Getting to know IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices
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This post is contributed by Mick Landers, IT Architect, IBM Global Technology Services Mobile Enterprise Services
The IBM GTS Mobile Enterprise Services team has provided mobility services for its customers for over ten years. The initial focus was on providing a managed BlackBerry Enterprise Service but in recent times emphasis has switched to a managed service for mobile platforms like Apple iOS and Google Android.
The GTS team supports many of the popular Mobile Device Management (MDM) products in the marketplace – installing, configuring and managing these products on an on-going basis for customers. So of course while individuals in the GTS Mobile Enterprise Services team may have particular favorites in the MDM product space, the global team, through its Mobility Center of Excellence, has the capability and experience to deliver a managed mobility service regardless of the MDM product in question.
With the release of IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices earlier last year, the GTS Mobile Enterprise Services team has been in the unique position of being able to compare the IBM product with the other products in the marketplace, based on years of practical experience deploying and running those MDM systems. Through participation in the early IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices beta programs, GTS has helped prioritize recent updates to the product – focusing on managed service delivery.
However there are some unique features of the broader IBM Endpoint Manager “platform” that the MDM product uses to its advantage – and these features give the GTS team an additional edge in service delivery. A couple of examples include MDM Platform Updates and Custom Fixlets.
MDM Platform Updates
A typical MDM scenario occurs when a new version of a mobile platform appears in the market, such as Apple releasing a new version of iOS. Sometimes this means an update to an MDM tool to support that new version. For the GTS Mobile Enterprise Services team this means liaising with the MDM vendors, receiving notification of the required product update and then coordinating and scheduling that update across all of the customers affected by the change. For some MDM systems the updates have included SQL scripting patches and manual updates to files – all error prone and time consuming tasks.
IBM Endpoint Manager has a unique approach with its ability to subscribe to sites that deliver content automatically from IBM content-delivery cloud-based services. This effectively means automatic updates to the product with little or no administrative actions. The administrator will see a notification in their console telling them that the Mobile Device Management site has been updated. It includes a link to a web page detailing the new content. The update might include a new mobility dashboard, updates to an existing mobile action or support for a new device feature.
The popular MDM systems supported by GTS provide a fixed set of features – typical things like security policy definition, application management, reporting and compliance management. If the product does not support a particular use case that is important for the client, then this usually means an enhancement request to the MDM vendor which may get implemented in some future release.
The IBM Endpoint Manager platform in comparison allows the development of custom capabilities quickly and easily. An administrator can copy an existing component and edit it to suit their needs or simply write a completely new component from scratch. As GTS moves forward with deploying IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices this will be a key capability used to deliver the right features to customers in a timely manner.
These are just some of the platform capabilities that give the GTS services team great confidence in deploying IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices - a mature and extensible technology platform that has automated update processes, removing a maintenance headache that is seen with many other systems, allowing the team to focus on delivering a comprehensive mobility service to customers.
Mick Landers is a mobility offering architect for IBM Global Technology Services Workplace Services. He develops reusable managed service offerings for the Mobile Enterprise, focusing on Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Platform Management. He also engages in mobility bids and proposal responses and solution design for IBM customers. Follow Mick Landers on Twitter at @landersm.