It’s time to bust the myth of competing methodologies.

Mobile device management or MDM has been an essential tool for IT teams, helping them secure and monitor the many mobile devices making their way into the workplace. For companies determined to fully mobilize their workforce, MDM has been a foundation piece allowing a measure of control and acceptable use policy implementation.

As networks and handsets get faster and the appetite for mobile data intensifies, MDM remains an important piece of a bigger puzzle. Yet, even those enterprises with an MDM solution fully implemented struggle to limit the cost of employee mobile data consumption. The most data hungry apps and websites are fully acceptable under most company policies, or in some cases even necessary in order to work optimally. MDM can’t enforce, for example, real-time granular data consumption policies to avoid bill shock, nor is MDM suitable to optimize non-work-related usage when users are travelling domestically or incurring high variable roaming charges abroad.

That’s where solutions enabling Mobile Data Optimization or MDO come in.

Rather than replacing mobile device management, MDO complements it, adding a layer of measurement and control over individual usage that can strengthen security and the enforcement of acceptable use policies on individual devices. Whilst MDM sits within the corporate IT infrastructure, MDO can be added as an extension that sits in the cloud, deployed to user devices via a push of settings against a profile.

By directing users’ mobile web traffic via the cloud, corporate policies are applied and data compression and optimisation enabled. New devices and users can be added to the MDO service as and when needed.

Despite challenges in the MDM space, we think the combination of MDM’s control over configuration of devices and MDO’s ability to take the reins of individual app and data types in real time, makes for a holistic solution for IT and mobility managers alike.