Dell Enterprise Mobility Management SaaS answers acquisition questions

Dell became the latest infrastructure player to enter the crowded EMM field with a new platform combining its many recent acquisitions in the space.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Dell has combined technologies from its recent acquisitions to become the latest major technology vendor to offer an enterprise mobility management suite.

The new platform brings Dell Inc.'s mobile device management, mobile application management, mobile content management and a Secure Remote Access gateway for endpoint security into one product,  answering lingering questions about its plans for technologies it has acquired.

Dell has made a number of acquisitions in recent years, including data encryption vendor Credant, security-based SonicWALL, systems management company KACE, thin client specialist Wyse and backup systems provider Quest Software

Until now, Dell didn't have a cohesive enterprise mobility management (EMM) strategy.

“It's great they are trying to get everything under one name or label -- otherwise it's just confusing,” said David Driggers, supervisor of desktop systems, Alabama Gas Corp. Birmingham, Ala.

As long as the technology’s functionality is there, it is a good move, although the possibility of upsetting people by eliminating overlapping products is there, he noted.

The most important part of the EMM release, which was introduced at Dell World here this week, is that it is a unified platform delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), said Steve Brasen, research director, Enterprise Management Associates, an IT research and consulting firm based in Boulder, Colo. 

Dell could make headway into mid-market businesses, which respond well to a SaaS-based model, he said.

"Eighty to 90% of the mid-market businesses don’t have mobile management in place,” Brasen said. “That is fertile ground and a growth area.”

Dell a late-comer to EMM

Dell realizes it is getting into the EMM space late. Big players such as IBM, Oracle, Citrix, Microsoft and others have introduced their own platforms while independent companies such as AirWatch, MobileIron and others have carved out their own share of the market.

But the company believes that with all the change in the EMM market in recent years and the resulting unsettling of the market there's an opportunity for Dell to stake a claim.

Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. will consider Dell's EMM technology because it wants end users to be able to access data using mobile devices in a secure way, according to Kim Cary, chief information security officer at the University.

Dell conducted research with Gartner, Inc. that showed a "very high reconsideration rate" for EMM in the enterprise, according to Tom Kendra, Dell’s general manager and vice president of systems management.

Companies use different platforms for different aspects of mobility management including security and device management that don't have much integration with each other, according to Kendra, who said Dell has the opportunity to be a "consolidator" in the EMM space.

"We asked our customers to confirm this and it is surprising how many are in reconsideration," Kendra said. "The leaders in the [EMM] market share are only in the single digits."

Dell EMM features, pricing

Included in the EMM platform is strategic IP from Credant, KACE, SonicWALL and Wyse meant to aid in security, encryption, user self-service and policy management.

Part of Dell's offering includes what Dell calls a "very secure container" within the Dell Mobile WorkSpace Manager. This includes container-based workspace apps for employee-owned devices that allow access to corporate data.

Dell EMM will be available in the first quarter of 2014 in North America on an annual software subscription license. Pricing will not be available until January after Dell conducts beta testing with customers.

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