The term mobile information management (MIM) comprises two separate but related technologies: personal information management (PIM) and mobile device management. PIM applications include email, calendar, task lists, address books, and memo pads. Access to these applications is often the reason why consumers purchase mobile devices. In the corporate world, technology is available to integrate these PIM applications with corporate servers. The functionality these products provide is often referred to as PIM Sync.
As more employees use mobile devices, the task of managing them becomes increasingly difficult for IT staff. For small deployments of fewer than 30 to 40 users in a small number of locations, mobile device management software may not be a requirement, as it is possible to install and configure these devices in a reasonable amount of time. When there are more than 40 users, or when users are distributed in a vast number of geographic locations, mobile device management software can provide substantial benefits for both the deployment and management of software and devices.
Historically, these solutions were offered as separate packages, but this is changing as it becomes clear that many organizations are interested in both technologies. Many of the leading MIM vendors have incorporated device management capabilities into their PIM solutions, or PIM capabilities into their device management solutions. This trend is expected to continue as vendors look to enhance their MIM offerings.
In this chapter the PIM Sync and mobile device management technologies are addressed in separate sections in order to better focus on the capabilities that each solution provides. This also serves to point out that it is not mandatory to use both technologies together; many vendors still have strengths in one area, making it worth-while to choose a best-of-breed solution for each technology.