ITSM Futures: A Closer Look at Mobile and Unified Endpoint Management
July 14, 2015

Dennis Drogseth

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In my last blog, I discussed how IT service management (ITSM) roles (and rules) are becoming more operations-aware. The blog examined a number of key game-changers for ITSM, including a growing requirement for shared analytics; the rise (not the demise) of the CMDB/CMS and service modeling; cloud as both a catalyst for innovation and a resource to be managed; and support for enterprise services such as facilities and HR. I also discussed two topics, mobility and unified endpoint management, that I’d like to examine in more depth here.

Mobility is King

OK — you probably didn’t need me to tell you that mobility is critical, but let me place its growing criticality in a more specific ITSM context with a few numbers.

■ 62% of our 270 respondents viewed lifecycle mobile support as “significantly” or “completely” impacting ITSM directions.

■ Mobility is anything but one-dimensional. In fact when we got the data for how actual mobile endpoints are being used by end users and ITSM professionals, the charts looked almost identical.

- 48% of end users and 45% of IT professional usage includes tablets, iPhones, Androids, and other mobile devices.

- 26% of both end users and IT professionals are using a mix of iPhone, Android, or other similar mobile endpoints (but no tablets).

- Only 15% (of end users) and 17% (of IT professionals) say they are not yet focused on any mobile devices.

■ 63% are using mobile endpoints in support of ITSM professionals with the following top-ranked results:

- Improved responsiveness to IT service consumers

- Increased IT efficiencies and reduced OpEx costs

- Improved collaboration between the service desk and operations

■ About two-thirds of our respondents allow end users to access corporate applications via mobile endpoints. And 50% of respondents offer their end users mobile access for ITSM-related requests and other interactions. Of these last, 78% saw “meaningful” or “dramatic” improvements in service delivery.

How Unified is Unified Endpoint Management?

Mobile is, of course, part of a bigger picture when it comes to endpoints. And here, our respondents generally favored integration and unified approaches. For instance, concerning mobile management, 58% preferred an integrated application that could support device management, configuration management, and enterprise mobility. Looking at endpoints more broadly, 82% viewed a unified console for managing mobile and traditional endpoints as “important” or “essential.”

When it came to unified endpoint management, the top seven functional priorities were:

■ Understanding software usage

■ License management

■ Software distribution

■ Operating system deployment

■ Patch management

■ Inventory management

■ Security

And the Winners Were …

So, how did the "extremely successful" map more specifically to questions of endpoint management and mobile empowerment? In my last blog, I mentioned that the extremely successful were twice as likely to leverage mobile for ITSM professionals, four times more likely to offer service consumers mobile support, and twice as likely to offer users access to corporate applications through mobile.

Here are a few additional data points regarding extremely successful priorities as opposed to those who were only somewhat successful, or unsuccessful:

Those who were extremely successful were:

■ Nearly eighteen times more likely to view lifecycle support for mobile users as “completely impacting” service desk operations

■ Three times more likely to have an overarching strategy for managing endpoints

■ Three times more likely to view managing and remediating endpoint issues at the service desk as critical

■ Four times more likely to prefer a single unified console for endpoints

So as you can see, the data here strongly suggests that a more progressive focus on both mobile and endpoint management helps to put ITSM teams in the winner’s circle.

Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
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