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A modern workplace is one that enables employees to work flexibly through the use of new technologies and tools. But it is essential that businesses balance the desire for flexible and mobile working with the need to ensure enterprise security – something that has become increasingly difficult to manage, given the speed of technology change and the trend toward shadow IT and "bring your own device" (BYOD). Unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions can support organizations in striking this balance and are an attractive proposition for businesses embarking on digital workspace initiatives. A recent Ovum survey of 800 large enterprises identified a unified approach to the management of smartphones and traditional IT hardware estate as one of the most important enterprise mobility objectives of IT leaders globally.

UEM capabilities allow businesses to manage the range of devices (including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs), identities, operating systems, and apps that employees want to use in the workplace – all via a single solution, management console, and set of policies. This can deliver many benefits, including improving security and employee productivity, making endpoint and application administration and user support easier, and delivering new insights into how employees work.

A number of vendors are establishing a presence in this evolving market and will be important partners for enterprises and service providers. Ovum's newest Market Radar report, which is soon to be published, assesses the UEM capabilities of key vendors in this space, including 42Gears, BlackBerry, Cisco, Citrix, IBM, Ivanti, ManageEngine, Matrix42, Miradore, MobileIron, Sophos, Symantec, and VMware. The report analyzes a range of capabilities, both operational and technological, including endpoint and application management, security and analytics, and workplace productivity, as well as vendors' partner ecosystems, maturity, and strategy.

UEM solutions promise a lot and can deliver much value, but enterprise IT leaders find it challenging to migrate from traditional approaches to managing desktops and mobile devices to more modern approaches. New migration capabilities from vendors will help from a technology perspective, but UEM should also lead to more efficient working practices and processes. Any UEM initiative must be managed strategically and involve leaders in many parts of the organization that it affects, not just IT.

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