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What You Need to Look for in a Mobile Device Management Solution

Chris.jpgThis year 75% of the global workforce will be mobile. So, you’d think mobile device management (MDM) solutions would already be in place in most organizations. After all, the threats mobile devices – both company issued and employees’ personal devices – introduce to enterprises are well documented. Still, nearly half of all businesses have yet to implement an MDM solution.

With the security of the enterprise at risk due among other things to lost and stolen devices, viruses and malware, unsecured applications, out of date software and OS patches, spam, jailbroken phones and connectivity over unsecured Wi-Fi systems, it’s critical for every IT department to deploy an MDM ASAP – and not just any MDM solution, but the right solution.

An MDM solution must provide a number of capabilities that together strengthen data and application security across your enterprise. First, you want a single, centralized MDM solution that allows you to set, monitor and enforce device policies over the air without interrupting the end-user experience. This single solution should support multiple types and brands of devices including smartphones and tablets running on iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry OS. From a single console, it should enable you to provision and decommission devices, remotely configure devices, detect unauthorized changes to those configurations and restore them to the approved settings. It should make it easy for you to ensure security by enforcing power-on passwords, encrypting on-device data, lock, wipe or reset a device that’s been out of contact with the corporate network for a pre-determined time period, and completely disable lost or stolen devices.

While mobility has the potential to place corporate enterprises at risk, mobile solutions are, nonetheless, being deployed at an accelerating rate to enable organizations to extend their reach, strengthen their customer relationships, streamline operations and drive growth. Consider a couple of examples.

Tommy Hilfiger, one of the world’s premier lifestyle brands, is using mobile technology to maintain its leadership position in the ultra-competitive fashion industry. The company has long been using SAP technology to process orders for millions of items annually around the globe. Now they’re employing SAP mobile technology to extend their core business processes to mobile devices carried by its sales people.

In the video shown above, Arne Tjalma  (VP, Information & Communications Technology at Tommy Hilfiger Europe) describes SAP Afaria as “the backbone of our mobile strategy…we are able to distribute software, configure email…wipe all the devices and set up networks.” SAP Afaria also enables the team at Tommy Hilfiger to showcase the company’s collections on lookbooks running on iPads. The bottom line is that sales people can leverage such do business anytime, anywhere, more effectively than ever.

In the next example, Keith Moody, VP and CIO of Lexmark, tells how the printing solutions and services company changed to a bring your own device (BYOD) approach to better meet the requirements of its sales employees. After studying sales, Lexmark discovered that 75% of a sales person’s time was spent on preparing for sales calls, travel and updating sales data.

Lexmark employed SAP Mobile through a rapid deployment solution to get SAP Afaria installed and running very quickly. Keith Moody explains “the functionality most critical to us is mobile device management…to identify which specific device the users have…to selectively enable those that meet our security requirements…to download profiles on the device…and to wipe the device.”

By implementing an SAP mobile solution that captured sales data in the device, and then replicated that data, Lexmark eliminated the need for salespeople to re-enter data to the system.  Sales employees’ productivity (and satisfaction) increased.

Keith Moody comments “IT doesn’t normally get positive responses, but with this approach we did.”

Let me know how you’re dealing with mobile deployment opportunities and mobile device management challenges in your organization. Post a comment!

In the meantime, you can find more in depth information on MDM solutions here:

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      Author's profile photo Joao Sousa
      Joao Sousa

      SAP is partly to blame for the low adoption, since SUP was mishandled from day. SAP failed to provide developers clear guide lines, demo systems, etc. SUP whitepaper on architecture is a mess. 50 scenarios and components, no clear recomendations.

      A wasted opportunity.

      Author's profile photo Richard Blumberg
      Richard Blumberg


      Hi! Thanks for your comment. While the blog above covers a number of products and solutions other then SUP (now SAP Mobile Platform) it sounds like you're interested in this topic. You can find a lot of background in the Developer Center including Mobile Platform trials, learning materials, and other features.

      If you'd like to be more specific about what you're looking for please e-mail me at and I will get an expert to provide feedback.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      I don't think there's a low adoption. As with any new technology, this is a process. I've seen it happen before, a couple of years with the SOA speech.

      As CIOs started getting on board with the SOA wave, it became apparent that technology alone would not solve everything. Just placing a SOAP wrapper is not SOA. The same happens with the Mobile adoption. Just throwing in MDM and a couple of isolated apps won't make for a real mobile strategy.

      SAP has worked to adapt its technology into a strategy. I do agree that it is far from perfect, but the adoption has been great, a lot of experience have been generated and overall, the path has been set.

      Judging SAP's mobile strategy purely by looking at technical documentation (or lack of) is, in my opinion, neglecting the other side of the coin.


      Author's profile photo Richard Blumberg
      Richard Blumberg

      Joao and others in the community!

      Hi! I have connected with an SAP Mobile Platform (SUP) expert, Jagdish Bansiya ( he is happy to answer any related questions.

      Also, I will reach out to you, Joao, to try for the two of you to have a call. We ("SAP") value your insights and feedback!

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Great Post!