Mobile Strategy Research Reveals the Value of UEM

By Jim Haviland
Topics: Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Mobile Strategy Unified Endpoint Management (UEM)

Mobile Thought Leaders gathered for an MTL Online event to review the findings of the 2018 Strategy Research.  The report itself has been out for a while and has been the focus of many discussions at MTL Live events and elsewhere.  Some of those discussions were represented by a panel including Vox Mobile’s Harjot Sidhu joining from Vancouver, British Columbia, VMware VP Jeff Mitchell, in Atlanta and Jim Haviland joining the discussion from Hollywood.

The panel talked through all five of the themes that were teased out of the research study and presented in the whitepaper, which is available here:

MTL top 5

The research report weighs in at 28 pages that you might not find the time to fully consume and the webinar presentation touches many of the highlights while also providing some very recent examples of how mobility programs, technologies, and priorities are shifting.


1. Mobility and Digital Transformation are a strategic priority for most organizations

Not surprisingly, most MTL members that completed the research study thought that their organizations were taking a strategic approach to mobility and that digital transformation was part of the focus, though the specific meaning of digital transformation varies widely.  The MTL panel focused on the parallel maturing of organizations’ approach to mobility with the maturing of one of the central technologies in mobile programs, the MDM, EMM, or now UEM. Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) continues to evolve quickly but as it continues to be the central approach to managing device deployments, access controls, and security monitoring for all devices – mobile, laptops, tablets, etc, it is also a far more strategic tool.  Both Harjot and Jeff offered stories of organizations who were able to transition from supporting their initiatives with EMM to using this infrastructure system to provide valuable feedback on usage patterns, work processes and security usability leading to significant improvements to business process, satisfaction of workers, and even elimination of redundant hardware. This suggests a very different role for IT, moving away from managing infrastructure to finding ways to use technology to enhance the business and interpret the data to provide new insights as we see in the next theme.


2. Business Lines Sidestep IT to address specific Mobile Device Management needs

The research paper provides support for the notion that as most of the planet now carries a smartphone, most of the workers know that there should be apps for the things they do at work.  That along with the fact that IT has been asked to do more and more with less and less forever has lead to a situation where IT can be seen as more of an impediment to innovation than a partner in transformation. The panel offered examples or organizations moving from trying to reign in rogue projects and shadow IT to taking a posture of offering tools and systems to make department-funded and focused projects easier to implement, more secure, and with far less financial and organizational risk.

mobile projects


3. With personal mobility a foregone conclusion, other infrastructure and technologies are gaining focus.

Along with the new roles IT is playing, new systems and processes are taking the focus.  The security mechanisms for new apps and cloud systems require new methods of threat detection, including app testing of both internal apps (that may be full of security holes from developer-inserted tools or APIs) and external apps that contain code from shared libraries that may contain exploits that are initially hard to detect.  This requires new approaches to monitoring and access. The panel discussed the increasing importance and sophistication of Identity and Access Management (IAM) and the layers of governance decisions that can make the organization safer while also making access easier for workers. Automating “situational awareness” is key and getting easier as all the tool mature to meet the new challenges.


4. Security and support are high IT priorities, but tackling them is getting more complex…oh and there’s no budget

Budget challenges continue to force tough choices in IT and security organizations.  CIOs know they have real threats throughout the organization, but they are forced to make calculated risks and invest only where the threat feels imminent.  The panel offered hope both in the advancement of artificial intelligence tools for identifying and responding to new threats in real time but also in a broadening awareness amongst all stakeholders of the changing nature of security and the very real requirement that individual actions and awareness are key to success and increasingly evident in organizations.


5. Enterprise mobility is being advanced by small, incremental steps, yet offering big returns.

Thought the panelists disagreed as to how much of the work happening in organizations are big steps or small advances, all agreed that returns have become easier for organizations to recognize and that no one questions the need for more apps and digital transformation though there is still much debate on the degree to which an organization should invest, the path to better outcomes and how to calculate the ROI.


The full report is available below.