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The Visible Value Blog


Posted by Nick Sawyer

October 25, 2017 at 11:07 AM


Let’s start with some good news. It’s considered best practice when deploying mobile devices, such as handheld computers and printers, to install Mobile Device Management (MDM) toolsets in parallel. MDM is essential in increasing efficiencies to configure and deploy mobile devices, update associated software, enable triage (to cut the length of service desk calls), support remote repairs and find common faults – all of which, over a typical three-year device life cycle, cut ownership costs.

But, here’s the kicker.  

I believe that using MDM is good practice, not best practice. It won’t get most value from your device investment. Why do I say this? And what does best practice look like? Let me explain with Forrester’s help.


Forrester has spoken to 300 senior decision-makers who look after mobile devices in enterprises across North America, Asia and EMEA[1]. It asked how these leaders manage their devices. Four things struck me:

  • 70% have MDM (but 53% want more from it)
  • 70% want more – and relevant – reports
  • 59% stated that identifying actionable insight through reporting, analytics or alerts is challenging
  • 45% are looking at external expertise to help them with their MDM solutions

My conclusion from all this is that enterprises want more insight from their MDM solution. Why’s that? In my discussions with customers, a few issues pop up:

  • Time: Making the most of an MDM tool requires analysis of its data and cross-referencing different reports, including from other systems. Due to time pressures, not many companies can spare people to do this.
  • Expertise: While MDM tools have become better at displaying data that’s easy to digest, it can still require expertise to really find out what’s going on – and importantly, what effect that may have on their critical business processes
  • Scalability: What’s more, many organisations want people with different responsibilities to be able to access data at a granular level that’s specific to their role. Slicing and dicing data to achieve this goal requires analytical and technical skills.

So, it’s no surprise to me that 61% of organisations stated that using predictive analytics to identify the probability that something will go wrong with any device is challenging. That’s a big figure when you consider that MDM tools primarily exist to get the most from your devices.


Don’t get me wrong, we partner with MDM vendors, and their tools – if you’ve experts in using them – do a good job. But here’s the thing: I believe that to achieve best practice in managing devices, companies need to be supported by visibility tools that aggregate and augment data from multiple sources – e.g. MDM and repair and support systems. The tools can predict where problems might emerge, and, suggest changes to settings that will help achieve the high device availability that’s essential to ensure your mobility investment delivers the expected outcomes.

This point is seconded by the research. It found that:

  • 79% want directive actions from MDM to pre-empt issues

So how can you the extract the best intel from your MDM data, help desk and support functions? How can you achieve best practice, which in my mind means being able to predict issues rather than react to them? We’ve some purpose-built solutions that will do this for you:

  • Asset Visibility Service (AVS): AVS can be used without an existing MDM to provide an easy to read view of your assets (and what’s being used or unused), their location, and any devices that are not where they’re meant to be. AVS also shows the current health of devices with predictive analytics and actionable recommendations, that indicate when there’s a looming need to invest in new devices and even new media or batteries.
  • Operational Visibility Service: OVS includes an integrated MDM platform and provides our most comprehensive range of device insight and management services. It allows you to chart trends in the distribution of device assets, evaluate device performance and OS levels, compare site reporting and analytics, look at how devices are used and set configurable visual alerts. Moreover, 25 pre-set reports (you can customize these too) with literally dozens of configurable options are available to do things like trace data back to the beginning of time.
  • OVS Connect: Provides all the management platform and business intelligence enabled through OVS but integrates with your on-premise MDM platform


You can download the complete Forrester Research here.


[1] Unlocking Asset and Device Visibility Value from MDM Solutions, Forrester, 2017


Topics: EMEA, OVS, AVS, MDM, mobile devices, Services