Q&A With MOBI's Chris Koeneman

Esther Shein

As enterprise mobility management strategies mature, IT departments are thinking less about basic device management and security and more about how usage of these mobile devices can transform business processes, industry observers say. The enterprise mobility management (EMM) software market is projected to be just under $10 billion by 2019, according to research firm Ovum.

The drive to transform business processes means that mobile content management (MCM) is also becoming a more important part of the EMM mix, as enterprises look for ways to help employees share and collaborate on various types of content, Ovum notes. Users’ increased desire to access enterprise content from mobile devices is another driver. Ovum is forecasting that MCM will be the third most important component of the overall EMM market, behind MDM and MADP, by 2019.

Enterprise Mobility Exchange spoke with Chris Koeneman, senior vice president of strategic solutions at MOBI, a provider of cloud-based enterprise mobility management software, to discuss a range of issues including the face of enterprise mobility today. He also gave his observations on the $26 billion T-Mobile-Sprint merger, which, if approved by regulators, is expected to have significant implications for businesses and consumers alike.

Enterprise Mobility Exchange: What is the biggest pain point(s) enterprises have today when it comes to managing mobile workers?

Chris Koeneman: One of the biggest pain points for enterprises today as it relates to managing mobility is forecasting costs. Costs related to mobility tend to be more unpredictable than other IT costs because of the following factors:

• Carrier-connected. Use of the device triggers a variable cost with mobile carriers. This includes international roaming.

• Rapid obsolescence. Mobile devices tend to become obsolete much more quickly and unexpectedly as compared to a nomadic or stationary device.

• Damage. Mobile devices are much more likely to be damaged, lost, or stolen. These events are difficult to predict.

• Shadow IT. Mobile devices are prone to be used in shadow IT projects. When these projects are discovered, they are often not compliant with corporate practices. The cost of bringing these shadow IT projects under corporate standards is very difficult to predict.

EME: What pressures are on mobile leaders due to the rise of smart technologies—how does this impact mobile workforce programs?

CK: Smart technologies collect insightful data, but this information is invariably deposited in a silo. Mobile leaders are under pressure to integrate these islands of data in order to provide insight and business intelligence.

There are a number of candidate platforms emerging to address data silos. Each of these platforms are expanding from their traditional specialty in an attempt to span over and connect various silos. For example, HR platforms such as Workday and Peoplesoft are expanding and connecting data silos. Likewise, traditional ERP systems such as SAP or Oracle continue, to develop specialty modules. From the world of mobility, MMS is stepping into this role and is connecting, relating and normalizing data found in silos.

EME: What are mobile leaders' investment priorities?

CK: Investment tends to be focused on digital transformation in the form of mobile apps. Mobile leaders are investing in digitizing business processes and representing that through smartphone-based applications for mobile workers.

MDM has successfully expanded its role and morphed into EMM to include mobile application management. A natural next evolution would be mobile content management, so I think MCM will play a role in MDM strategies for both vendors and customers.

EME: How will the T-Mobile/Sprint merger make the new entity more appealing to business subscribers?

CK: T-Mobile’s global roaming offering added to Sprint’s overall business offering will be very appealing to business subscribers. Another benefit of the merger would be a stronger competitor in the 5G deployment. 5G would not necessarily be deployed faster -- but with a strong supplier (stronger than T-Mobile and Sprint on their own) in 5G it should mean lower prices in the market.

EME: What should enterprises be doing to enhance the security of their mobile programs?

CK: Visibility is the first cousin of security. Enterprises should look at how to elevate clear visibility across their various security platforms. Correlation, normalization, and prioritization of the overall security status are key.

EME: What sort of impact, if any, is the GDPR having on mobile workforces?

CK: A mobile worker is more likely to generate information that would leave the EU as opposed to a stationary worker. A mobile workforce may find operational restrictions in place on the mobile applications they use due to GDPR compliance.