Apple's record Q2 2012 results, announced today, contain these two stunning figures: Apple sold 35 million iPhones and nearly 12 million iPads during its Q2 ended March 31, 2012. That's 47 million new mobile devices running Apple iOS -- the latest wake-up call to MSPs that are still evaluating mobile device management (MDM) strategies. Here are some potential ways to get started with MDM.

I'm not suggesting MDM and its sister opportunity (mobile application management, MAM) are easy sells or extremely lucrative. I realize many MSPs are scratching their heads as they try to justify charging customers for MDM and MAM services.

But the fact is: Most MSPs already offer mobile device support without any formalized service offerings in place. So you might as well start charging for phantom, time-consuming services you're otherwise giving away.

Five Places to Start

How? I keep going back to Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management-oriented services. Gartner says true MDM platforms need to offer:
  1. Software Distribution — The ability to manage and support mobile application including deploy, install, update, delete or block.
  2. Policy Management — Development, control and operations of enterprise mobile policy.
  3. Inventory Management — Beyond basic inventory management, this includes provisioning and support.
  4. Security Management — The enforcement of standard device security, authentication and encryption.
  5. Service Management — Rating of telecom services.
Instead of telling your customers you will offer "proactive" support for tablets, describe your services using the five capabilities above. Or stated in simple terms:
  • In my case, I'd never pay for someone a monthly fee to troubleshoot my iPad -- because it never really breaks.
  • But if someone explained to me how their MDM services manage my company's app distributions, mobile policies, provisioning, security and network connectivity, I'd be inclined to listen to the sales pitch...