With the announcement of Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune (wave E) Microsoft offers a mature Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution which it emphatically (re)positions itself in the market of enterprise device management software. Various publications including Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management Software (May 2013) shows that Microsoft plays no significant role in the market of enterprise mobile device management software.
Figure 1Gartners Magic Quadrant for MDM software.
Successors System Center Mobile Device Management 2008 wasn’t that success and was too early with the lack of suitable hardware. With the current version of Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 and Windows Intune (wave D) Microsoft is working on it closing the gap by providing base MDM functionality. But was it good enough to be a serious competitor in the market of enterprise MDM solutions? With the announcement of Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and 4th generation of Windows Intune (wave E) I am convinced this will change!
Goal of this article is to provide a high-level overall product comparison of Microsoft MDM solution based on Configuration Manager 2012 R2/Windows Intune (wave E) versus the current MDM market leaders Airwatch, MobileIron, Citrix and Good Technology. The product comparison is based on the following areas: platform support, infrastructure complexity, features and licensing & pricing.
As mentioned the product comparison is limited to the four market leaders as there’re too many MDM vendors available. What stands out is the scope of traditional mobile devices is changing and expands more and more to tablets and regular computers. The mobile workforce of both enterprise managed and private held device is increasing. Consumerization of IT is not without reason one of Microsoft business goals for 2014. This because hardware and software becomes ‘cloud-enabled’, devices are anywhere anytime anyplace connected to the internet.
This trend is reflected to the platform support overview below where both Windows 8 and Mac OS supported.
Table 1. Platform support.
Most vendors supports all the major mobile platforms including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Microsoft Windows Phone. You should wonder ‘What type of mobile devices will we support?’ will help you choosing a solution which best fits your needs.
Besides which platform we do need support to come ‘What is the best mobile architecture for our organization?’ There are a number of things to consider to get an answer to this question. First you need to consider what your current IT infrastructure looks like and then structure your MDM evaluation around what is already in place. Not the other way around. Also you will need to address cloud-based solutions vs. on-premise solutions, hosted vs. self-supported and the scalability of the MDM solutions as your mobile device population grows.
Table 2. Most vendors provides support for both on-premise and off-premise.
Enterprise Mobility Management AirWatch offers Mobile Device Management on per subscription, perpetual or (shared) cloud based including Mobile Email Management (MEM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM). AirWatch provides furthermore additional offerings complementary to MDM; Mobile Security-, Content- and Multi-user management.
Mobile Solution Bundle Citrix provides Citrix Mobile Solution Bundle which is based on XenMobile MDM, CloudGateway and ShareFile each which are made up of individual sub-products (XenMobile Device Manager, XenMobile SMG, XenMobile SharePoint DLP, AppController, Access Gateway, StoreFront). Roughly XenMobile MDM offers mobile device management capabilities, CloudGateway leveraging application deployment (MAM) where ShareFile provides file synchronization and sharing.
Mobile IT platform With Advanced Mobile Management MobileIron provides base MDM functionality which can be extended in modular components like Docs- , Apps- and Web modules.
Unified Device Management Microsoft MDM solutions consists of Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune (Wave E). Both solutions provides independent a complete MDM solution, but together they form an enhanced full featured MDM solution with extended capabilities.
What this product comparison makes complex and challenging is most vendors provides a partial (modular) solution instead of an overall MDM. For example mobile application management (MAM), mobile content management (MCM), mobile email management (MEM) and so on are available as additional components to base MDM functionality.
As mentioned before this product comparison provides a high level overview which applies to features as well. Features are categorized by general topics which are most imported for a MDM solution. Each product provides more in-depth feature set or overlap by additional components supplementary to basic MDM functionality. For a more in depth feature set I would recommend to visit the according vendor website.
Table 3. Highlevel feature overview.
If you thought product comparison is challenging well costs and licensing models are even more! License models differs per vendor and may vary from per-user, per-device based and/or supplementary with annual support cost or server licenses.
Table 4. License model overview.
If user have more than one device a per-user based licensing model suites best where per-device based licensing suites best if users has only one device. A per user-based license might be most obvious as we’re owning more and more devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop).
Where Microsoft and Citrix calculates per-user based license model AirWatch, MobileIron and Good Technology calculates costs on per devices-based license model.
With Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and the 4th generation of Windows Intune Microsoft provides a competitive and mature MDM solution which certainly will rise to a challengers segment in the Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management. If it is mature enough entering the leaders segment is hard to say and depends on many factor including adoption of Microsofts vision of Consumerization of IT.
In the area of platform support and features it provides substantially the same functionality as by most other vendors. Although Microsoft may not provide the most comprehensive MDM solution certainly when it comes to integration and interoperability with Microsoft architecture it is definitely the best choice.
In brief Unified Device Management (Configuration Manager 2012 R2 and Windows Intune) is a more than interesting MDM solution for managing your increasing mobile workforce!
Get started with Windows Intune and request a free 30-day trial here.
This comparison has been created with the utmost care and is constant a subject to change by developments in the market and therefore a snapshot. Nevertheless it might contain inaccuracies. No rights can be derived and/or liability imposed for this publication