This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala's blog.

There’s no hotter IT initiative today than “bring your own device.” A recent survey ZK Research conducted shows that 82% of organizations now  in some way support the use of consumer devices in the workplace. This is a marked difference from just a couple of years ago, when very few organizations supported it. For those companies that do not support it yet, get ready because the heat’s going to come from above your pay grade and it will be your CEO who says “I don’t care what our corporate policy is, make this iPad work.”

This is one of the reasons mobile device management (MDM) has been such a hot market over the past few years. MDM enables the safe on-boarding of devices into the corporate workplace. It ensures that the device adheres to corporate security policies, drops certificates onto the device and configures the device automatically. Generally, a good MDM solution can reduce provisioning time from hours to mere minutes.

However, once the device has been on-boarded, then what happens? Sure, the user can do the normal things like browse the web or check email securely, but that doesn’t fully leverage the capabilities of the device. Many workers want to be able to collaborate more effectively using their consumer devices. Tablets, in particular, are much more effective collaboration tools than laptops when a worker is mobile. I believe this was the primary motivation behind the announcement made by Siemens Enterprise Communications and AirWatch. Siemens Enterprise is one of the leading UC vendors; in fact Siemens’ OpenScape product was really the first true UC solution available. AirWatch is one of a handful of MDM solution providers that offers both a premise- and cloud-based solution.

The combination of the two enables customers to address the pre and post on-boarding challenges of BYOD. Customers can use AirWatch to deploy, manage and secure consumer devices, which are mostly pre on-boarding events. Then AirWatch can provide application management support for Siemens Enterprise to customers to more easily deploy the necessary mobile UC and web collaboration solutions.

Through the partnership, Siemens Enterprise will introduce AirWatch into its channel through a referral program, which gives Siemens Enterprise one of the best MDM solutions on the market and provides AirWatch with an enormous channel for its products. The customer gets the benefit of a simplified deployment, making this a win for all parties involved.

As more companies adopt BYOD, I expect to see more MDM partnerships and M&A activity. This should make for an interesting 2013.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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