SOTI MobiControl Review

Enables us to push out our internal application updates quickly, resolving issues in the field

What is our primary use case?

Originally, our primary use case was to manage Windows mobile devices, Intermec ruggedized devices, and now our primary use case is iPhones.

How has it helped my organization?

It gives us the ability to manage our mobile fleets and push out updates quickly for all of our internal applications to keep the business running. We can push an app update out in minutes, if we get something from the development staff. That's really a critical feature for us. If a bug is reported, once the developers fix it, it's critical for us to get it out to the field users quickly to resolve any issues they're having that are interfering with their ability to do their jobs.

It saves us time, absolutely. If the devices weren't managed and the users had to come back into the office... I don't even know how we would push out something easier than this. In the old days, before we had these managed devices, they would have had to come into the office to get a new version of a piece of software. Fortunately, that's not the way it works now.

The solution also definitely reduces downtime. It helps us get somebody set up very quickly. We use the Apple Device Enrollment Program in conjunction with SOTI, and the ability for us to get a replacement device set up immediately and get someone who is being paid at a high hourly rate - our labor is very expensive - back out in the field, is definitely a time-saver.

When an average salary of an end user is somewhere between $60 and $80 per hour, if you can get all of their apps loaded up within minutes instead of a half hour or an hour, you can see how much that might save, multiplied by several thousand users.

What is most valuable?

The application deployment features are usually effective. Right now, that function is broken because Apple has some problem with its enterprise deployment. In general, it's very easy to push an app, to get updates out. We manage about 6,000 to 7,000 devices in it right now, and it's very easy for us to make sure that field users get their updates when they need them.

Back in Windows mobile days, SOTI was quite effective. That was one of their strengths. Unfortunately, Apple restricts most of the MDM providers to a limited set of features, so with SOTI it's more about the overall experience, the console, their willingness to jump in and help. The features that Apple does allow are device management and pushing apps.

What needs improvement?

In general, historically, communication has been the biggest challenge for SOTI. Roadmap, general account maintenance/regular discussions, all were lacking but now they are improving in these areas.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've had very few outages over the years. We had a couple of them where it was a bug that we had some trouble with but, considering the timespan that we've had the solution implemented, it's been very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is easy. It's very scalable. Other business areas that are associated with my corporation have very quickly added 400 to 500 users. When we need to add licenses and bump up our device number of accounts, it's very quick. Within 24 to 48 hours they can add capacity for us. 

How is customer service and technical support?

Like anywhere else, if you can get past the first-tier agents who are reading off a script, SOTI technical support is very good.

We've had several situations over the past couple of years. I don't remember exactly what the causes were, but once we engaged our account representation and escalated, we were able to get a very quick response. We do pay for the high-level maintenance.

Which solutions did we use previously?

This is the first MDM we ever used. At the time, Motorola resold SOTI, and so did Intermec. If you were getting a ruggedized device, you used SOTI. That's what it was for.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of the SOTI environment is easy. They do most of it for you.

We went from an on-premise to a hosted solution, and I think the setup for the hosted took about a week. It didn't take very long for them to set it up at all. It was very simple to do.

They're actually in the process of upgrading one of our environments right now, and then we are going to migrate into the upgraded environment. All of that, again, has been done very well. Their change-review process is very effective and careful. Once you get with the technical teams, it's always pretty simple.

The way that we were able to implement MobiControl was with equipment refreshes: "Here's your new device, it's got SOTI on it, you can't take it off."

What about the implementation team?

We didn't use a third-party with MobiControl. Our MDM is a standalone environment.

What was our ROI?

In terms of ROI, it's all soft costs. It's cost-avoidance, it's efficiency. There isn't really a hard ROI that you could point at. It saves us time for expensive labor representatives and in pushing out applications and updates and getting what our customers need to them quicker. We couldn't manage our mobile inventory or our mobile applications without it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is reasonable and the licensing model is very reasonable when compared to some of the competitors in the market. I can speak directly regarding Intune, which is very expensive compared to SOTI. I would recommend SOTI. I think SOTI is also more affordable than MobileIron. SOTI is well-situated in the marketplace, from a commercial standpoint. SOTI is definitely a more commercially reasonable solution than others that are out there.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Windows Mobile 6.1, at the time, which was a really long time ago. They were known as an industry leader for Windows mobile devices.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be not to do on-premise if you don't need to. Take the hosted solution, which is cheaper. Also, pay for the maintenance and the installation to get it done right, and have SOTI help you set it up.

From a performance standpoint, the difference between SOTI and someone else is really based around what Apple allows them to do. If we were using Android, we would have a fantastic and a much different experience. But unfortunately, we don't use Android. It's all on Apple. But overall, the product itself is dependable. They try to add new features all the time. We can take advantage of some of those, being Apple customers. In general, we've been happy with the SOTI.

We don't use the Lockdown or Kiosk Mode feature. We turn off the real-time location services. We're not allowed to use those because we are a union shop, and you cannot track a union technician. In terms of the admin console, my staff doesn't complain about it, so I would assume that it works well.

For our 6,000 managed devices I have about seven people who have administrative access to the environment. Most of them are frontline support, Tier 1 helpdesk, and then there's an environment administrator and an architect. It took about the same number of people to deploy it.

It's on all of our field-service user devices, so that's a significant number. I'm not adding staff in that area, so it will be pretty static for the time being.

Overall, I would rate the solution at eight out of ten. It's a very effective solution.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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