MDM documentation - How to manage your DHIS2 Android implementation

Dear Community,

We have just released the official documentation on Mobile Devie Management (MDM) that you can find in the docs portal: https://docs.dhis2.org/master/en/mdm/html/dhis2_android_MDM_full.html

This guide aims to help on your analysis, decision and implementation wile deploying DHIS2 in a mobile setup.

Do not hesitate to share here your experiences with different MDM solutions so they community can benefit from it. From our side we will keep updating the documentation with new solutions.

Kind regards.

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Great documentation @jaime.bosque and team. @jaime.bosque, I see you’ve made note of Ghana MOH’s/Health Service having used Miradore. A former collegaue and myself were the ones that initially set them up and worked with Miradore to lower the price, etc. We chose Miradore in conjuction with Ghana PPME team due to the ability to scale the pricing/features up and down depending on funding because we knew the project-level funding would eventually dry up. The benefit is that at the free-tier Miradore still functions and remains on the device if there is more funding available at a later date.

This was in 2018 so I am not sure if these things still apply but I have nothing but great things to say about our experience with Miradore and their operations team.

Miradore was able to easily help us install the software on the 2700 devices. In fact, they were able to send us the APK so we could work with Samsung to have the Miradore APK installed at Samsung’s factories prior to shipment to their local distributor in Ghana.

If ever anyone needs more information on how to get this done at scale, please feel free to shoot me a DM or an email at cfreeman@baosystems.com.

Hi @chase.freeman. Thanks a lot for your input.

I think the approach of choosing that specific MDM was good due to the funding constrains. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any MDM that allows App management in their free version (which is one of the main things we advise to look at while choosing one).

In the documentation we have included some MDM that could be hosted on premises and reduce considerably the cost.

Interesting report. We have been working on connecting devices with an MDM solution and initially tried a number of platforms before settling on Scalefusion. Overall, we’ve been very happy with the functionality that the platform provides.

The one thing that seems to be a real challenge isn’t the MDM platform itself. It is manufacturer/OS support for MDM in general. For example, the latest Android when running on Samsung does not support unattended remote control of devices which means we have had to leave our devices on Android 9 rather than upgrading to 10. Otherwise, we require approval when attempting to access tablets, this is impossible when we try and do it out of hours.

Having an MDM solution is extremely beneficial, especially in today’s environment where we cannot travel as easily.

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Jaime this is really great. Well done.

Chase, I am not sure the Miradore adventure in Ghana ended too well. My understanding is that it proved too expensive to sustain and that the free version hasn’t provided the functionality that they needed.

With many countries having quite large numbers of clients (I have been looking at 28000 recently), I think flat rate pricing or preferably open source is going to be the best advice for countries going forward. Having the Android team review these is really, really helpful. Looking forward to seeing this continue and maybe even getting some reviews contributed from the field.

Dear all,
I think everyone who is implementing using Android tablets had be challenged greatly by the cost of the various MDMs. For Sierra Leone, we are using ManageEngine/ZOHO corp and currently we are left with no other option but to unmanaged all the devices again. Our major fear now is when we might need to upgrade the forms how fast can it be synchronized among 1300 devices with 1000 devices more to be added.
We will be grateful if we can have a solution now which is an Open Source so that we can revert to normal operation of monitoring our devices.

Indeed @bobj there were challenges with cost. Flat rate cost seems appropriate but when countries like Ghana have variable funding timelines form various donors that don’t facilitate government to government funding then implemented have to get creative with the funds they have.

I stand by my experience with Miradore as a software solution as a positive one. I’m not plugging miradore but it was an excellent solution for the reasons I outlined above—including the scalable cost. Without getting too far into the details I would agree that it did not end well and it was not because Miradore was too expensive for the duration of the project—it was fully funded and set aside— but rather that those funds were taken and used in a way that was out of our control.
To me the issue was not cost but rather enforcement of the original programming/project goals. From the start the idea was to have miradore on every device until the end of the funding in which it would have been tiered down. This would allow for minimum effort to scale it back up to full features, even if it was to install a different MDM software on all devices.

At the time of the project we had negotiated a rate of somewhere close but not above $1.50 usd per device per month which is very expensive, yes, but at the time was one of the best rates available for the features that were around in 2017-2018. These rates were far cheaper than anything else (the alternative was fdroid which isn’t/wasn’t an MDM). @stevie and I discussed these topics in Zimbabwe at the Android academy in 2018 where the Ghana PPME team presented on the rollout in question.

My point being, @bobj is that the rollout of the Android app in Ghana did have a tough time with MDM but it wasn’t because it was a specific software or because it was too expensive but they wanted to use the money for something else after integrating an MDM into the project plan which has consequences on the project’s success when the MDM is not used as intended (monitoring the appropriate use of the devices).

Hopefully this guide can help others avoid the pitfalls we experienced. Hopefully donor programming will take a holistic and long term look a software solutions, fund them fully and enforce the contracts, rather than move money around for short term wins. Also hopefully MDM has gotten cheaper or an affordable and reliable open source alternative comes to light.

Great work again @jaime.bosque.

Thank you @chase.freeman, @Gerald_Thomas and @bobj for your input. In my opinion this document should be used as a guide on how to decide which MDM to use so every experience here is really welcome.

Hopefully we will be able to update the document with other MDM solutions and, it time allows, develop a PoC of a small project with several devices (my tests were mainly 3-4 devices) in a self-hosted solution. I think this would be the deal breaker.

In the meanwhile we keep working on making the Android App and its Settings Web App (NEW! DHIS2 Android Settings Web App version 1.0 is released) as helpful as possible for projects that face issues due to the lack of an MDM.

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Dear Jaime,
I had already installed the app in my test instance but it is asking me for a username and password. Tried those in the system and the normal default profile but none of them is working. Please can we give a summary steps of how it can be used.

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Dear Jaime,
Sorry for not taking key notice on the various minimum version requirement. It is working fine and i will try to finish the configuration.
Sorry once again.

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Perfect! Glad to hear! :slight_smile:

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