tools need more innovation

Another way to put mistrust to rest is to get vendors to supply EMM tools that actually advance IT.

"There is very little of what we see as new today that is really doing anything to move us forward," said Sanofi's director of mobile engineering, Brian Katz, on his A Screw's Loose blog.

Some of the biggest vendors out there don't know how to evolve IT or help users work smarter, and Katz said "it's time for vendors to start ponying up and offering innovation that actually understands how a user works."

Unfortunately, the responsibility to gain that understanding lies with the vendors; IT can't force companies to get with the program. Until vendors start offering the EMM tools and services that IT and users need, administrators have to keep playing the waiting game.

Advancements from Apple

On the other hand, Apple is making some serious strides by building more EMM tools into iOS 7, including per-app virtual private network configuration, open-in app management, new MDM options and more.

But because iOS 7 is such an overhaul, it could mean big headaches for app developers.

"It is almost as if it is a version 1 of an entirely new operating system," wrote Dean Moore, mobile strategist at Lextech Global Services. "Everyone needs to start testing their current apps now as well as review their user interface to take full advantage of the new design."

Despite Apple's big steps in the enterprise direction, the company still targets consumers first, as evidenced by the reported iWatch in the works. But the iWatch doesn't yet have practical applications, due in part to the technological constraints that designers and developers have to work within, said Wes Miller, a research vice president at Directions on Microsoft, on his getwired.com blog.

"For some reason, some people are fascinated by the Dick Tracy approach of issuing commands to your watch (or your glasses, or your shoe phone)," Miller wrote. "But the small screen of the 'iWatch' means it will be good for very narrow input, and very limited output."

This was first published in August 2013

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Essential Guide

Enterprise mobility management: A guide to tips, tools and trials

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