IDC cuts forecast for mobile management software sales

Sales of mobile management software will grow at a slower pace over the next few years but will still top $2.9 billion in 2019, according to IDC's latest forecast.

The projected annual sales growth by multiple enterprise mobility management software (EMM) vendors globally will slide from last year's 27% growth rate to a projected annual increase of less than 10% in 2019, IDC said in this month's forecast.

In 2014, global revenues totaled $1.4 billion, a number expected to reach $2.92 billion in 2019. The Americas will dominate the market in all those years, IDC said.

The forecast shows that there is still strong interest in managing the influx of mobile devices and apps and content that runs on them, whether they are employee- or corporate-owned devices.

"As mobile has gone from a nice-to-have to must-have, organizations are deploying an increasing number of mobile applications and need to move from deploying basic device management technology to more sophisticated application and content management functionality," IDC analyst Stacy Crook wrote in the forecast report.

IDC separately noted the continued acceptance of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. An IDC survey of 508 U.S.-based companies found that more than 90% had employee-owned devices that were accessing corporate data. In other words, nearly every organization in the U.S. is confronting some form of BYOD in their work places, IDC said.

A recent survey by the industry trade group CompTIA found a trend toward moving away from BYOD. That survey showed 53% of 375 U.S. IT professionals in private businesses allowed no BYOD, up significantly from 34% in 2013. A policy of "no BYOD" in that survey meant that a company provides smartphones and tablets to workers and bans the use of personal devices for work.

But IDC's survey and others show there still could be a lot of BYOD practices going on, even with strong opposition by IT managers or outright bans on BYOD for access to corporate data. According to IDC, personally owned smartphones now account for the majority of devices accessing corporate data.

IDC warned that EMM growth rates and BYOD growth rates are not directly related. The adoption of EMM is influenced by various factors, and there are parts of EMM solutions from vendors that are being adopted more quickly than others.

EMM is defined by IDC as offering capabilities to securely manage devices, applications and content, which sometimes includes mobile device management software, mobile application management software and mobile content management.

IDC's forecast didn't identify or compare EMM vendors, although another analyst firm, Gartner, released a report in June comparing many of the top EMM vendors, such as AirWatch by VMware, MobileIron, IBM, Good Technology, Citrix, Soti, Microsoft, Sophos and BlackBerry. There are dozens of smaller EMM vendors.

Analyst firm J. Gold Associates separately in June estimated there were 40 million mobile devices under EMM management in the U.S., a number expected to grow to 62 million in 2017.

Analyst Jack Gold said in June that despite such growth in managed devices, the figure may not equate to increased sales for EMM vendors because many customers overbought licenses and now could be applying those licenses to their new devices.


Matt Hamblen

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