MDM Migrations Suck Mobile Mentor


They suck for everyone!

MDM migrations suck for everyone. For the IT team who needs to spend months migrating all the users from A to B, and for leadership who need to convince everyone this is a necessary change. But most of all, MDM migrations suck for the end user who may need to do a full device wipe and enroll in a new system. What could possibly go wrong?

Preserve Trust

So, if you are planning a migration, it makes sense to get it right the first time and preserve the important trust relationship between IT and the end-users. I know of one company who migrated from AirWatch to Citrix SecureHub, then to MobileIron, and now they are migrating to Intune. That was a lot of pain and disruption over an 8-year period and I’m not sure how the IT team has managed to convince everyone to go on that journey.

License Renewal Deadline

Some of our clients are tempted to accelerate the migration process to meet a license renewal deadline so they are motivated to migrate all devices and decommission the old MDM by a specific date. Sometimes a compelling event can be really helpful, but it is risky to shorten a process that impacts the personal productivity of every user.


Scar Tissue

Mobile Mentor has assisted hundreds of clients with MDM builds, rollouts, re-builds, migrations and we have acquired some scar tissue along the way.  I’d like to share a 21-point plan to help you benefit from our experience and hopefully make the process suck a bit less for you and your company. 

  1. Assemble a team – I’ve never seen a successful migration performed by IT alone.  Do you have aerial cover from senior leadership, someone to write the comms and a project manager? 

  2. Access to everything – does the technical team have access to the legacy and new MDM and each of the device vendor portals; Apple Business Manager, Knox KME, Android Zero-Touch and APNS? 

  3. Document the use-cases – have you listed and verified the apps, policies and permissions that enable each group of users to do their respective jobs? 

  4. Review the architecture – does the new MDM design have the required integrations, certificates, app proxy / VPN tunnel configured? 

  5. Review the configuration – do the security policies, device profiles and compliance rules align with best practice? 

  6. Pre-requisites – can you get all devices to the minimum OS version to successfully run apps such as Outlook? 

  7. Device upgrades – can you reduce the migration workload by replacing some older devices?  

  8. Back-up – how will your users back-up their data if they need to perform a full device wipe? 

  9. Automation – which use-cases can be migrated with an automated workflow? 

  10. Get test devices – do you have enough devices for the engineers, UAT testers and the support team? 

  11. Testing, testing, testing – can you build test scripts that break the process and expose defects during testing? 

  12. Step-by-step guide – can your guide navigate the most cynical, grumpy and impatient user through the process? 

  13. Support options – can said user speak to someone if they get stuck midway through the process?  

  14. Mind the gap – can you help people during that terrifying moment between deleting all their data and enrolling in the new MDM? 

  15. Allow for stragglers – when will you migrate people who are on maternity leave, sabbatical and holidays? 

  16. VIPs  – can you provide onsite face-to-face support for VIPs who might have special requirements? 

  17. Support – do you have enrollment guides for each OS, knowledge base articles and a trained support team

  18. Schedule – can you plan the migration to account for busy / quiet seasons in your company? 

  19. Ramp-up – can you test the process on IT, HR, Finance before addressing your front-line resources? 

  20. Dashboard – do you have a reporting dashboard to track the number of people migrated, volume and duration of support calls and escalations? 

  21. Celebration – have you planned a party to formally close the project and thank everyone who helped to make it a success?  

Clearly this is a lot of work and requires a coordinated effort across the company with a high degree of commitment from leadership, development of migration collateral and training for support staff.  But getting it right is important to maintain trust between the users and IT.   

Hopefully this checklist is helpful, and please remember Mobile Mentor is here to help with any aspect of the migration where you need a partner to help with planning, rollout and support.  


Get a guide for your MDM Migration

MDM Migrations are stressful. You’re tasked with moving devices from one technology to another and making the entire exercise as seamless as possible. Users aren’t technical and get lost easily, senior leadership often time doesn’t understand the complexity.

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