Mobile devices – smartphones, tablets and note/netbook PCs – are revolutionizing the enterprise market with adoption numbers that beggar the imagination. But if Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the new corporate catchphrase, then mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) are the principal methods for managing and simplifying the buying, deploying, securing and maintaining these devices. This is the market which SAP is looking to carve out a bigger share with the latest enhancements to its 15-year-old Afaria solution.
Originally released in 1997 as SessionXpress to help system administrators remotely manage client systems, including disks, files and sessions, Afaria was adopted as its new name in 2000, and after going through a number of owners and evolutions, was acquired by SAP in 2010 when the company bought Sybase. Release 7.2 – 7.0 debuted in April 2012 – includes enhanced iOS and Android device management and security, a new app portal design intended to provide an experience similar to other popular app storefronts, and a new self-service portal for simplified device onboarding and management.
“Our focus is on opening new doors,” said Brian Whitmarsh, senior manager, solutions team, SAP, “to get applications out there in the mobile workforce. We have an opportunity because we have a strong foothold in enterprise applications to extend that out to the mobile workforce.” Enterprises have made large investments in their applications and they want to get the most out of those investments by getting them out to their mobile workforces, he said.
The size and speed of growth of the mobile enterprise market are staggering. Last week’s report from IDC showed that the smart connected device market grew 27.1% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2012, reaching a record 303.6 million shipments valued at $140.4 billion dollars. This quarter’s shipments are expected to reach 362.0 million units with a market value of $169.2 billion dollars, dominated by Samsung and Apple. Shipments are expected to surpass 2.1 billion units in 2016 with a market value of $796.7 billion worldwide.
The global MDM enterprise software solutions market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31.43% over the period 2011-2015. The dominant players are Mobilelron, AirWatch, Fiberlink Communication, Zenprise, and Good Technology, with other vendors including SAP and Symantec.
According to IDC, MDM vendors generated about $300 million in revenue in 2010, but that figure will quadruple by 2015 to $1.2 billion. And in the next five years, 65% of firms will adopt an MDM solution.
With 14 years experience in this market, Whitmarsh said he’s been surprised by the slowness of adoption of applications other than email. “We’ve been talking apps since 2000… and the first ‘killer app’ was email, but what surprised me is how long it really took for other apps to come along, and then how quickly they took off.”
Looking ahead, he said mobile workers have already started leaving their notebooks behind when they leave the office, and he expects that trend to accelerate. “More so than ever I am confident about going to see customers, going on a business trip, with just my tablet.”
The power available on tablets is making people less dependent upon desktop or laptop, he said. “There are a number of things I’m more comfortable doing on my mobile device than laptop or desktop and I see that continuing.”
Key features for SAP Afaria 7.2 include: deeper directory integration to provide connection to multiple disparate directories for authentication and assignments; enhanced email access control and device remediation to provide greater scalability and security; expanded PKI certificate management; app portal enhancements to simplify the user experience; new API and app policy features for “zero-touch” setup; self-service portal updates; Samsung SAFE support for Android devices; and iOS enhancements to provide increased jailbreak detection and support.