Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is a benign term for a complex product. It’s not easy to manage products that manage products, and it’s even harder to decide which one to choose when you’re shopping for one. The same dilemma arises when on the hunt for many other IT products, from ERP to ITSM and onwards through the alphabet soup of categories.

Analyst reports help, but a little real-world insight rounds out the picture. That’s what’s offered by¬†SoftwareReviews.com, a division of analyst firm Info-Tech Research Group. Its reviews, based on an intense survey gathering 130 data points, provide input to three reports examining various facets of a category: an overall look at vendors, customer service, and in-depth individual product reports. The site currently holds over 27,000 reviews covering 115 categories, with the goal of hitting 200 categories by July of this year. Reports have been launched for 50 categories so far, according to SoftwareReviews.com President David Piazza.

As with any review site, data quality can be an issue, so the SoftwareReviews.com team performs rigorous checking before a review’s data gets into reports, verifying the reviewer’s identity and qualifications on LinkedIn, checking that what they’re reviewing matches what’s appropriate for their position, and examining the review itself for consistency (eg: if the reviewer says a product is wonderful, then rates it poorly on all attributes, that’s a red flag). Piazza says that currently, only a quarter of reviews make the cut for inclusion in a report.

Which brings us back to EMM. The report lists 54 possibilities, but since not all have been reviewed, only discusses eight vendors (this is the first EMM report; other categories look at more vendors, as will this one as the number of reviews increases). There are two broad categories: Product Features and Satisfaction (as one would expect), and Vendor Experience and Capabilities. The more interesting one is an excruciatingly blunt assessment of the users’ emotional response to the product and vendor.

As you can see on the Quadrant and in the Category Overview, Jamf Pro topped the bulk of the ratings, with Cisco Meraki Systems Manager occupying second place. What the report doesn’t tell you is that Jamf Pro is Apple-centric, while the other products on the list are cross-platform. You need to have some knowledge of the products to make best use of the ratings.

As long as you take that into account, you can get a good picture of peoples’ satisfaction with the feature sets and vendor capabilities. In this report, the top spots are consistently Jamf Pro and Cisco Meraki, with only a few exceptions. Customers were happier with Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite and Citrix XenMobile (rated second and third, albeit by only a percentage point over fourth-rated Cisco) in the Mobile Device Management and Security section, and Cisco rated fifth, below Trend Micro Mobile Security, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, and MobileIron Enterprise Mobility Management Platform in the Mobile Productivity section. Jamf Pro only budged from top spot in three sections: Reporting (it was third, after Cisco and Microsoft), and SSO and Identity Management and Location Services, where it was second to Cisco.

The Emotional Footprint section is where most eyebrows will be raised. It measures how well vendors treat customers after the contract is signed. It asks questions like, does the vendor have a customer-first attitude, or does it look after its own interests first? Does it handle conflicts with integrity? Is it fair? Is it trustworthy? Piazza said that the opposite ends of each scale, such as “Big Fat Liar” vs “Trustworthy”, were deliberately provocative. And while purchasing decisions can’t be entirely based on emotional factors, given that most customers (90 per cent, according to Piazza) tend to renew product contracts, it makes sense to see how existing customers are treated before jumping into bed with a vendor.

Here, we see some differences. Jamf Pro slips from the top spot in multiple categories (although it is still on top overall), most prominently in the Negotiation and Contract “Over Promised” vs “Under Promised” category, where it rates a woeful sixth, with 17 per cent saying it over-promises. Cisco Meraki topped that category.

When you look at the number of vetted reviews for each product (shown on the Category Overview table), it’s easy to see that results will likely change for some of them as more reviews come in. The minimum number for inclusion in the ratings was 10, and with so few, a couple of grumpy people can drag a product down. Piazza says that once there are 30 or 40, ratings will tend to stabilize. A new EMM report containing almost 100 additional reviews and several more products will be out later this month, and by then positions may have shifted.

 



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