Know your mobile management system: The difference between managed mobility services (MMS) and enterprise mobility management (EMM)

By Jonathan Crowl

Mobility has driven an evolution within enterprise workplaces, and companies are better off for it. According to a report from Citrix, enterprise workers are far more flexible in where and how they do their work, with 61 percent spending at least part of their time outside the office.

It’s not as simple as bringing your smartphone with you, either. The average employee uses three different devices for work-related needs on a daily basis. Overall, enterprise device volume grew 72 percent between 2014 and 2015.

This proliferation of devices has built a large market for mobile management system solutions. Mobility services face a bright future where adoption is concerned. According to MarketsandMarkets, the market for these solutions is projected to quadruple over a five-year period, reaching $19.4 billion in revenue by 2021.

Though executive leaders may recognize the need for such solutions, they might not be familiar with the landscape of acronyms and solutions making up the mobility management market. Before making a significant investment into these solutions, it’s critical for these leaders to understand the differences between them, their benefits to an organization and how they fit into the larger trends shaping the future of mobility management.

Download Gartner report on enterprise mobility management suites

The evolution of EMM

One of the more common approaches to mobility management is enterprise mobility management (EMM). The benefits of EMM are easier to understand if you’re familiar with mobile device management (MDM), which is essentially a precursor to EMM that provided basic mobility management by provisioning devices, managing permissions and devices and providing simple analytics on the entire device environment, including the costs of managing this network.

MDM was the first major attempt to manage mobility at the enterprise level. However, EMM took the services of MDM and enhanced them to better serve evolving enterprise needs. In addition to the basic services MDM offered, EMM gave IT managers the ability to view specific applications and hardware used on individual devices, remotely manage data and content stored on the devices and oversee updates and other configuration needs for the operating systems of enterprise devices. EMM also offered more robust security than MDM, since it provided a more comprehensive approach to mobility management and gave organizations greater control over access to sensitive data.


Many companies currently use EMM to manage their mobile environments. Though EMM isn’t necessarily going away, evolving needs and mobile innovation have created a market for expanded mobility management. This has taken the form of managed mobility services (MMS).

Addressing the bigger picture through MMS

Though EMM enables the secure and efficient use of mobile devices for enterprise purposes, MMS has an even larger scope in supporting a company’s mobility. In addition to typical EMM services, MMS can be more broadly defined as all the technology, personnel, policies and process management services required to support mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, wearables and other IoT devices. MMS is particularly relevant for organizations implementing BYOD policies, since it offers the ability to scale down permissions and control to the individual device level, regulating business resources better than any other mobility management solution before it.

Download Gartner report on enterprise mobility management suites

You can implement MMS over an existing EMM solution to simplify mobile management while extending its reach and value to the organization. IT departments prefer an MMS because it makes their jobs easier when it comes to managing devices, out-of-office workers, business databases, content and everything else that affects a company’s mobility.

With an MMS, companies can build a more agile mobility strategy that increases security while streamlining management tasks. An enterprise can implement containerization techniques to increase security over the entire mobile environment, providing better protection of business data stored on personal devices. Enterprise gateways can be established to encrypt business data during transfers. Enterprises can even build their own app stores to wield better control over which apps are available to employees and to push out updates and track user data.

The combination of these services empowers enterprise mobility with the ability to make better use of mobile technology while mitigating possible security risks. If you already have an EMM solution in place, MMS can help you get more value out of your EMM, generating better ROI and opening the doors to greater revenue.

MMS and EMM may sound similar, but in reality, they are distinct services that offer unique benefits and abilities for an organization. Using these solutions together will give your enterprise mobile environment the best mobile management system possible.