June 18, 2012 – Beneath the talk of enterprise smartphones, tablets and BYOD, there’s growing chatter about how to pay for and manage an unprecedented wave of devices outside of the traditional office setting, according to a new report from Osterman Research.

In its report, “Mobile Devices in the Enterprise: MDM Usage and Adoption Trends,” Osterman revealed results from a survey of enterprises taken earlier this year. While awareness of mobile device management is high and acceptance has increased in the last few years – particularly in the tablet arena, which was non-existent two years ago – Osterman cautioned that this is still a “nascent market” compared with other enterprise areas like email, and collaboration.

The systems to handle these devices are often a few years behind the adoption curve, Osterman found. About half of the enterprise mobile device management systems in place were deployed in 2007 or prior, and another 24 percent were first implemented in 2008 or 2009. In those enterprises that have not yet deployed a mobile device platform, 32 percent will do so by early 2013 and 24 percent will do so by early 2014. With all of that comes the need for new, encompassing policies to avoid risk, lost data and intellectual property, and full enterprise user access, Osterman stated.

“The absence of [mobile device management] in an organization that relies on the use of company-supplied and/or personally owned mobile devices is akin to the ‘corporate email system’ being a hodge-podge of Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! and other email systems that are not managed by IT according to corporate or other policies,” researchers wrote in the report.

And handling device management will take on new forms and costs. Osterman expects significant growth on two fronts: cloud and as-a-service management, and expanded internal IT dedications and, possibly, employment. Thirty-one percent of those enterprises switching or upgrading to a new device management system planned to, at least in part, turn to cloud offerings, with 69 percent of respondents anticipating simplified administration and maintenance from an on-demand option. With the rise of devices and complexity of mobile systems and governance expectations, Osterman forecasts that the labor cost for IT to deal with smartphones alone will grow nearly 50 percent next year, compared with 2011. Factoring in full-time employment dedication to mobile device management, Osterman calculated that IT management will grow from 2.9 FTE in 2011 to 4.0 in 2013, which would obviously bump up wage costs or staff numbers.

In addition, Osterman noted that enterprises that take the BYOD route must engage in an added layer of device governance and application management sophistication, especially when it comes to federal compliance in certain industries like the financial sector.


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“For example, as more data MDM Adoption is sent and stored on mobile devices, the level of compliance risk grows because the physical loss of devices increases the likelihood of a data breach, loss of intellectual property and related problems. Moreover, increasing use of mobile devices in general increases the likelihood that intellectual property will be lost in the course of users sending content from their devices,” researchers wrote.

The report was sponsored by mobile device and SharePoint provider Azaleos. To register for access to the report, click here.

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