Several years ago, at an ETMA (formerly TEMIA) conference in Atlanta, then AirWatch Chairman Alan Dabbiere was a featured speaker. While I am certainly paraphrasing here, he said something along the lines of: “we don’t have to just be the biggest in terms of market share, we have to be the biggest by a large margin; as this (MDM) will become commoditized.”
For some MDM providers, Dabbiere’s sentiment seemed to dictate their pricing plans: as the per device cost of many MDMs did decrease over time, with many folks coming to believe that MDM capabilities might simply become inherent in the devices themselves (think “BES” from the Blackberry days. Then VMWare came along, bought AirWatch, and now the list/retail price for AirWatch is around $6 per device per month. Combine this with the fact that Apple is now rolling out $1000 iPhones, and mobility appears poised for a complete rewind in terms of how it gets managed.
As America’s first trillion-dollar company, Apple’s ability to successfully sell a $1000 mobile device carries vast implications that won’t completely be understood for some time. What we can deduce here in the present is that:
- One’s wireless device is only becoming more important, not less
- An organizations willingness to shell out $1000 for a device will certainly lag behind a consumer’s willingness to do the same
- Data consumption will continue to rise
- Users will continue to incur overages if someone else is expected to pay for them (their company)
This reality will mean different things for different organizations, but it points to the enterprise need to better define their mobility strategy. Mobility is no longer just a tactical play, it is truly strategic. This is certainly not a new sentiment, but it is stated here with a bit of urgency as customer expectations are simply changing. Remember 10 years ago, when you could say, “I’m away from my desk right now, can you wait until tomorrow when I’m back in the office?” The answer is more and more likely to be “don’t worry about it, I’ll call someone else.” Mobility continues to change, with commoditization nowhere in sight.