Ok, so I’m not picking solely on Gartner here, but I am going to be making some sweeping generalisations on all the analysts out there. I just want to take a few moments to share with you my thoughts on how I think some of the analysts out there view the EMM market, and where I might (or might not!) agree with some of their conclusions.

So, let me start by saying that analysts out there, be they Gartner, Forester, IDC, or who ever have a very important job to play in the enterprise market. Companies world wide look to them for trusted advice. But there’s no doubt they have a tough job. They’re expected by these companies and news outlets to be able to advise them, in expert detail, about all kind of sections of the enterprise market, from enterprise mobility, to CRM systems, unified communications services to cloud infrastructure services. Considering the sheer volume of hats they must ware, against the output they’re having to produce, it can mean the end product may not be as clear and accurate as it needs to be for everyone.

Now, when I’m talking about “output”, I’m talking about these annual reports they product listing the major players in a sector, and then giving them a chart position based on a number of factors. This is great for a quick view general view of the market place, but it’s very binary and locked down when it comes to picking a technology that’s best suited for you. In any market (and especially mobility), there is no simple “one glove fits all” solution out there. In fact, what we’re seeing more and more of out there are companies who are realising this and opting to use not just one technology, but 2 or 3 to provide them with the functionality they want.

What Gartner can’t do with their magic quadrant (their annual report charting the vendors against 2 key attributes, “Completeness of Vision” vs “Ability to Execute”), is provide sensible customised advice based on the requirements of the user, mapping those requirements against the functionality and abilities of the products out there. Well, that’s not quite true, they can and will, but there will be a VERY large fee for providing this kind of service.

Personally I’ve had the fortune in the past to work with the majority of the big names out there in the EMM world, from AirWatch to Good technology, MobileIron to Citrix, and yes, even BlackBerry! This has given me great insight into just what kind of abilities each of them have, and how well the stand up in the real world against each other. For me, I like to try and match the advice I give, to the need of the individual. The abilities of all platforms can be broken into 7 main categories;

  • Platform Support
  • Architecture
  • Device Management
  • Application Management
  • Data Management
  • Reporting
  • Administration

Each of these in turn will have at least 20 measurements or abilities beneath them with which we can score every platform on, from level of encryption provided to fail over ability, support of multiple active directory domains to being able to integration with and SIEM solution. The answers to some of these tough really arent binary yes/no answers though, and this is where expertise comes in to attach a value as to how full or complete this function is to be able to properly compare platforms. Once you’re able to answer how important to you each of these functions is, it’s very easy to be able to get a clear customised view of exactly which solution (or solutions!) are the right fit for your organisation.