Choosing EMM software as an add-on may soon be unnecessary

As the enterprise mobility management (EMM) software market quickly consolidates, tools for provisioning, configuring and securing mobile devices are being subsumed into larger product suites and offered for free.

The bundling of EMM suites by established vendors such as VMWare, IBM, SAP, Citrix and others means vendors of stand-alone software may not survive. And if that’s true, should companies be moving away from them and depending more on tools offered by their primary vendors?

Pure play EMM software sellers have been snapped up at a furious pace over the past four to five years.

Among the notable buyouts: IBM purchased Fiberlink and its MaaS360 platform, Citrix acquired Zenprise, Blackberry bought out Good Technology, VMware acquired AirWatch, and Arxan Technologies grabbed Apperian and its mobile application management technology.

Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, compared the recent market consolidation to the laptop industry a decade earlier, where there was a slew of notebook management software vendors who are all but gone today.

What’s left from the recent EMM market churn are a handful of independent companies, such as MobileIron and Soti, who offer focused products with multi-vendor integration. While useful, those products may not be necessary for many organizations.

In fact, most enterprises over buy. They purchase device management suites in which most tools are never used or they purchase mobile device management seats for all of their mobile users, but only deploy it a small number of smartphones, tablets and other devices, Gold said.

“For the most part, people don’t use anywhere near all the capabilities in a suite they buy,” he said. “So, for what most people want to do, the suites are pretty good. Eighty percent of what they’re doing is base MDM.

“If you look at what Citrix, VMware and all the others have done, they’re basically enhancing their EMM capabilities with new features and functions,” Gold added.

For example, VMware added AirWatch’s EMM capabilities to its Workspace VDI portal.