If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering SOTI MobiControl, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
Plan early and give yourself enough time to plan. Make sure you know what the customer needs as soon as possible. Make sure they understand what they need as well. Test everything. That's probably the best advice I could give, even though it's common sense. We don't really use application deployment. We don't deploy the actual application itself using SOTI. The application is preinstalled on the devices. We do deploy certain configuration files. We also don't use the real-time location services. I wouldn't say MobiControl has reduced device downtime, it's just made it easier to configure the devices. We have about 40 factories where we're using it. That is probably going to double over the next two years. I'm the main administrator for the solution, and we have a local admin at each site or group of sites. They have fewer admin responsibilities, but they have admin over their particular sites, their particular folders and devices. I have control over everything. My counterpart in logistics has been using SOTI for a long time, so I lean on him a little bit for his expertise. So it's really two guys who support the system.
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.
Make sure to see if all the features meet your criteria. That is really the only thing that varies between MDMs, the features. We don't use the Lockdown Kiosk Mode feature of the solution. I actually created our own version of the lockdown kiosk feature because we needed more control than what SOTI can provide. We don't use the real-time location services since we are corporate and everything is local. We don't need to see where devices are geolocated. As for the admin console, it could be better but it's not bad; we're running a slightly older version of SOTI. The device users are store-associates. The staff for deployment and maintenance of the solution are just two individuals, myself and another engineer. We handle the whole system. I would rate SOTI at eight out ten. Honestly, there's no product out there that I would ever give a ten, because every product has nuances and issues. My rating of SOTI is more along the lines of the need for them to keep enhancing it and making it a better product, making it easier to use. Most organizations are looking for a more-or-less automated solution that can run and maintain itself, rather than needing a lot of man-hours.
My advice would depend on which version you're buying. If you're buying the standalone and you're running into the same problems that I have, then stay away. But if the cloud version is working, fine. We were told that the standalone is exactly the same as the cloud version but I am not seeing that. The Kiosk mode has only allowed me to do one app and I have too many apps for that. I really haven't used the share mode very much. Their technicians used it and it was neat to see. I don't use the real-time location services that much because if the person's iPad is not unlocked, it doesn't register. That's a limitation for every MDM because Apple doesn't allow them to have that control. The solution hasn't helped me with downtime. I have three devices that I have no apps on them and I can't give them back to my executives without the apps on them. The downtime on those three has been some days. I have about 100 devices that I want to put on it. Their users' roles are field techs that are out in the field talking to our retailers and then there are our executives. We don't have any plans on increasing it because there's no need for more devices in our company. I'm the only one who is deploying it. Right now I'm pretty frustrated with them, so I'm rating it a four out of ten. They can make it up to me by giving me a single point of contact until I am up and running smoothly. I have two cases right now and I have two different technicians on it. That doesn't make sense.
You can have the solution in-house or you can have the solution on the cloud, managed by SOTI. Evaluate your needs. There are advantages to having SOTI managing it for you. That's something to look at. You definitely require some training and understanding of the management platform. That's part of the deployment, especially if you use certain features, like lockdown screens which require some configuration and setup. SOTI can provide support to evaluate this. They help you with certain deployment aspects and training on the solution. We may look at the real-time location services from time to time, but part of our own software on the cellphone gives us tracking through GPS. So this feature from Soti is not something that is necessary. It's not critical to our use case of SOTI. Another thing that is important is knowing very well the types of devices that you have and making sure that they are supported by SOTI. If you use older devices or devices that have been on the market a while, that should be okay. If you're planning to have a lot of new devices, and if you're changing devices very frequently, make sure they're supported by SOTI. Also, if you use an unknown device brand, that could be problematic. We are in the security industry. While you probably you use an iPhone or a Samsung or some well-known brand, in certain industries, like ours, there are specialized phones. You may have phones that are made especially waterproof or that you can drop. They've been "ruggedized," made to work in difficult environments. Those phones may be from brands you've never heard of. If all your phones are from unknown brands, you have to make sure they are supported by SOTI. Generally they are, but you have to do your due diligence between your inventory and what SOTI supports. For administration of the solution, we have a small team of five people. Because we are hosting the solution ourselves - we have and manage the servers - it's our responsibility. We have two sys admins who maintain and administer the solution. We are growing every month. We are adding hundreds of licenses every month. I would rate SOTI at seven out of ten. It's a good product, very stable. There's some stuff that they could improve and I think they are improving it.
Make sure you can gather your equipment and thoroughly test the configuration before you start rolling out. We use the remote control technology and screen sharing features for both Android and IOS. At my location, we are using it more for Windows, while some of the other sites are using it for Android. There have not been any complaints or any concerns, they've been working well. I don't know that it's reduced device downtime, as of yet. We're relatively new using it. We also lock down units and that has also been working fine. We do not have the location services on at this point in time, with our configuration. We will be increasing usage of SOTI when we bring on the new DC site that we're planning to put up in the middle of next year. I can't say it's been a cost-savings. It's been more of an update solution, for us.
Since being introduced to SOTI, I've become that guy in our company who helps recommend these solutions. I've been to transportation conferences where I'm being asked, “What are you guys doing? How are you managing this?” and I tell them about SOTI. I say, "Look, you need to look into this company, you need to look into this MDM." I recommend it to just about everybody who talks to us about it, especially when they start describing the issues they've seen. It's easily manageable. You don't need a computer science degree to run it. You have support through SOTI and a Help document that's very thorough. There's a lot more competition than there was at the beginning, so we do hear from competitors trying to steal us away or move us around. We're very comfortable with SOTI right now. I don't see any reasons to leave. There haven't been any game-changers here where we've said, "Oh my gosh! I can't believe SOTI's doing this now." It's been great. There are just two of us who are admins for SOTI. We probably have 30 to 40 users who are in and out of SOTI per day. The two of us provide the maintenance and the admin level functions. In the field, for our local divisions, we have what we call our local SOTI expert. We like to have at least one at a location, it depends on the size. If we have hundreds of devices deployed at a division, it's good to have two or three folks there who can help us. Our maintenance staff, our actual maintenance technicians, aren't too involved with SOTI. They know how to enroll a device, how to reset a device, that sort of thing. I feel like we're probably using about 10 or 20 percent of its full features. There is a lot of functionality that we haven't touched on and a lot of functionality that we don't need. There are definitely more existing features that I could use, but it's a matter of the time and resources.
I would say go for it, if you need to manage and track devices, it's the way to go. In our company, I and two engineers utilize SOTI. I am our project coordinator and there is our lead software engineer. The two of us handle maintenance and deployment. The third user is our VP of engineering. I use it on a daily basis. We bought it directly from SOTI. If I were to rate the solution from one to ten, I would give it a nine. It's not a ten because of the things that I mentioned above. But SOTI has been efficient and responsive enough to allow me to do my day-to-day functions without needing much assistance. The ten would be if they added the chat feature, if they had the SIM card and the cellular working together. Then I would definitely give SOTI a ten. In our company, we have a net promoter score, with the promoters, the detractors, and the passives. I definitely am a promoter for SOTI. I would not be a passive. But if SOTI is able to fix some of those features that would be fantastic.
When you get customer service tied in with a reasonably-priced service and product, there really is no other reason to go anywhere else. At this point in time, I would give it a ten out of ten. The reason I say that is because it's not just the software, not only the stability of the software, but it's the customer service. You get somebody on the line and you're not waiting 40 minutes. Call Oracle once and see how fast you get somebody. I'll give it a ten in my world because, when I call and reach out to support, or if I call to reach out to my technical rep, or if I call and reach out to my account manager, I get a response. I may leave a message, but he'll call within a couple of hours. I always get an answer very quickly. They have automated voice menuing but it's not eight layers deep, and each layer's not ten layers of options. It's quite refreshing.
My advice is that SOTI is not a good choice for a BYOD solution. Furthermore, the solution needs to add a software container.
I give it a ten out of ten because it does what we need it to do. The support is there. And even though certain items are now end-of-life, the support is still there. They're fully aware of letting us know ahead of time if there will be no more engineering behind a particular product. And even if there is no more development on that product, they still support the product for us.