Unprecedented Rise in MDM Costs Reported by Osterman and Azaleos

By Colleen Lynch July 12, 2012

Osterman Research conducted a study recently confirming what most mobile device users feared: mobile device management costs are soaring. Research was supported by Azaleos Corporation, a global and private cloud service company and the findings were announced today.

The survey shows increased annual cost per mobile device user, with reports this figure will rise to 48 percent by 2013.

Mobile device management (MDM) is expected to be pricy, but the Azaleos-supported research is showing unprecedented numbers.

Full-time staff requirements to manage smartphones has increased from 2.9 per 1,000 devices to 3.6, in just the last year from 2011 to 2012. Even more alarming, this number will reach 4.0 in the coming year.

Osterman Research surveyed 117 mid to large enterprises, with 79 percent of the companies currently using Microsoft Exchange for their email services. Corresponding annual IT labor costs were reported at $229 per user in 2011, now up to $294, and expected to hit $339 per user in 2013.

Reasons behind this rise in MDM costs involve security, as well as what vice president of product management and marketing at Azaleos, Scott Gode, describes as “a follow-on effect from BYOD.”

“The increasing complexity associated with mobile device management in the workplace is being driven in large part by the growing number of personally owned devices or BYOD that are being used by employees alongside company supplied devices,” confirmed the president of Osterman Research Inc., Michael Osterman.

Gode added that “with many IT organizations supporting end user requests for device choice (via either BYOD or expanded corporate purchase options) security and management oversight of corporation mobile environments is waning.”

The survey was used to gather information on how great an impact this waning is having on the price of MDM, and Osterman reported the ultimate findings “showed the growing resource drain that mobile management is imposing on IT departments is driving many organizations to consider either a managed MDM service and/or cloud-based approach for their MDM solutions, or both.”

So not only did the survey confirm the rise in costs, but it showed a marked trend among mid to large companies switching to new MDM platforms: 56 percent of organizations that have not yet deployed an MDM solution will do in the next two years, with 32 percent confirming they will have an MDM solution by 2013.

This is good, as currently not enough companies realize the money they are losing and could be saving when it comes to this issue.

 “In general, corporate IT is just beginning to understand the threat of a poorly managed mobile environment,” Gode said in relation to the recent rise in use of MDM solutions. “As such, the majority of enterprises are in the early stages of evaluating the various solutions that are available for mobile device management.”

Gode hopes the survey will act as “a wake-up call for corporate IT, and it won’t take a major mobile security breach for companies to realize they should implement an MDM solution.”

Unfortunately, not just any MDM solution is always enough: Gode describes the service offered by Azaleos as being “unique because it allows companies to move to a hosted or outsourced MDM model, while still reaping all the security benefits of the MDM infrastructure.”

The reasons for switching encompass a wide range of benefits offered by MDM, including the need to abate the large and constantly increasing potential for loss of intellectual property. This was affirmed by respondents of the survey as the leading factor cited for deploying an MDM solution.

Those opting for a cloud-based solution noted simpler administration and maintenance being their top reason for switching (69 percent), with predictable or reduced costs coming in second at 39 percent. Additionally, 21 percent of respondents choosing a cloud MDM solution reported not wanting to use internal IT staff resources.

Choosing one over the other (cloud versus non-cloud) is a fairly simple decision when it comes down to it.

“The pros and cons of going with a cloud-based solution for MDM are essentially the same as with other technologies,” said Gode, “with one important exception. On the pro side, much of the complexity and some of the costs are absorbed by the cloud solution. On the con side, organizations that elect to use a public cloud solution will lose some customization and control of the environment.”

You take the good with the bad, but Gode added that “because the MDM category is so new, there is no feature set trade-off yet when choosing between a cloud vs. non-cloud, high-end MDM solution such as AirWatch.”

Based on technology from AirWatch, Azaleos Corporation works with managed Exchange, managed Sharepoint, and managed Lync. Osterman Research meanwhile provides both insight and research on messaging, Web, social media markets and other associated technologies.

The reasons for switching to an MDM solution are plenty, all of which are in the report entitled “Mobile Devices in the Enterprise: MDM Usage and Adoption Trends,” available here.

TechZone360 Contributor

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