HomeMobile EuropeEnterprise Services: Device Management - Managing for the future

    Enterprise Services: Device Management – Managing for the future


    With a growing number of platforms to support, as well as an increasing demand for mobile access to enterprise applications, mobile device management may offer operators a useful USP in the corporate ICT market

    2008 does seem to have been the year when operators have come to market with device management solutions aimed at the enterprise. As well as solutions now available through Vodafone and Telefonica, Orange UK has announced the launch of its Device Management service, claimed to be the first product of its kind that enables businesses to effectively manage their employees' mobile devices in-house, without having to bring them into the office or contact customer services.
    Orange Device Management is a hosted solution that enables companies to remotely manage their device fleet, with IT managers able to send updates, troubleshoot, and lock or wipe devices over the air. It requires no back-end server and is being marketed as a simple solution to set up and get running. Employees get the freedom to work where they like, safe in the knowledge that any issues they have can be dealt with quickly and securely without them having to come back into the office.
    Anthony Keyworth, Director of Business Products, Orange Business Services UK says, "With business mobile needs constantly evolving, it is becoming increasingly important for organisations to be able to manage their device fleet in a cost-effective and time-efficient way. Orange Device?Management helps increase the productivity of the mobile workforce, as well as providing businesses with greater security for their data."

    So where does enterprise device management sit within the overall market? Penetration of all mobile device management (MDM) technologies in handsets is growing strongly globally, according to global advisory and consulting firm Ovum's latest quarterly report.

    According to Ovum, growing support for advanced mobile device management technologies in mobile handsets promises to give the mobile service provider a much increased degree of control over the device fleet. Key applications of MDM include remote configuration, defect fixing, diagnostics and software management.

    The results of Ovum's study are the outcome of a comprehensive survey of mobile handsets launched globally over the past four years, feeding into a repository of nearly 900 handsets from all major manufacturers and listing their key characteristics, including support for FOTA, OMA CP and OMA DM, plus their date of launch and regional availability.

    Results show that between 4Q06 and 4Q07, global shipments grew by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83% (for firmware over-the-air update), 51% (for OMA client provisioning) and 159% (for OMA device management).

    Ovum has tracked penetration of three key MDM technologies throughout 2007: OMA client provisioning (OMA CP), OMA device management (OMA DM) and firmware over-the-air (FOTA) update.  The study reveals that in 4Q07 OMA DM was supported in nearly one-third of all handsets now shipping worldwide.

    Adam Leach, lead principal analyst at Ovum and author of the report said: "It is crucial for service providers to understand the penetration of key enabling technologies in order to decide whether and when they should be scaling up the use of MDM in their businesses. What is clear is that we are now at a critical point in terms of adoption of this key technology. Service providers looking to offer device management services based on OMA DM should find they have a good choice of handsets across a range of price points."

    Ovum forecasts continued strong growth for all MDM technologies globally; by the end of 2008 Ovum expects OMA DM and FOTA, will reach 44% and 57% respectively, of global shipments. By the end of 2009 they will be an established part of the handset technology landscape, with penetration in over half the installed base of handsets and in 84% and 69% respectively, of new mobile phone shipments.
    "Firmware updating is by no means the only application of OMA DM that service providers are interested in. OMA DM is already being used for more sophisticated types of device configuration than OMA CP is capable of, such as continuous provisioning in conjunction with automatic detection. It is handling client provisioning for new value-added services being offered by operators, and supporting important commercial functionality such as preferred roaming lists," says Leach.

    As the OMA finalises more standardised management objects, such as those for software updating and diagnostics, the relevance of OMA DM will continue to grow for all service providers, says Ovum.
    So with the standards looking well set, stable, and with clear progression in mind, are operators now in a position to address to enterprise market with a solution that Enterprise IT providers will find difficult to match? This is important because it has been a tough task for operators to date to convince IT departments that they can compete with their existing suppliers.

    Microsoft's Roderick van der Graaf, Windows Mobile EMEA Enterprise Marketing Manager, says that for his company device management is an extension, one of a range of options.

    "The way we see it, we deliver one part of the total solution. We provide the software for the more than 140 devices in the market that are Windows Mobile compatible; the device manufacturers concentrate on making their devices;  and mobile operators provide the data tariff. But we have seen more of a shift where that three- way partnership becomes more of a square, with the line of business applications providers becoming involved.

    "Also, with mobile operators we see they have more and more customers asking for mobility, and not just among new customers, but with IT people wanting to work with them, rather than the communications of telephony managers. When that happens, IT departments want a management solution that meets their budgets, which are under pressure."

    The advantage for a company like Microsoft, of course, is that with Exhange Server so widely deployed, device management can be sold on as part of a total solution, whether hosted or behind the firewall.

    But the drawback is that by addressing device management in this way, enterprises are tying themselves into just one device platform. And unless you exert very strict control over your users, then this is likely to cause problems. Users demand the handset of their choice, or self-buy, exposing IT departments to the need to support multiple platforms.

    Rob Dalgetty, Commercial Director at Mformation, says that  the device market is in reality a fragmented environment, with multiple OS and software platforms.

    "This plays into a real strength with mobile operator-based solutions because operators carry all the OS and handset models already. So there is a significant opportunity for operators to apply their strengths to the business market.

    "Added to that, a key part of the proposition is not offering cross-platform support, but hosted solutions as well. This enables enterprises not only to have direct control of their devices, on whatever platform, but to stay abreast of standards developments, as well as other enhancements to functionality."