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Top 10 Best Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Software: Forrester Wave Q4 2017

Phone in the dark

Within the IT channel, enterprise mobility management (EMM) has a mixed history. Plenty of MSPs will remember the MDM (mobile device management) hype cycle -- which never really generated much revenue in the SMB sector. But up in the enterprise, EMM caught on as CIOs and business leaders raced to safeguard data on smartphones, tablets and notebooks.

But which companies are the leaders in enterprise mobility management. Answers surfaced in the The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Mobility Management, Q4 2017 report. The research firm examined 13 companies -- a three-vendor bonus beyond the Top 10 teaser in our headline. To add some context, we've identified which of the 13 companies have true channel partner programs. Here's a summary along with our partner-centric perspectives.

According to Forrester, today's top EMM products differentiate themselves from the market masses in five ways. They typically:

  1. Provide strong unified endpoint management (UEM) capabilities;
  2. Deliver additional security and management controls beyond native frameworks;
  3. Offer contextual IAM;
  4. Detect mobile threats and application risk; and
  5. Allow customers to manage Microsoft Office 365 applications

Moreover, to be considered for the report, Forrester made sure each vendor had at least $10 million in revenue and 2,000 customer deployments; at least one customer with more than 10,000 devices under management; supports both mobile and desktop endpoints, and plenty more.

The Forrester report goes into deep detail on each of those areas, so check in with the research firm for the particulars.

The Top 10 (Make that 13) Enterprise Mobility Management Companies

Now, only a sorted listing of the Forrester Wave members, along with our views on their respective channel partner programs.

13. ManageEngine

Forrester Says: ManageEngine’s Desktop Central product is a combined EMM and CMT solution that sits under the umbrella of the larger firm Zoho and is a strong solution for client management of macOS and Windows 10.
ChannelE2E's Spin: ManageEngine has longterm channel partnerships with MSPs and integrators, but perhaps isn't as well-known among smaller channel partners.

12. Ivanti

Forrester Says: Ivanti is the result of a merger between Heat Software and Landesk in January 2017. Endpoint Manager (formerly Landesk Management Suite) represents a blended agent and MDMbased approach to endpoint management. Ivanti’s client management capabilities for Windows 10 are strong and include differentiators such as malware and ransomware detection.
ChannelE2E's Spin: The former Landesk had several false starts with MSPs, but overall the partner program was accelerating ahead of the Heat Software merger that formed Ivanti.

11. Matrix42

Forrester Says: Matrix42 positions EMM and UEM as part of its larger Workspace Management suite, which includes connectors to its IT service management (ITSM), software asset management, IAM, and endpoint security solutions.
ChannelE2E's Spin: More than 3,000 customers manage approximately 3 million workstations using Matrix42 solutions -- but we don't know how many of those wins involved partners.

10. Cisco Systems

Forrester Says: Cisco’s Systems Manager is part of the larger Cisco Meraki product line, a collection of cloud-based networking and security products.
ChannelE2E Says: Watch for potential integrations and MSP-related partner moves involving Cisco's emerging partnership with ConnectWise.

9. Sophos

Forrester Says: Sophos Mobile is especially suited for security-minded small and medium-size businesses with limited technology management resources.
ChannelE2E Says: Sophos has one of the most mature MSP-centric partner programs, and has been in regular growth mode on the partner front.

8. Jamf

Forrester Says: Jamf Pro is a best-of-breed solution for managing Apple devices. It services some of the world’s largest macOS deployments and has nearly doubled its customer base in two years.
ChannelE2E Says: Vista Equity Partners acquired JamF in October 2017, and it's safe to say a more dedicated MSP and partner push is on the way.

7. Centrify

Forrester Says: Centrify was the first vendor in the EMM market to unite identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) with mobility management and continues to excel in that area. Its identity capabilities include certificate and biometric authentication, conditional access policy creation, and support for derived credentials and privileged identity management.
ChannelE2E Says: Centrify works closely with both channel partners and alliance partners -- but we don't know if the company has momentum with MSPs.

6. Citrix Systems

Forrester Says: Citrix’s Workspace product leverages XenApp and XenMobile to deliver a single solution for device and application management and delivery, including virtual Windows applications.
ChannekE2E's Spin: Citrix has sold off some assets, reorganized a bit and also refocused some products as of October 2017. The company has longstanding relationships with channel partners.

5. Microsoft

Forrester Says: Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) is a bundling of Microsoft products that includes Advanced Threat Analytics, Azure AD Premium, Azure Information Protection, Cloud App Security, Intune, and System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr).
ChannelE2E's Spin: Microsoft has regained channel credibility under current CEO Satya Nadella, but we haven't heard much about EMC down in the SMB sector... at least not yet.

4. BlackBerry

Forrester Says: BlackBerry continues to win large enterprise customers in highly regulated industries due to its secure VPN-less connectivity technology and the strong security capabilities of its proprietary container, BlackBerry Dynamics.
ChannelE2E's Spin: Take a close look at BlackBerry's partner program and you'll notice at least one key Cisco veteran (perhaps more) involved in the software-centric channel push. It's refreshing. And we hear it's working...

3. MobileIron

Forrester Says: MobileIron is a strong solution for customers with stringent security and compliance requirements.
ChannelE2E's Spin: MobileIron has a comprehensive, highly segmented partner program that spans channel partners, technology partners, service providers, carriers, and more.

2. IBM

Forrester Says: IBM’s MaaS360 acquired 4,000 new customers in 2016 and added significant capabilities for UEM, mobile security, and cognitive analytics.
ChannelE2E's Spin: In the enterprise IBM sometimes isn't the most channel friendly company. But take a close look at the MSP-driven SMB sector, and you'll see relationships with companies like Continuum.

1. VMware

Forrester Says: VMware’s Workspace ONE platform, powered by AirWatch, combines enterprise mobility management with identity and digital workspace capabilities. VMware’s product is distinct at several levels, including its broad support for traditional and emerging endpoints, such as ChromeOS and smart glasses, and its unification of virtual apps with native, SaaS, and web apps in a single enterprise app store, enabled with single sign-on (SSO).
ChannelE2E's Spin: VMware has longstanding partner relationships, but many of them are with more traditional integrators and solutions providers. The company in recent years has tried to build SMB-related MSP relationships but it remains a work in progress.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.