Three Key Take-Aways from Gartner's Magic Quadrant Managed Mobility Services (MMS)
left-arrow-ico Blogs

Three Key Take-Aways from Gartner's Magic Quadrant Managed Mobility Services (MMS)

Flag Blogs , MMS


The 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Global Managed Mobility Services (MMS) has just been released. This much-anticipated document profiles fifteen top providers and explores possible challenges and opportunities that the marketplace presents. You can download the report in full, here. We’ve also distilled the essentials of the document for you below.

Gartner defines MMS as the vendor-provided IT and business process services required to plan, procure, provision, activate, manage, secure, and support mobile devices, related mobile management systems, and mobile applications. The following points should be kept in mind:

  •  Devices versus Laptops. “Devices” include smartphones, tablets, wearables, and purpose-built and embedded field service equipment. The research in this year’s Magic Quadrant applies to both corporate-liable and individual-liable (or BYOD) devices. But it does not evaluate the management of laptops or other end-user compute devices. Gartner does not currently see sufficient laptops sourced and managed together with mobile devices, although the trend for jointly managing these devices is increasing, as is the exploratory interest for joint sourcing.


  • Providers & Services: Gartner is focused on providers that take over the responsibility for device acquisition, day-to-day IT management administration, and support routines for mobile devices. For Gartner, MMS also includes business process services (such as expense management, asset management and logistics, including forward and return logistics and recycling, ordering, and provisioning) as well as help desk services.


  • MMS versus UEM & MDM Software. It’s also important to note that Gartner differentiates between MMS and the unified endpoint management (UEM) software market. The UEM “stack” (of which mobile device management [MDM] software is only one part) is categorized as a key component of MMS. In other words, Gartner sees MMS as generally consumed as bundled IT and business process services in combination with UEM software (which includes MDM software).

Three Key Takeaways

1. Unanticipated Shock: Covid’s Impact on Global Capabilities

Enterprises have long been concerned that the delivery of MMS services by service providers often fails to meet technical, commercial, and operational requirements because of inconsistent regional and global capabilities. Consequently, most enterprise requirements necessitate the sourcing and vendor management of multiple providers, or the use of third-party program management (for example, multi-sourcing service integration).

This dilemma became even more vivid with the onset of a global pandemic in early 2020. Due to unprecedented circumstances, large populations of employees rapidly shifted to home working across the world. Suddenly there was an increased logistics requirement throughout the transition, and the already challenging process of managing basic logistics (such as getting devices out to end-users) became even more complex at scale.

Unsurprisingly, Gartner reports that its inquiries are showing a growing number of multinational companies making it clear to service providers that they expect their enterprise end-users to have a “device in hand” no matter the circumstances, and that additional services should follow seamlessly. Gartner is also seeing more references regarding reverse logistics and more effective asset tracking, staging, and kitting. Driven largely by the Covid-19 pandemic and end-users’ distributed locations, a new requirement for sourcing and distributing devices across geographies emerged.

According to Gartner, this all unfolded as two general MMS themes continued to coalesce – one around sourcing and logistics, the other around full outsourcing and geographic coverage.

2. Trend Evolution: Focus on Automation and Security

Even as the exogenous shock of Covid-19 swept through the MMS market, that market continued to transform digitally. Over the past year, automation initiatives with self-service, service and support bots, as well as virtual assistance have been ongoing across the competitive landscape. This makes sense, as enterprises across industries become more agile and digitally enabled.

Indeed, Sakon notes that an October, 2020, World Economic Forum survey found that more than 80% of global firms plan to accelerate digitization of business processes and grow remote work, while up to half plan to accelerate automation. Surely productivity will increase as a result. Still, for many large organizations, it seems that MMS remains focused on effectively optimizing and tracking mobility costs or managing the device lifecycle rather than being an entry point to additional digital workplace services.

Meantime, Gartner also points out that support options in MMS have broadened to be more time-specific. As Gartner puts it, “(for example, 8/5, 12/5 or 24/7); calls only; chat only; or a combination of these.” Similarly, associated support pricing is either, “all you can use” (for a fixed price), or “all you can eat” (for all users), while some are priced at a predetermined incident rate. Overall, this means that enterprises now have more choices when it comes to what support options should be available for their users. It also seems the range of price points for MMS have widened. And pricing has become more granular, with several options to choose from, such as flat rate for a bundle or price per individual capability. Some providers have simplified their pricing (across regions, for example) or bundled pricing with other service aspects of their portfolio (such as mobile airtime).

Not coincidently, as automation and support options continued to push boundaries, more providers continued to invest in security-related capabilities in order to monitor whether device behavior diverts from the norm. This includes mobile threat defense (MTD) and prevention, as well as real-time asset tracking.

3. A Market Poised for Disruption

Clearly, enterprises of all sizes and public organizations recognize the opportunity inherent in transitioning the operations and administration of an increasingly complex mobile estate to third-party service providers. The MMS competitive landscape offers such enterprises an array of options and possibilities, even as it continues to evolve.

That market landscape is populated with providers with various “foundations,” such as TEM-based, IT service providers, carriers, or pure-plays. And while all those competitors continue to look to expand their scope or geography, TEM providers, value-added resellers, and pure-play MMS providers, in particular, continue to find it challenging to undertake a truly global requirement. Regardless of provider type, however, all must prepare to sell pure MMS deals when the appropriate opportunity presents itself. Systems integrators and carriers take a good portion of market share simply because of their geographic footprint and ability to upsell/bundle with others’ portfolio elements when relevant. Ultimately, no one specific type of provider dominates the competitive landscape or fares significantly better than the others.

It makes sense then that the 2021 Magic Quadrant features a range of providers offering increasingly robust global service capabilities. Gartner reports that some are even seeking to reposition their role entirely. Over the past year, more providers have attempted to structure offers for mobility outsourcing, with device lifecycle management services becoming more common. While some enterprises would like to explore MMS from device manufacturers, such offers are rare. Considering the variegated nature of the MMS competitive landscape, it’s hard not to conclude that opportunities for disruptive visionary providers has never been greater.

After all, such providers are more likely to have a disruptive view of mobility and its effect on the enterprise. While mobility – the emerging presentation layer of the digital enterprise – is supposed to be at the center of every organization’s digital transformation strategy, the dysfunction of today’s marketplace means the reality has fallen far short of that. As businesses strain against disconnected point solutions (i.e., help desk, logistics center, staging and kitting, break/fix, MDM platforms, TEM, etc.) they continue to seek a single secure platform where data is captured from anywhere, managed and governed within mobility source systems, and the end-user experience is simple and seamless.

Meantime, innovative providers also should have an early-mover advantage in providing project-based services, such as consulting, development, and integration. As Gartner notes, these types of visionary providers are poised to become leaders in their quadrant, often quickly, based on the creation of deeper managed services or outsourcing relationships that span tactical and strategic user requirements. Such assertions resonate with Sakon; as MMS continues to evolve, we’ve heard consistent and urgent market demands for providers that are innovating with it, providing elegant simplicity and peace of mind for clients while unifying the increasingly complex IT profile of end-users.


Please note: This blog was written by Sakon. All thoughts and opinions within the blog are our own.