Defining the New Mobile — Moving Beyond the Device

Adoption of Enterprise Mobility Management

WIRED, By Phillip Redman, Citrix – Sep 3, 2014 – Enterprise mobility has been a long sought after goal, and to date has seen success with wireless email and specialized vertical applications. For the average user though, email and web browsing defines their mobile experience. Enterprises have been holding back on mobilizing more of their apps based on a number of reasons: user experience, cost, security — to name a few. But as more companies deploy Mobile Device Management (MDM) and now Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) as part of their mobility architecture, this will drive the adoption of enterprise mobility beyond the initial stages that most organizations are today.

EMM is rapidly being adopted. According to Gartner, mobile is among the top three CIO spending priorities in 2014. A recent wave of activity — consolidation, acquisitions and IPOs — in the MDM and EMM space underscores the industry’s rapid maturation — and the new ways that organizations are now thinking about mobility. Like web browsers in the early days of the public web, MDM has moved from a category-defining solution to a utility feature of a larger, more integrated solution and the base of enterprise mobility platforms. To enable full mobile productivity, organizations now seek more complete offerings that let them flexibly leverage application and content management, secure email and productivity apps as well. On a strategic level, they now think about mobility in terms of mobile workspaces that provide access to apps, desktops, data and services anywhere, on any device, over any network — a trend with important implications for providers and customers alike.

The evolution of enterprise mobility maps to a shifting mindset among IT around mobile devices and applications. During the initial wave of enterprise mobility, IT tended to view the trend of BYOD, for example, as a problem. As consumer smartphones and tablets entered the workplace, and employees requested mobile access to corporate assets and email, IT was understandably concerned about security and manageability. The first enterprise mobility strategies were defensive in nature, allowing only a small handful of carefully managed apps for strictly limited use cases. Over time, IT had to respond effectively to a growing list of requests and requirements to prevent users from turning to unmanaged, less secure workarounds. The embrace of MDM reflected a fallback to a familiar model: IT would manage devices the same way as any other endpoint, such as a laptop or desktop computer. This did address many needs, but significant pain points remained. These challenges, and the solutions introduced to address them, have defined the current state of EMM.

Device Ownership and Privacy Complicate MDM

MDM can address many enterprise mobility use cases effectively — especially those centered on corporate devices — but questions of device ownership and privacy can limit its applicability. The blanket approach of managing the entire device as a whole can lead users to feel that IT is monitoring their personal activity as well as business usage. This can make users reluctant to use their mobile devices within the BYOD program, undermining its value.

Contractors, temp workers, partners and other third-party users pose problems for MDM as well. People might be willing to enroll their personal devices in MDM, but a contractor will be much less likely to be willing or able to enroll a personal device. IT needs a different way to provide the access to email, document sharing and specific apps these users require without requiring control of the entire device.

Focus Shifts From Managing Devices to Apps, Data and Connectivity

The diversity of enterprise mobility use cases is leading IT to take a more granular approach to management. Instead of managing devices as a whole, EMM tools allow IT to manage the mobile and SaaS apps and data they contain, as well as the transport between devices and the corporate network. In this manner, IT can apply policies selectively based on specific use cases and user personas, device ownership, vertical industry requirement, data recoverability requirements and other variables. MDM plays a role in this model, but only as one of a set of tools available to enable control and security.

Enterprise Mobility Has Gone Mainstream

Enterprise mobility has matured from basic, limited use cases, like mobile email to full mobile productivity and a broad spectrum of specialized use cases. Executives and salespeople take tablets with them in place of a laptop when they travel, and doctors use them to consult electronic medical records (EMRs) and clinical applications right from the patient’s bedside. Retail workers roam the floor providing on-the-spot inventory checks for customers, and take payments without having to return to the counter. Design and manufacturing professionals can even access high-end 3D graphics applications on their mobile devices to collaborate on complex CAD drawings. Companies today can measure both productivity and cost-savings by supporting enterprise mobility. The key to success here has been less around which platform or device to support, but identifying mobile use cases, data and creating more specialized services to get to the data that is needed, when it’s needed. It’s become all about the app (and the data inside).

It’s All About the Apps

This expansion of enterprise mobility is made possible by strategies and technologies to make any kind of app available on any kind of device. Today, mobile apps account for only about 8 percent of the applications in the enterprise; IT now needs to be able to empower people with Windows, web and SaaS applications on mobile devices as well. To be fully productive from wherever they are, users have to be able to access any type of application from their mobile workspace with equal simplicity — without even having to think about what type of application it is. A follow-me data capability is equally essential to ensure that people can access the same data wherever or on whatever device they work.

User Experience Is Paramount

In enterprise mobility as in any other part of IT, user acceptance is a major factor in the success of a technology. Vendors need to provide business-grade capabilities while offering the consumer-like experiences people are familiar with. A corporate email client can’t require people to adapt to a completely different look-and-feel from the iOS or Android they’ve been using, but it does need to offer essential business features, like the ability to add an attachment to a meeting invitation, or join a meeting right from its calendar listing.

Only a few years after its inception, enterprise mobility is now poised to fully realize its promise. By ensuring secure, on-demand access to applications, desktops, data and services anywhere, over any network, from any device — not just smartphones and tablets — organizations can empower mobile workers with the freedom and flexibility to choose how they work.

While the secure delivery of mobile workspaces relies on EMM, it also requires broader functionality for enterprise file sync and sharing, flexible application delivery, networking, and virtual windows application and desktop delivery. With the emergence of mobile workspaces, work has finally been transformed from a place where people go, to something they can do wherever and on whatever device they choose.

Phillip Redman, a former Gartner analyst, is an enterprise mobility evangelist at Citrix. Follow him at @XenMobile and @MobilePhillip.