Gartner Magic Quadrant shifts focus from MDM to Enterprise Mobility Management

Gartner has overhauled its annual mobility management Magic Quadrant report to focus on what’s known as “enterprise mobility management” (EMM) rather than the previous “mobile device management,” (MDM) a distinction it says is needed due to fast-moving market forces. Gartner’s new report for EMM, which sizes up the vendors, is making a few of them upset.

According to Gartner, EMM has evolved out of the older notion of MDM, and is distinguished by three basic functional roles for mobile content management and security. By Gartner’s definition, EMM content management includes a “secure container” that lets the user store content securely on a mobile device; “content push” that allows for push-based delivery; and “content access” as a connection to a back-end repository where users can pull content to their devices. Gartner’s new “Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management Suites” report describes all this and puts a few fortunate vendors in the much-coveted “leaders,” “visionaries” and “challengers” categories, consigning others as “niche players.”

Magic Quadrants (also sometimes shortened to MQ) tend to resonate greatly among enterprises that follow them, so it’s not surprising that BlackBerry -- one of the many vendors consigned as a niche player -- is upset about the Gartner EMM report.

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Gartner enterprise mobility management

John Sims, president of enterprise services at BlackBerry, is pushing back in a blog post titled “Gartner MQ: Perception vs. Reality.” In the post, he blasts the research, asserting “Gartner’s MQ process has been unable to keep pace with the speed of change and innovation at which BlackBerry is moving.”

Other vendors are not feeling the magic at all. Intel Security division McAfee and Kaspersky Lab were dropped entirely from the new EMM report due to factors that might have included not having products that support EMM in the Gartner model, or not having sufficient mobile-device management presence in the market.

Kaspersky had a fairly low-key response to being excluded. “Gartner’s inclusion and exclusion criteria for all of their Magic Quadrant reports are being applied more rigidly than in previous years, and we didn’t meet some of those criteria,” Kaspersky said in a statement provided by its communications manager. “Gartner’s position on Unified Endpoint Management aligns very closely with Kaspersky Lab’s endpoint management vision, and we look forward to their insight and guidance as our solution portfolio continues to grow.”

McAfee’s response to being excluded was a bit stronger.

“Yes, it’s true that McAfee is not part of the 2014 Gartner MQ for Enterprise Mobility Management,” said Bradon Rogers, senior vice president of product solutions and marketing. “McAfee’s point of view is that mobility should not run outside of the endpoint and we are building our Security Connected vision with that in mind. While the competitive landscape looks at mobility independently, we are focused on developing technology with an integrated approach. The McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection Suite was recently named a leader in the Gartner 2014 Endpoint Protection Magic Quadrant.”

Chris Silva, who co-authored the new report with fellow Gartner analysts Terrence Cosgrove, Rob Smith, Bryan Taylor, John Girard and Monica Basso, explains why the research firm is making EMM the priority now.

“Traditional MDM was getting to be commoditized because of what the handset vendors are doing today,” Silva says. Apple iOS 7, for example, includes management profiles, he points out. And though there may not be management tools in Apple and Google Android devices, the features are exposed so that MDM vendors — there are now over 100 such outfits — can build on them.

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While Gartner will still put out research notes related to MDM, there won’t be a Magic Quadrant for this anymore, Silva says. EMM content management functionality is becoming more important because businesses will want to know whether a feature such as a “secure container” (which is often a choice for Bring Your Own Device situations) is available when they’re looking at mobile-management options, he says.

According to the report, EMM suites provide core functions that include hardware as well as application inventory; OS configuration management; mobile app deployment and configuration; remote view and control for troubleshooting; the ability to execute remote actions, such as remote wipe; and mobile content management.

The new Gartner EMM report lists only 14 vendors. The ones that float in the Magic Quadrant “leaders” section include AirWatch, MobileIron, IBM (which acquired Fiberlink) , Citrix, and Good Technology. Symantec, Soti and Sophos hover in the “visionaries” section, while SAP stands by itself in the “challengers” section. Landesk, BlackBerry, Absolute Software, Tangoe and Globo are left as “niche players.”

The report does critique every vendor in it in an assessment of “strengths” and “cautions.” Certainly, more about all this will be heard at the upcoming Gartner IR Risk and Security and Risk Management Summit in the Washington, D.C. area later this month.

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