The Evolution of EMM and the Modern, Mobile Workflow

The Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) landscape continues to evolve as the device, management, and productivity journeys of the modern, mobile worker continue to intersect and advance. 

Device Journey

Image via MoneySense

Image via MoneySense

As mobile smart phones began to penetrate the consumer market, people began depending on their phones for knowledge, efficiency, and connection to others. This connection to smartphones and mobile devices soon began to impact the enterprise, resulting in a shift to issued mobile devices for work. Although issued devices created flexibility and productivity for many mobile workers, there were also many problems: carrying around two phones was inefficient. What innovative leaders began to realize is that employees will use their personal phones at work, and even for work, whether it is permitted or not. 

Eventually, this process of having one phone for work and one phone for personal use began to fade out. The next phase is where most companies are today and came to be known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) which is closely related to Choose Your Own Device (CYOD). With this system employees are either allowed to bring in their personal device and connect it for work related activities, or choose a device that they can use both at work and at home. This has been the most convenient and effective device policy so far however BYOD/CYOD policies do create their own challenges, especially for IT administrators. The newest challenges revolve around data protection, manageability, and overall security of these devices and the data shared among them.

Management Journey

So how can all the challenges and fears associated with BYOD policies be relieved? As the state of devices in the workplace changed, management of the security of these devices and their data had to evolve as well. At some point enterprises realized that any good security management strategy needed to include device level and application level control. This led to the evolution of what we now know as enterprise mobility management. 

Mobile Device Management (MDM): Mobile device management arose as a response to security concerns on BYOD/CYOD devices inside a given enterprise. Most of the mobile device management capabilities are administered through third party vendors such as VMware/Airwatch, Citrix, IBM, Good Technology, and many others. The important thing to understand about these security strategies is that they’re focused on device level security: remote wipe, WiFi network settings, password policy, device encryption and more. The management tools included with an MDM vendor were made available through exclusive access to application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by leading operating systems.

Mobile Application Management (MAM): Mobile application management focuses on security concerns and access at the application level. Within an MAM solution, administrators can apply controls within each application on a given device. With the advancement of MAM, both internally developed and third party applications could now be controlled and pushed to enterprise devices. In order for an MAM solution to have control over these applications, however, most SaaS providers have to either deliver their business application through the use of an SDK (software development kit) or app wrapping.

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM): Eventually, many administrators found the value in both MDM and MAM. The combination of the two- complemented by mobile content management (MCM)- lead to the creation of total EMM. Within these EMM suites, vendors are able to utilize mobile device and application management, as well as control the way information is shared between different applications on the phone. The new evolution of EMM, however, is to break down the barriers of app wrapping and SDKs which often produce a less than native app experience. The beginning of a more open standard for app configuration was begun with VMware sponsored ACE [App Configuration for Enterprise] which Lua is excited to be apart of. 

Productivity Journey: A Change in the Modern Workflow

For most verticals the past few years have created a shift in the mobility of the average employee. It is most effective to think of this journey as a shift in workflow. Workers access to emails, data, and contacts as long as they were connected to a smartphone and a secure network. For many mobile workers, there were still obstacles: remote access, mobile collaboration and communication, and especially security.

All efforts that have led to EMM have arisen as a need to protect and improve the productivity of all different kinds of workers, wherever they fall on the mobility spectrum. In order to best support the boost of productivity available with modern technology, EMM must continue to evolve with an ever changing, and always faster, workflow. For many enterprises utilizing an EMM program to support their employees mobility journey, there has been a missing piece to ultimate productivity: secure mobile messaging. By adding messaging to any strategic mobility initiative, company leaders can be confident that their employees can securely communicate from any location at all times, in real time, and from any device.

What's Next?

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With mobile technologies constantly changing, it can be hard to predict the future of enterprise mobility, but there are some obvious necessities. The future mobile employee needs four main apps to be productive: email, file sharing, calendar, and mobile messaging. With secure access to these most important productivity applications, workers will be equipped to deal with challenges, make deals, communicate and collaborate wherever they are.