IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Vox Channeli: MDM or Else

Respondents to our latest survey who offer mobile device management say it gives them a competitive edge over channel pros who don’t. By Rich Freeman

As they do every year, manufacturers introduced the world to a host of shiny new smartphones, tablets, and other mobile gizmos at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show. And while those devices all have different features, specs, and price points, they share one thing in common: Many of the people who buy them will use them at work.

Logically speaking, that makes them one more thing for managed service providers to manage. After all, MSPs are ultimately responsible for ensuring that anything that connects to a client’s network does so safely.

How many MSPs are actually fulfilling that responsibility, though?

We decided to find out via our latest reader survey by including a few questions about mobile device management. First, we asked respondents to our poll who provide managed services if they include MDM among their offerings. Here’s what you told us:

Vox Channeli: MDM or Else
Over half of you, it seems, aren’t on the MDM bandwagon yet. That naturally leaves one wondering why, so we asked about that too.

Vox Channeli: MDM or Else
A handful of folks lack the skills they need or can’t find tools they like, but by far the most common reason our readers don’t offer mobile device management is that customers aren’t asking for it or won’t pay for it.

That finding doesn’t surprise Steve Hall, CEO of District Computers LLC, an MSP in Silver Spring, Md. that does offer MDM. His customers generally don’t want that service either, initially at least.

“Most people think they don’t need it,” he says. Once he helps them understand that the little phone in their pocket is every bit as much a computer as the PC on their desk and poses the same potential security risks, however, they change their mind.

And thank him for making them safer, we suspect. Indeed, when we asked readers who provide MDM services how that’s paying off for them, the number one answer we received was happier customers.

Vox Channeli: MDM or Else

A pretty good chunk of MDM providers are filing fewer support tickets, and hence enjoying fatter profits, as well. But the data point in the chart above that should really grab the attention of anyone not yet managing mobile devices is the advantage that a third of MDMers claim to enjoy when competing with non-MDMers for customers.

Hall, for one, thinks they’re absolutely right.

“We’re offering something the other guy is not, and you can justify why [customers] need it,” he says. “That’s absolutely a competitive advantage.”

A pretty simple one to neutralize, though. Find yourself a tool and start managing mobile hardware, before that customer who likes to install random apps on a smartphone full of credit card data becomes a giant, aching problem.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Senior News Editor