This opinion piece discusses why digital workspace management (DWM) platforms should be considered as an evolution of unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions.

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The ways that employees work continue to undergo significant change, influenced by new technologies and demand to embrace more hybrid working practices. Businesses face challenges in enabling this modern and mobile workforce, including those associated with improving visibility, management, and security over devices and applications that employees use to work productively. The modern workspace and employee experiences are digital-first, and organizations must embrace new ways and technologies to manage it. Digital workspace management (DWM) platforms are an evolution of unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions. DWM platforms deliver benefits not only around endpoint management but also advanced mobile security, self-remediation, employee experience, and autonomous capabilities.

Evolving unified endpoint management

Unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions now offer so much more than just endpoint management capabilities. UEM solutions have undergone an interesting evolution, especially since 2020. Vendors in this category continue to expand their solutions in delivering capabilities that move well beyond just the endpoint management foundation. This is in line with changing business priorities around workplace mobility (see Figure 1). Businesses are looking at enterprise mobility in a more strategic and broader sense. In addition to unifying how the mobile app and device ecosystems are managed and secured, businesses are increasingly focusing on new areas. These include enabling the transformation to mobile work styles, prioritizing the digital employee experience, investing in new connectivity capabilities, and supporting more employees with mobile services.

Figure 1: Workplace mobility objectives are becoming more strategic Figure 1: Workplace mobility objectives are becoming more strategic Source: Omdia

Mobility and digital workplace capabilities have become business critical and an important foundation of the broader digital infrastructures that organizations are building to optimally support a more mobile and hybrid workforce. Increasingly, the core mobile endpoint management capabilities that vendors in the product category deliver are being developed further to offer a range of new capabilities, including advanced mobile security, self-remediation, employee experience, and autonomous capabilities, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Digital workspace management platforms Figure 2: Digital workspace management platforms Source: Omdia

This enhanced set of capabilities is enabling UEM solutions to evolve into more comprehensive DWM platforms that support broader end-user compute, digital experience, security, and mobile workforce management use cases. DWM platforms are built on top of a strong UEM foundation; however, they extend these core capabilities with additional productivity, app, and endpoint management features that help businesses better empower and secure a more mobile-first workforce.

There are multiple trends and dynamics driving growth and interest in the DWM market

  • DWM platforms are a remote work foundation. As work styles become more remote and mobile-centric, DWM platforms will be a foundational management and security capability upon which modern technology infrastructures will be built. These tools will no longer just be a nice-to-have or a convenient complement to other infrastructure solutions; instead, they will become a vital piece of the enterprise architecture.
  • DWM platforms will be an important enabler of zero-trust security approaches. No single tool or practice will enable businesses to be successful in embracing zero-trust security approaches but more a combination of different and well-integrated capabilities. The device, application, and user insights delivered by DWM platforms will make them an important enabler of zero-trust for businesses of all sizes.
  • DWM is a core component of a more converged approach to business mobility. Omdia’s Mobile Convergence Model (see Further reading) details how important it is for businesses to adopt a more integrated approach to the provision and ongoing management of mobile connectivity, mobility management, and mobile productivity capabilities. Collectively, these capabilities will be important in meeting the demands of the modern worker, but they often exist in, and are managed by, different teams and in a siloed fashion. As businesses move toward a more converged business mobility approach, the broader business value of DWM solutions, especially around the critical role they play in improving the employee experience, will become better understood and help drive improved adoption.
  • The frontline workforce is mobilizing. Frontline workers are those employees that work away from centralized business functions and are often closest to the customers consuming the products and services that organizations deliver. Frontline worker roles include retail store workers, frontline health workers, customer-facing field service personnel, teachers, and emergency services personnel. Omdia estimates that frontline workers account for between 65% and 70% of the total workforce, and these workers are increasingly becoming enabled with new digital hardware and software. Mobility will be a characteristic central to this frontline worker digitalization, and DWM platforms will be an important element in securing and enabling this effort.
  • There is a greater focus on cost and tool consolidation due to the economic downturn. Recent Omdia research showed how two-thirds of businesses are reconsidering the partnerships they currently have in place with technology vendors, with financial elements and a lack of contractual flexibility being key drivers in this decision for many. The financial challenges many businesses are facing, and will continue to face, will see more organizations look for ways in which they can consolidate enterprise technology investments to reduce costs. The value of DWM solutions in enabling more modern work styles, coupled with the fact that these platforms deliver a range of compelling capabilities that have previously been delivered by different toolsets, makes them an attractive investment for businesses looking to realize new cost efficiencies.
  • Support broader business environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives. The unified and granular view across all endpoints offered by DWM platforms provides businesses with better insights into the health of the device estate. These insights then enable them to make better decisions around when new hardware may be required and gain visibility into old hardware that may need to be recycled or retired. The advanced capabilities these solutions offer also deliver safer bring-your-own-device (BYOD) enablement. This could improve employee experiences (since the computing hardware may be aligned more with their personal preferences) while also further helping businesses reduce costs associated with new hardware provisions.


Further reading

Market Fundamentals: Business Mobile Convergence (BMC) and the Future of Work (April 2023)

Asia & Oceania Future of Work Survey: 2023 Insights and Recommendations (January 2023)

Omdia Universe: Digital Workspace Management / Unified Endpoint Management Platforms, 2023 (December 2022)

Omdia’s 2022 Future of Work Survey (December 2022)

Omdia Unified Endpoint Management Market Size and Forecast – Update 2022 (September 2022)

Future of Work 2022: Hybrid Work Insights (July 2022)


Adam Holtby, Principal Analyst, Workplace Transformation