Posted by Danielle Goodman
The MDM industry is quickly becoming the new standard for IT. Providers with holistic solutions--that fit not only into existing technology platforms, but into their end users’ lives--will thrive in 2014. Location technology will play a significant role in MDM in the coming years as it evolves beyond basic device tracking to create new features and opportunities for integration with other business technology. Device-level location can add advanced functionality and valuable insight for MDM providers looking to scale operations and expand their feature sets for new markets.
MDM technology is installed at the device level, so MDM providers are in the unique position to collect proprietary data on usage and employee behavior. MDM providers should consider opportunities to leverage the data they own to attract third party developers, even if they don’t use all location data as part of their core experience. By offering device-level location data through an API, MDM providers empower third party developers to build better business apps that integrate with MDM platforms. This will lead to a value-added ecosystem of apps that are available for MDM clients. Supplying this data allows them to extend their SDK, offering the visibility of location based policies into third party apps.
For example, a law firm wants to use a new desktop app to automate timesheets by billing clients based on their time on site. The timesheet company developing the app can create more value for the law firm by leveraging the unique data only an MDM provider has. If an MDM provider opens its API to third party developers, the timesheet app can offer added value by tapping into the MDM’s location data. Rather than prompting the law firm’s employees to enter their time spent on site with a client, the timesheet app can use MDM data to auto-populate it. This integration makes for a more frictionless user experience for the law firm and its employees, raising the value of the timesheet app and the MDM provider.
Integration with the larger enterprise app ecosystem is important not only for third party developers, but for clients who see integration as a high priority as they grow and scale their operations through other technology platforms. Integration should be core to the MDM mindset in 2014, as it will be a central factor in IT management’s purchasing decisions. Enabling developers to add device-level location to their non-mobile apps incentivizes them to create applications that supplement MDM offerings.
Chandra Sekar, Senior Director of Citrix XenMobile says, “Third party developers play a huge role in the MDM industry. Employees are bringing a staggering number of mobile apps into the enterprise on a daily basis. If not managed, these apps can pose a risk to corporate information and corporate networks. Enterprise IT must find a way to mitigate the risk, while enabling employees to take advantage of the powerful benefits mobile apps provide”. Citrix recognized the need to embrace third party developers, and launched the Citrix Ready Worx App Gallery last August.
An emerging critical factor in how IT decision makers choose MDM solutions is the degree to which MDM software integrates with other technology platforms they want to use. Providers should be aware that because their technology is installed on essentially all of a customers’ devices, they have access to proprietary and valuable data. Even if that data--including location--is not core to the MDM providers’ experience, third party developers will find it valuable.
Location services can accelerate the growth of MDM in 2014. Secure BYOD programs that are cross-platform and can integrate with third party apps will stand out in the industry. Customers will look for solutions that can scale with their business, remain cognizant of employee privacy, minimize risk and are easy to implement. In this regard, Skyhook’s location will enable the growth of MDM as the new IT standard.