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An unbiased review of the top MDM (Mobile Device Management) providers

September 29, 2017

MDM Comparison

At a certain point, all MDM solutions become more or less identical, this is due to the fact that ALL MDM solutions are bound by the API's that Phone manufacturer's use. Due to this fact, the decision between major players in the MDM space comes down to three major components, price, usability & support. Pricing varies widely for each solution as each comes with packages varying in increasing functionality (Base MDM, MDM+Enterprise Integration, Full Suite).

MAAS360 vs AirWatch vs MobileIron

The three largest paid, subscription-based MDM providers in today's market are IBM's MAAS360, VMware's Airwatch and MobileIron.

All solutions offer a nearly identical feature set.

  • On-Premises & SAAS Deployments
  • Management of ALL Mobile Device makes & models including Desktops & Laptops
  • Integration with Active Directory for Authentication
  • Deployment of iOS & Android applications to an "Application Catalog"
  • Integration of Apple's VPP (Volume Purchase Program)
  • Connectivity to enterprise applications (SharePoint, SMB, etc)
  • Pricing per device per year (AirWatch: $51-$110 *25 minimum, MAAS360: $44-$85 *no minimum, MobileIron $75-$105 *100 minimum)

The general consensus from the unbiased users trialing all three solutions is that MAAS360 is cheapest, has better support as well as an easier to use interface, and is the only one that can control Linux based desktops. There are equally happy customers with all solutions, none of which has any specific feature that would cause any other to come out ahead.

Meraki Systems Manager

This free solution from Cisco provides virtually the same features as the biggest players in the MDM marketplace.

  • SAAS Deployments only
  • Management of iOS, Android, OSX &Windows devices (No Linux, Blackberry or Windows Mobile)
  • Integration with Active Directory for Authentication
  • Deployment of iOS & Android applications to an "Application Catalog"
  • Integration of Apple's VPP (Volume Purchase Program)
  • No enterprise application integration for Mobile (SharePoint, SMB)
  • Pricing – FREE

The general consensus from the end user community regarding Meraki Systems Manager is extremely positive. Meraki Systems Manager has become the go-to choice for MDM solutions for nonprofit, education, and price-conscious companies looking for a feature-rich solution without the high price tag. 

Microsoft SCCM 2012 R2 /w Windows inTune 

Microsoft now includes integration between SCCM 2012 R2 & Windows inTune subscriptions to help manage mobile devices all from the centralized SCCM 2012 R2 Console. The general feel from the end user community regarding this package is that it's not a true "MDM" solution, but rather some clever integration with existing products to accomplish an MDM-like goal. The features compared to the rest are relatively the same, however, its usability is complex compared to the other web-based solutions.

  • Windows inTune subscription required
  • SCCM 2012 R2 on-premises infrastructure required *Licenses included
  • Management of iOS, Android, Windows Phone, RT, Desktops, and Laptops
  • Integration with Active Directory for Authentication
  • Deployment of iOS & Android applications to an "Application Catalog"
  • No enterprise application integration for Mobile (SharePoint, SMB)
  • No integration of Apple's VPP (Volume Purchase Program)
  • Pricing per device per year ($72, $132 /w SA)

Windows inTune in conjunction with SCCM 2012 R2 gives you an MDM solution utilizing your existing SCCM 2012 R2 infrastructure. All management of devices and policies can take place in the existing SCCM console for a truly unified "single console" solution. 

Unfortunately, the cost is quite high when including SA, and there's currently no support for integration into Apple's VPP (Volume Purchase Program). This means deployment of pre-paid iOS applications or revoking of iOS application licenses is not supported through SCCM 2012 R2 and inTune.

Summary

The MDM solutions listed above is by no means a complete list and is provided solely based on unbiased feedback from end users as well as input from customers inquiring about possible solutions. As stated earlier in this article, most enterprise based MDM solutions provide the same feature set, limited by the actual device API's. Usability, pricing, and support should encompass the most weight in your decision to choose an MDM provider that best fits the needs of your business.

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About Softlanding

Softlanding helps organizations be their best by providing technology solutions and services that make them more productive. Softlanding specializes in Microsoft enterprise technology platforms, leveraging a combination of cloud, on-premises, and hybrid configurations to increase productivity from the data center on out to end business users. Areas of specialty include end-to-end SharePoint services, Microsoft Enterprise Infrastructure and Managed IT Services.

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