The MDM Opportunity

Although enterprise mobile device management (MDM) solutions are still in the nascent stages in the Middle East, the services opportunity in this sector for resellers is huge. That, plus the migration across platforms is perhaps the most lucrative opportunity for resellers in the Middle East.

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The MDM Opportunity
By  Piers Ford Published  July 26, 2014

The complexity of the Mobile Device Management (MDM) market is a daunting prospect for many organisations as they wrestle with the challenge of realising the business benefits of BYOD without compromising data security. The good news for the channel is that the demand for tools and services that will help the enterprise get to grips with this complexity is rising exponentially.

Analyst Markets and Markets expects the global market to rise from $1.01bn in 2013 to $3.94bn by 2019 – an annual growth rate of 26.8%. It breaks the market down into a range of solutions (device management, applications management, security management, network service management etc.), services (implementation, training and support, and managed), deployment type (cloud and on-premises), and vertical industries.

Across the board, BYOD and data security are the main drivers for MDM adoption, along with other key influences such as the general proliferation of smartphones and tablets. Tools remain relatively expensive, and this is inhibiting adoption at SMB level. However, Markets and Markets pointed out that this also constitutes a great opportunity for suppliers to deliver cheaper and simpler solutions.

In the Middle East, the mobile explosion has been one of the most significant recent influences on corporate IT strategies. According to Hussam Sheikh Ali, head of channel and SMB sales in the Middle East at Kaspersky Lab, the security challenge alone has created a huge business potential for the channel.

“Several organisations and industry verticals have a varied workforce, which includes remote workers and contractors,” he said. “These organisations are now moving towards the adoption of new trends and technologies to enhance the productivity and satisfaction of employees. BYOD, the availability of various mobile device operating systems, the introduction of devices like smartphones and tablets, and security concerns in organisations are just some of the factors that will excite the MDM market in the Middle East in the coming few years.”

Given the escalating concerns among IT professional regarding the BYOD movement, there is a distinct lack of policies to govern mobile devices.

The Arabian Computer News (ACN) IT Security Behaviour Survey 2014, revealed that 19% of respondents in the GCC indicated a restrictive policy where employees were forbidden to have corporate data on personal devices. Only 16% said their organisation had implemented controls to allow data on devices but also protect it, while 30% said no such rules were in place.

Healthcare and education are leading the way for early MDM adopters, said Mathivanan V, director, product management at ManageEngine.

“These sectors have to embrace MDM because their users and employees are embracing a wide range of mobile technologies, including smartphone, tablets and soon, wearable devices,” he said.

“Not surprisingly, organisations have adopted a number of strategies to successfully manage their mobile device populations. Successful MDM strategies include selective access based on the employee’s role, stringent security practices and data protection policies, such as disallowing apps that read data from the device or apps that transmit data to the cloud.”

Anand Choudha, managing director at Spectrami, said that mobility in the Middle East is now mainstream, and organisations are actively looking at MDM solutions as they face the challenges associated with BYOD, mobile devices and mobile apps.

“We are seeing enterprises in general having a holistic approach to mobility solutions, but banking – because of regulations and compliance – is among the early adopters of better mobility strategies,” he said. “We see the GCC at the forefront of mobility adoption, as well as South Africa, which has recently enacted a protection of personal information act that mandates organisations to manage mobile devices effectively.”
Kaspersky Lab’s senior product manager Stepan Deshevykh said the nature of the business is not ultimately the main issue. The key to a successful MDM strategy is the maturity of internal business processes.

“If a company relies heavily on IT in operations, then deployment of an MDM system is a good idea as employees will embrace it eagerly and will support the company’s endeavours to make them more productive,” he said.

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