A Resolution in the Device Management Landscape

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“Can’t we just use the MDM system we’ve always relied on in corporate IT?”

If you’ve been involved in operations IT for the past ten years or more, you’ve probably heard this question from your corporate colleagues at least once.

Interestingly enough, mobile device management (MDM) may have been a part of your operational tech stack for twice as long as it has been a topic of discussion in corporate circles. MDM has played a crucial role in managing rugged mobile computers, forklift-mounted devices, and wearables in supply chain operations since the 1990s.

In its early days, MDM focused on handling OS updates for Windows CE and other early mobile operating systems (who remembers PalmOS?). It allowed over-the-air app updates for the first Wi-Fi-connected devices, eliminating the need for centralized device docking stations for batch uploads. If you’ve been in the field for a while, you probably remember the relief that brought.

When smartphones emerged, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend emerged, and corporate IT teams had to find ways to manage them. Corporate IT and operations teams were often divided into separate groups, known as “knowledge” workers and “task” workers, respectively. At its peak, corporate IT had around 150 MDM vendors to choose from.

Not only were the products different, but MDM solutions targeted at corporate IT were typically subscription-based. So, when their contracts were up every 1-3 years, they often approached operations IT teams to adopt the same product. On paper, it made sense: more seats meant potential volume discounts on licenses. However, it also led to a “turf war” over control of mobile deployments.

Operations IT teams grew frustrated. The device management needs for managing rugged/supply chain mobile deployments have always been different. They were accustomed to deep control over device-specific technologies, such as enabling specific barcode symbologies for particular use cases or disabling device cameras to protect intellectual property. They were also experienced in managing mobile deployments on “dark” Wi-Fi networks, deploying targeted app/OS updates, and managing segmented workgroups.

Managing these device functions required close relationships with specific device manufacturers. While corporate MDM players offered support for numerous Android and iOS devices, only a few solutions, including Ivanti Wavelink, were built specifically for supply chain use cases and operations IT users. These solutions ensured strong device management capabilities for the specialized hardware manufacturers integrated into the operations tech stack.

As the corporate MDM vendor landscape consolidated, it became evident that these solutions did not meet the specific needs of operations IT teams, with one exception: MobileIron.

Following Ivanti’s acquisition of MobileIron in late 2020, the MDM and mobile security expertise from that heritage merged with the domain knowledge and relationships with device manufacturers that businesses have relied on through Ivanti Avalanche.

Combining the best of both worlds presents new opportunities for the future of operations. With Ivanti Neurons for MDM, you can continue to enjoy the robust device control you trust, along with enhanced mobile security and an optimized device management experience as an Android Enterprise Recommended MDM solution.

This product, Ivanti Neurons for MDM, provides everything you need to ensure your mobile deployments are well-prepared for today’s and tomorrow’s business requirements. Moreover, it gives you the chance to tell your corporate IT colleagues, “You should use the MDM solution we’re using. It caters to your users’ needs.”

Take it for a test drive and recommend it to your corporate IT team, ensuring comprehensive device management for all.




Written by Rob DeStefano

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