08/20/2015

How Apple and IBM are Changing the Face of Enterprise IT

A Continuing Partnership

Over the course of the past decade, Apple has come to epitomize the consumer side of technology, from the iconic iPhone to the Mac, which has made significant progress against the once-ubiquitous PC. In the enterprise, however, Microsoft’s legacy as the de facto OS for business remains a significant barrier that Apple continues to chip away at by virtue of its massive consumer appeal. Under CEO Tim Cook’s stewardship, there has been a notable shift to prioritizing the OS enterprise – take, for example, the partnership with onetime rival IBM in July of last year. Following the acquisition of EMM vendor Fiberlink, IBM has continued to enhance its enterprise mobility portfolio. Since announcing its partnership with Apple, the firm has been able to develop strategic and vertical-specific mobile applications for its clients while continuing to pursue its unified endpoint management initiatives by becoming more expert in managing both Apple’s mobile OS (iOS) and desktop OS (OS X).

Capitalizing on an increasingly Apple-friendly work environment

At face value, Apple’s products appear to be designed with the consumer squarely in mind, rather than the enterprise. However, with each successive OS update, key security and IT-friendly administration features continue to improve the company’s security posture, and have led to the expanded use of Apple products in business settings. In fact, IBM has been deploying iPads to its sales force since 2014, and has seen the number of Apple devices (iPads, MacBooks and iPhones) under management expand to 110,000 through the Mac@IBM program. The company expects the number of internal MacBook deployments to grow and is taking what it has learned from the experience to the enterprise market. Through its Mac at Work service offering, IBM will begin to support large scale Mac deployments as a managed service. (The company had been providing this service on a custom-basis for some time, but only recently extended the offering to all companies as a standardized service.) While PCs will remain dominant in the enterprise space for the foreseeable future, IBM recognizes that Macs are gaining traction in the enterprise, particularly among those now entering the workforce. As a result, not only will the demand for Macs in the enterprise grow, but tools to ease the process of deployment and management will be required. IBM has wisely partnered with JAMF Software for its Mac at Work offering, as JAMF’s Casper Suite is a widely used solution automating the deployment and configuration of OS X and iOS devices.

The Enterprise is Microsoft’s to Lose

IBM’s partnership could help Apple increase its presence in the enterprise beyond the mobile space to become a truly viable business OS. However, the recent release of Windows 10 could sap some of Apple’s momentum, since Microsoft’s next-generation OS has the potential to shore up its PC business while expanding its mobile presence. Beyond bringing back the Start button, the new OS allows applications to run seamlessly on all Windows devices, a capability that Apple has still not incorporated despite the similarity of iOS and OS X. The benefits of such compatibility from an enterprise perspective remain fairly ambiguous, as PCs tend to be used in a more isolated manner. However, the move could make mobile devices (especially tablets, given their larger screen size) more capable of handling business tasks. Furthermore, both Windows 10 and the growing role of Macs in the enterprise have implications for the endpoint management market tasked with managing the growing number of heterogeneous devices and operating systems used in businesses today.

The fact that IBM and Apple continue to expand their partnership is notable, and it places considerable pressure on Microsoft to evolve its enterprise mobility strategy – particularly its unified endpoint management products (SCCM and Intune) and Visual Studio tools for mobile application development tools. As the divide between consumer and enterprise becomes less and less distinct, the power of partnerships like that of IBM and Apple grow in significance. The days of Microsoft as the lone enterprise juggernaut are over, and the market – both partners and competition alike – is taking notice.

With Matthew Hopkins, Research Associate 

08/14/2015

Samsung Unpacks Potential with Samsung Pay and Note 5

Yesterday, the heads of Samsung took to the stage at Lincoln Center in New York to announce its latest devices – the S6 edge+ and the Note 5, as well as the release of its new payment system, Samsung Pay.  With the advent of the iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung has had to work harder to differentiate its product beyond being the default Android counterpart to Apple. The Note 5 manages to accomplish this handily with the newest iteration of the S-Pen, which provides substantive enterprise functionality. The Edge +, on the other hand, relies more on aesthetics diversity, as the functionality of the edge, while somewhat improved over the original S6 with the introduction of app shortcuts, remains limited and somewhat uninspiring. Although many reviewers have focused on the incremental nature of the developments of the devices and how they fare compared to the iPhone 6 Plus, the larger, more compelling story for VDC is the potential for Samsung Pay to dominate the mobile payment market and the continued evolution of Samsung into a much more enterprise-focused OEM. 

The potential for Samsung Pay’s “Universal Availability”

Originally announced at Mobile World Congress, Samsung Pay emerged once again to take a prominent role in yesterday’s Unpacked event, complete with launch dates for the US and Korea. While Apple Pay succeeded in raising the general public’s awareness to NFC payment capabilities, its impact on retail has been limited to date. Despite steadily growing numbers, access to NFC-enabled payment terminals has been limited to a select group of partners and has encountered considerable opposition from major retailers, notably the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which includes major chains like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Dunkin’ Donuts – forcing retailers like CVS to back down from unofficial support of Apple Pay following its announcement.  In the aftermath of the initial dust-up, NFC payments have gained ground, but are far from mainstream at this point. Samsung Pay, on the other hand, nimbly sidesteps many of these issues from through technology it gained from its acquisition of Loop Pay in February of this year, which can be used with both NFC and traditional mag-stripe devices. As a result, Samsung Pay can be used with nearly all devices capable of taking credit card payments (including smaller peripheral devices like Square), giving the payment system tremendous reach and potential for widespread adoption. Samsung has further upped the ante by partnering not only with major credit card providers, but also enabling store-branded credit card, membership cards and gift cards, bringing the idea of a truly digital wallet that much closer to reality. With its backwards-compatibility to traditional payment systems, Samsung Pay is poised to leapfrog Apple Pay to dominate the growing digital payment market, providing Samsung’s flagship devices a much-need element of differentiation.

Balancing enterprise-readiness with consumer appeal

The delicate act of balancing a much more enterprise-focused device with consumer desires was clearly visible at the Unpacked event, where much of the attention centered on the new devices’ media capabilities, like its improved VDIS for video stabilization, and the introduction of Live Broadcast, which competes with real-time video streaming companies like Periscope and Meerkat.  Although both devices feature enterprise-ready capabilities (like the integration of KNOX on all flagship devices) and the use of SideSync 4.0, it is the Note 5 that stands out as Samsung’s Flagship enterprise device. The Note series, more than other series, is designed with enterprise at the forefront, given its emphasis on multitasking and the use of stylus with the integration of the S-Pen. In addition to the ability to sign and print documents on the Note 5, BlackBerry’s aesthetics appear to have rubbed off on Samsung, as the company unveiled its first-ever physical keyboard accessory, which attaches to the screen to facilitate data entry.

Following the showmanship of the main event, it was the later, smaller B2B event that revealed the extent to which Samsung has devoted its attention to the enterprise. Despite the relative lack of fanfare, EVPs Injon Rhee (Enterprise Business Team) and Joe Stinziano (Samsung Business) discussed the strides made with the integration of KNOX 2.5, which further enhances the security elements of 2.0 from a carrier and IT management standpoint, to the Edge+ and the Note 5. KNOX, as Stinziano emphasized, remains their dedicated brand and its identity is built squarely around the enterprise and, when used in conjunction with Samsung Business seeks to provide end-to-end mobility solutions and security. As he aptly noted, having a smartphone is increasingly an indispensible element of mobility.  Samsung also emphasized its partnership with Red Hat, which helps to provide industry-specific applications and mobile solutions. The latter is an important step for Samsung as it looks to counter the much-touted partnership between Apple and IBM’s MobileFirst which was announced last summer.  With demand for consumer devices cooling, the pressure is on – not just for Samsung, but for the entire smartphone market to provide enterprise-grade, IT-friendly devices that also have consumer appeal.

The potential for Samsung to go from enterprise-grade to mission critical

With the rugged handheld market only now emerging from a protracted period of uncertainty, there is considerable opportunity for consumer-grade devices, particularly when complemented by a full suite of enterprise services and industry-specific know-how. The lack of success from the launch of Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld as the next generation Windows OS opened the door for Android and Apple alike, as many decision makers have opted to postpone refresh cycles and are evaluating less traditional options, including consumer grade devices. Most rugged OEMs have been quick to fill the gap with smartphone-like handheld devices that feature Android, but there has been a notable degree of erosion in favor of consumer devices. This, when paired with the green field opportunities of smaller organizations mobilizing for the first time presents a tremendous opportunity for companies like Samsung and Apple, which can capitalize on decision-makers’ and end-users’ familiarity with the devices and UI. To do so successfully, however, requires a level of dedication to the enterprise that goes beyond hardware to include services and industry-specific expertise and applications. VDC will be taking a more in-depth look at what this means for Samsung in our upcoming VDC View. 

08/11/2015

Zebra Ups OS Migration Ante with ITR Mobility/iFactr Acquisition

Zebra announced its Q2 2015 results today. Although the top line results mostly were in line or slightly beat expectations, the same cannot be said of EPS which significantly missed expectations. The gross margin hit was explained by various non-recurring events such as the cost of re-branding. However, looking a little closer, the numbers are also suggestive of a change to business mix with a larger share of revenues being derived from Tier 1 deals which inherently carry lower margins when compared to the run-rate or channel business. Put another way, the run rate business is showing signs of weakness. A lot of time during the Q&A on the earnings call today was dedicated towards the state of Zebra’s mobility opportunity and their customer’s migration from legacy Windows platforms (Windows Mobile/Windows CE) to Android, iOS and potentially/eventually Windows 10. With an installed base of almost 15 million rugged mobile devices that will require upgrading prior to the 2020 support deadline, this represents both a massive challenge AND opportunity for vendors like Zebra and its peers moving forward. However, given these solutions are tied to work flows that are critical to an enterprise’s operations it is not a decision organizations are taking lightly (or in some cases are waiting to the absolute last possible moment to deal with it). Given that a large share of Zebra’s business is in essence “upgrade” or “brown-field” opportunities this makes it especially challenging and confounding from an operational perspective.

 With a vested interest to accelerate the decision process, Zebra has been aggressively expanding its software portfolio to support its customers and partners with their migration efforts. Although Zebra remains OS agnostic, with no current viable Microsoft alternative this has meant focusing on Android. With the many challenges – real and perceived – facing enterprise decision makers about the stability of Android as a platform for its business critical applications this has been a tough sell. To its credit Zebra has recorded some significant recent momentum and major wins with Home Depot (2014) and Royal Mail (2015) delivering substantial legitimacy to its Android efforts. Moreover, among its direct peers, Zebra is the clear Android leader and increasingly embracing the more open approach to development that this platform promotes.  However, Zebra’s early Android wins have been concentrated among large accounts with run rate traction of Android devices in the channel still limited (especially in North America and for warehouse applications). According to research VDC is currently fielding, approximately 22% of respondents with existing Windows Mobile/CE solutions are migrating to Android, another 20% plan to remain with Windows and leverage Windows 10, 10% indicate a transition to Apple/iOS devices and the balance (48%) undecided and taking a wait and see approach.

The key to Zebra’s success will invariably be tied to its ability to enable partners with the appropriate tools and services to support migration efforts. This clearly influenced their recent decision to acquire ITR Mobility and its iFactr platform.  A challenge for them – and something they encountered with other SW investments – is encouraging partners to leverage these tools without them feeling forced to do so.  Zebra also needs to mindful of striking a balance to maintain its ‘partner-first’ model without crossing the traditional ‘partner domain’ threshold. In addition, with much of the market still undecided on their OS direction, Zebra needs to be sensitive to and counter the perception among partners that their roadmap does not include a Microsoft option.

That does not take away from the growing reality that a significant number of legacy solutions will need to be modernized and applications recoded – irrespective of the final OS destination.  The trick will be doing this without substantially disrupting current operations and in a manageable time-frame. In addition – and this is really the counter to postponing decisions – is that virtually all the enterprises going down this path that VDC has spoken with is taking this opportunity NOT ONLY to leverage the capabilities of modern mobile devices in their updated applications BUT ALSO to take the opportunity to refine and often revise their mobile workflows to drive even greater efficiency, enhance customer engagement and further transform their businesses.   

However, hearing of mobile development budgets in the tens of millions of dollars and time-frames exceeding three years to update 20 existing apps (only to reach functional app performance parity) has decision makers understandably tentative.  What the iFactr solution is designed to provide organizations with is a more manageable transition from legacy to updated applications. The iFactr app virtualization solution enables organizations to seamlessly achieve functional app parity of legacy apps on a modern platform relatively quickly with the opportunity to incrementally add new functionality while reusing upwards of 80% of existing code. Claims that the benefits of the iFactr solution can only be realized with well-coded applications were refuted by the iFactr team who acknowledged that while this may have previously been the case it has completed been addressed by their recently released virtualization solutions. While no silver bullet exists that addresses this very real issue – and enterprises and their partners will take various approaches to navigate this transition – capable and viable approaches exist today.

As mentioned by Zebra executives on their earnings call, this current OS migration represents a significant “jump ball” for the rugged mobile market. VDC will be dedicating significant research resources into legacy application migration and modernization best practices. Please reach out to us to share your opinions. Eric Klein, our Director of Mobile Software research will also be hosting a round-table discussion on this topic at the upcoming M│Enterprise event in Boston this fall. Please also reach out for more information about this exciting event. 

07/31/2015

Split-Billing Heating Up

A Growing Importance

Split-billing, the process by which mobile phone charges are divided based on certain criteria and paid separately by the employee and employer, is a capability that is increasingly attractive due to consumerization trends. Companies providing mobile solutions to employees face a growing challenge in identifying and separating corporate and personal use; this is especially difficult in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) or corporate-owned, privately enabled (COPE) environment. The issue remains divisive, with some employers expecting employees to pay for all mobile use—both corporate and personal—while others have implemented stipends, corporate phone plans, or reimbursements for corporate use. All of these methods have evident drawbacks, often forcing either the employee or employer to pay a disproportionate amount of the mobile costs. This issue became even more relevant in August of 2014 when the California Court of Appeals decided in Colin Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. that if employees must use their cell phone for work-related calls, then they must be reimbursed a reasonable portion of their cell phone bill. Under this ruling, companies in California will need to implement a strategy for reimbursement if they have employees using mobile devices for business purposes; failure to do so could result in costly litigation.

While California Labor Code Section 2802 may be unique in its wording and differ from labor codes in other states (with the possible exception being Massachusetts), the ruling could set a precedent that will entail a more national focus. In this vein, VDC urges companies who are moving forward in implementing BYOD policies to develop defensible ways to reimburse their employees. Unfortunately, split-billing technology by and large does not adequately address the needs of companies; however, some vendors have made significant progress in developing solutions that will solve employer mobile billing headaches.

Solutions Remain Few and Far Between

VDC Research has identified seven key players in the split-billing space and analyzed their solutions to determine which vendors will likely have the most success going forward.

  • AT&T: The company's attempts to develop a split-billing solution have come in fits and starts. While AT&T’s Toggle solution has continued to evolve along with the company’s AT&T Work platform, the company has yet to deliver a fully functional product (thus far).
  • BlackBerry: The acquisition of Movirtu in 2014 gave BlackBerry the technology to develop its WorkLife solution which elegantly separates voice, SMS, and data. (Samsung is also participating in this market via its partnership with BlackBerry).
  • Good Technology: By acquiring Macheen last October, Good has been able to quickly build a split billing solution that separates corporate app data usage from personal activity.
  • Movius: The company’s CAFÉ (Communications Applications Framework Engine) platform enables service providers with a means of quickly deploying applications to complement their core functionality of enabling users to have separate personas and different phone numbers for voice, messaging, and data (Movius has partnered with virtualization specialist Cellrox for this capability).
  • Mast Mobile: The company leverages Oracle’s billing and revenue management solution to provide a unique and comprehensive solution that allows an employer to implement split-billing for voice, messaging, and data. Founded in 2013, Mast is a young company and is quickly evolving its solution to include stronger enterprise-grade features.
  • OpenPeak: The company recently secured a patent in January for its split-billing technology. The technology enables companies to pay separately for data used through secure or enterprise applications in a container. OpenPeak white-labels this technology to AT&T.
  • Syntonic: Like Mast, Syntonic is also a young company (founded in 2013). The company’s DataFlex platform provides core split-billing and data usage analytics capabilities.

Foreseeable Change in the Near Future

As BYOD and COPE trends continue to grow and companies evolve their mobile initiatives and implement new applications, VDC expects demand for split-billing solutions to increase. Enterprises have struggled to catch up to mobile technology and have focused primarily on ensuring the security of their data and finding use cases for the technology both in terms of increasing consumer engagement and improving employee productivity. The issue of paying employees for their mobile phone use has been largely overlooked, with many companies hoping to avoid the conversation altogether. However, with California’s court decision setting a strong precedent, this period of blissful ignorance is quickly drawing to a close.

Unfortunately, the solutions available to companies to effectively identify and split personal and corporate mobile use remain slim and incomplete. This is due largely to the heterogeneous nature of mobile devices and their operating systems, as well as the need to work with both the organization and telecommunications providers. Consequently, vendors in this space have developed unique technologies that offer vastly different experiences and varying levels of split-billing competency.

The vendors, broadly categorized, fall into three categories: EMM providers, telecommunications providers, and split-billing-first providers. Firms that fall into the first two categories have largely either partnered with other companies with split-billing capabilities or acquired smaller firms with the technology to provide the solution. Predictably, split-billing-focused firms, while small, have had the most innovative solutions and have become acquisition targets for larger EMM and telecommunications providers looking to expand their offerings to compete with other firms who have developed the technology. VDC sees Mast Mobile and Movius as the best near-term targets for acquisition, given their comprehensive solutions, small size, and innovative technology. There is a broad range of vendors that that could fill the role of suitor, including Citrix, Microsoft, IBM, and VMware would all benefit by acquiring a split-billing solution as the capability would expand and complement these firms' mobile solution range. VDC expects rapid growth and consolidation in this small segment of the enterprise mobility market as companies look to further expand mobile initiatives while reigning in the costs.

VDC will take a deeper look at these trends in an upcoming VDC View. 

With Eric Klein and Kathryn Nassberg

 *Correction (8/10/15): This post was revised to note Movius' ability to provide split-billing services for data as well as voice and messaging. 

07/28/2015

No Margin for Error for Windows 10

All eyes are on Microsoft with tomorrow’s much-anticipated and written-about release of Windows 10. This next generation of Windows could prove a key turning point for the rugged market – and the rugged handheld market in particular, which has seen fluctuating demand in recent years due in large part to OS uncertainty following the lack of success with Windows 8.1. The launch of Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld as a successor to the popular but aging Windows CE and 6.x began inauspiciously with delays and lack of device support from market leaders, with the result that the only devices available supporting the OS were from vendors limited market share.  Unsurprisingly, Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld’s market share has mirrored that of Windows Phone in the consumer market by languishing in the single digits behind Android and iOS. More significantly, however, the rocky launch has altered enterprises’ perception of Windows as the de facto operating system for line-of-business mobile deployments.

Microsoft’s stumble becomes Android’s opportunity

In the aftermath of Windows Embedded 8.1, organizations faced a difficult choice – undergo the migration to Android, or delay refresh cycles of their aging installed device base in the hopes of a better rollout with the subsequent iteration. Such a decision has serious implications for how front-end systems running on devices interact with corporate back-end systems. Rugged devices effectively facilitate the transfer of data between front and back-end systems, with the latter running on Windows; a transfer to Android complicates the relationship and requires additional coordination. This added layer of complexity has served to dissuade more conservative companies from migrating to Android. Organizations unencumbered by legacy systems, however, are looking increasingly to Android for its lower cost devices and familiar user interface. As a result, VDC’s data shows that Android has come to represent roughly 15% of the rugged device market, with growing levels of acceptance in the United States from larger organizations. A key turning point for the operating system came with the decision by Home Depot in 2014 to select Android for its latest mobile deployment, marking one of the first Tier-1 companies to forgo Windows for a large-scale deployment.

Success lies with the ISV community

One of the key factors that will ultimately determine the fate of both Android and Windows in the enterprise will be the reaction from the ISV community that supports them. While Microsoft has the advantage of scale and legacy to assist development for Windows 10, and seems to be positioning itself as a cross-platform productivity solutions company, it still needs active and engaged developers. Much of the development community has shifted towards the volume opportunity that comes with the popularity of the dominant mobile platforms (Google’s Android, and Apple’s iOS).   This makes partnering with key ISV critical for Microsoft going forward – for this reason, VDC believes that it is likely that the company will pursue an acquisition of a rapid application development vendor with a robust developer community.

Time is not on Microsoft’s side

Although Windows remains the predominant OS in enterprise by a considerable margin, the gap has steadily narrowed in recent years with the growing emphasis on mobility and the explosion of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) as a viable option among smaller and mid-size organizations. The ability of consumer-grade devices to work in the enterprise has opened the door to Google and Apple, who have made significant investments in showing enterprise support through strategic partnerships. A majority of respondents to VDC Research support multiple operating systems for their line-of-business applications, and increasingly, the focus of development is for Android and iOS. Putting an end to Android’s recent success in the enterprise-rugged space and regaining market share will depend largely on Microsoft’s ability to ensure that the OS is implemented quickly in business environments. Time is not on their side, with patience increasingly running thin and adoption rates growing for Android as it shows it suitability as an alternative OS. To quickly integrate the new OS, Microsoft will need to work tightly with OEM and ISV partners to ensure rugged devices work effectively with the new OS and applications are supported. Zebra, a dominant player in the rugged space, announced that it will have several products running Windows 10 by the end of 2015. However, these products will be joined by others running Android; illustrating the company’s effort over the past few years to incorporate both operating systems so as to meet various industry demands.

A last chance to dominate?

Windows 10 represents a key turning point for Microsoft, particularly as the company is doubling down on software, given its most recent round of layoffs that cut 7,800 jobs from the phone business and writing off nearly all of the value from its Nokia acquisition. After considerable pushback on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone from the consumer and enterprise markets, Microsoft can ill-afford another misstep. Any further stumbles will place the OS in jeopardy of losing market dominance and leave the playing field wide open for the competition in both the rugged and enterprise-issued markets. 

 

With Matt Hopkins, Research Associate

07/16/2015

Recap: Qatalyst Global’s Managing BYOX & End User Mobility conference

Managing BYOX Event Recap

At Qatalyst Global’s Managing BYOX & End User Mobility conference, organizations such as PG&E, Fairfield University, and Aetna shared their experiences integrating mobile initiatives, while vendors including Apperian, Bluebox Security, Dilligent, IBM, and WorkSpot, explained how their mobile services could increase company productivity and efficiency. We had the opportunity to speak with several of the end users in attendance about their BYOx approaches — not surprisingly, most were still challenged by the complexities of implementing BYOx policies and proving the ROI of these initiatives. The Fairfield University’s CIO, Paige Francis gave a great presentation that illustrated how heavily mobile technology was relied on by her student body and how important it will be going forward to understand the expectations of future generations of workers and customers. Francis spoke at length about the difficulties of meeting student and employee technology needs in a campus environment and how Service Oriented Architecture concepts now applied to mobility (she described this as “Mobile Oriented Architecture”). We agree, as mobile devices and services will need to seamlessly interact with one another independently. 

Qatalyst_byox_event_July_2015

End Users Know They Need to Deliver a Positive User Experience

Companies at the conference were at all different stages of their mobile journey exemplifying the differing pace of adoption. Some companies stood out, PG&E for example has developed and deployed a number of mobile applications to enhance field service operations as well as meet customer needs. Interestingly, the utilities industry, which had remained fairly stagnant in regards to technology over the past few years now stands positioned to develop rapidly as mobile and IoT technologies are incorporated to enhance business processes. Other industries such as health care have been keen to embrace mobile technologies, but issues surrounding contractual and regulatory obligations complicate initiatives. However, a major take away from the conference has to be that keeping it simple in both development and deployment is essential. Focusing on the end user — how the end user will use and experience the technology — can guide the process fairly completely, while financial constraints remain important considerations. As Steve Damadeo — the IT Ops Manager for Festo — explained, BYOD and mobile applications provide ample cost-saving opportunities as well as productivity gains if implemented with a focus on cost containment and user experience.

Privacy Considerations Important Going Forward

Providing a unique and outside perspective on the legal obstacles facing multinational corporations’ mobile plans was VDC Research’s own Eric Klein. His presentation touched on one of the many impediments to crafting an effective technology policy that incorporates mobile; from security and privacy concerns to regulatory and user experience issues. Achieving compliance with laws and regulations that are often archaic in relation to modern technology can be cumbersome. Case law as explained by my colleague Eric Klein has failed to keep up with technological development – particularly with regards to mobile technology. Baker & McKenzie’s data privacy and security expert Harry Valetk was in agreement, and spoke at length about this topic and echoed many of these sentiments. While it will take time, the case law will catch up, Valetk predicted that “regulators and courts will apply the laws as they are today regardless of if they more accurately regulate the technology of 20 years ago”.  

Note: This was a recap of the first day (7/15) of the 2-day event. 

 

07/08/2015

Samsung’s Search for Success in Enterprise Mobility

The company is putting all the building blocks together to potentially become a significant enterprise mobility solutions and services player. 

In 2014, Samsung watched its mobile sales drop 21 percent as increased competition further ate away at the company’s market share in the smartphone space. Apple’s consumer-friendly iOS garnered greater control of the high-end smartphone market with the company’s release of a “large-display” iPhone 6 and 6 plus. At the other end of the spectrum, low-end manufacturers such as Xiaomi captured Samsung’s market share—particularly in emerging markets—by producing similar devices with lower prices. As a result, the rapid evolution of the smartphone market has left Samsung squeezed between, and battling Apple and low-end manufacturers. Cognizant of the adverse trend moving against them and keen for alternative avenues of differentiation, Samsung has for several years been increasing its mobile presence in the enterprise space—a market still fairly open for penetration following the decline of BlackBerry and relative neglect by Apple.

A Move into Business Services

When it comes to enterprise mobility, the consumer still rules. The proliferation of “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies throughout the business world requires that a company produce devices sought after by consumers. Given the highly-competitive consumer device landscape, Samsung spent the past few years developing partnerships, software-capabilities, and enterprise mobility expertise to augment their hardware business, addressing the security, management and support requirements critical to enterprise decision makers. To augment these partners, Samsung is also investing in enterprise mobility service capabilities and in January launched the Samsung Business Services program. This program takes a three-tiered approach to addressing the demand for mobility in the enterprise space and builds upon unique capabilities such as KNOX that Samsung has long been developing. At a high level, Samsung intends to be a technology collaborator with an extensive ecosystem of partners to provide mobile solutions to customers.

Samsung Strategy

However, while providing comprehensive support to enterprise customers is helpful and desired by some companies, it will not alone significantly increase the demand for devices. Moreover, the idea that companies desire a seamless and integrated system for managing all things mobile is not revolutionary, with many enterprise IT powerhouses – for example Microsoft or IBM – increasingly well positioned to deliver these capabilities. The key challenge for a company like Samsung – that continues to derive the majority of its mobile revenues through hardware sales – is whether they can affect enterprise decisions in today’s heterogeneous/multi-platform environment. Our contention is that as enterprise’s mobility initiatives continue to become more strategic – and mobile deployment models shift from BYOD to COPE (or more enterprise influenced mobile decisions) – that these enterprise investments and initiatives will provide greater returns.   

A Vertical Focus for a Meaningful Impact

Another layer of Samsung’s enterprise approach is establishing vertical or industry specific know-how. Acknowledging that to become “business critical” requires, by in large, focusing on the nuances of certain industries, and creating specific solutions to industry problems; Samsung has tailored its products to the education, healthcare, government, hospitality, and retail industries. These large verticals possess certain characteristics and unique business processes that are in need of technological and mobile solutions. By addressing the concerns of these industries—security, regulation, rapid technological change, etc. — Samsung has the opportunity to become ingrained in business processes, and thus become “business critical”. Today’s these capabilities are still largely a work in process as Samsung invests in building out this institutional knowledge. Given the complexities and nuances associated with many vertical opportunities, this will require staying power from Samsung.

Another critical cog in Samsung’s enterprise push is their extended partnership with BlackBerry. Samsung has integrated BlackBerry’s mobile-billing and encryption technologies into its KNOX platform, enhancing its position in the high end of the security bracket in highly regulated industries. Following the collaboration on the BlackBerry SecuTablet – which features Samsung’s S 10.5 hardware and Knox for device encryption, secure apps and software from BlackBerry and app wrapping technology from IBM – new rumors are surfacing around a Samsung-BlackBerry co-developed Android smartphone. Depending on the success of these initiatives, even closer ties between both organizations is not out of the question.

Finally, the partnership between Red Hat and Samsung, to a certain degree similar to the one between Apple and IBM, looks to provide industry-specific applications that address business concerns and needs. Ultimately this is all about mobile applications and mobilizing enterprise workflows, an area that has been lacking. Leveraging Red Hat’s mobile application platform and optimizing enterprise specific applications on Samsung devices will be central to this relationship. However, the ability of these applications to address business problems will largely go under-utilized unless Samsung can reach the decision makers at these companies. Further in-roads must be made to gain the ear of decision-makers, whom often lie outside the IT department.

Staying the Course 

That Samsung is looking to capitalize on mobility demands from the enterprise space is not surprising. The company is putting all the building blocks together to potentially become a significant enterprise mobility solutions and services player. They are clearly not alone with these pursuits, with a more enterprise savvy Apple and a resurging Microsoft – among others – representing key challengers. Microsoft will be particularly interesting to follow with palpable anticipation surrounding Windows 10, their OneDrive for Business solution and leading enterprise identity and access management assets. With the enterprise mobility ‘debate’ shifting towards content and identity management, Microsoft’s position is especially strong.    

With much of the enterprise mobility opportunity still ahead of us, Samsung is increasingly well positioned. However, as a company that interprets success on quantity of devices sold, it will be critical for Samsung to set realistic expectations for their enterprise strategy. Staying power and focus will be critical.

Be sure to check out our upcoming VDC View as we dig deeper into this topic!

With David Krebs

06/25/2015

How Microsoft can Gain Relevance in Enterprise Mobility

Microsoft has had fits and starts since releasing its first modern mobile OS in Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft has long been aware that mobile enablement has taken root within its customer base. While Microsoft has had the opportunity to leverage its cloud and software development capabilities and position them for the future, the company has struggled, and has seen little traction for its enterprise mobility related solutions. Since establishing its Enterprise Client & Mobility (ECM) team, Microsoft has been able to incorporate a broad portfolio of assets and products, namely: Windows Server, System Center, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Azure RemoteApp, Active Directory, Azure Active Directory, Remote Desktop Services, and security. Though small, the ECM team has quickly become a key pillar of Nadella’s vision for a Mobile-First, Cloud-First focus. The team has been working hard on elevating the messaging around Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), which has Microsoft Azure AD Premium, Azure Rights Management Services (RMS), and Microsoft Intune at its core. The key will be to deliver on the value proposition that Microsoft has been leading with around its EMS suite — one vendor, one contract, one SKU.

Source_Microsoft2

Simplifying the EMM Procurement Process is Difficult

Microsoft’s messaging for its EMS suite is spot on. The company has correctly identified a major pain point that has historically plagued IT decision makers — licensing, contracts, and renewals. To compete and succeed, Microsoft must continue to work on educating its channel on the value play it has assembled in EMS as it has the right solution components in place for success. Microsoft has put together bundled pricing for EMS, which makes the product attractive for channel partners (at $7.50 per user/per month, EMS is aggressively priced — roughly half of what it would cost to acquire, Intune, Azure AD Premium & RMS separately. The company also plans to add Advanced Threat Analytics to its EMS suite in Q3 (via the technology it acquired from Aorata in Q4 of last year).

Microsoft has the right vision going forward (see below), but executing on it could prove challenging due to the intensifying competition in the market. Prominent EMM vendors such as AirWatch, Good, MobileIron, and SOTI have worked hard at streamlining and simplifying their pricing plans. Additionally, these vendors are working well with the mobile ecosystem as it evolves (for example every prominent mobile-first EMM vendors has integrated with Google’s Android for Work program [with the exception of Good]. Integrating with this program is critical to provide enterprise security for Android deployments going forward (there are alternatives such as Samsung’s Knox that provide the requisite containerization that is core to the Android for Work program, but even Samsung is now begun to support the program itself). Microsoft chosen not to participate in the program for very deliberate reasons — it wants to leverage the built-in MDM functionality it offers with Office 365 to lure customers away from their existing vendor. This makes sense, as Microsoft has chosen to not permit third-party integration with competing EMM vendors to its Office applications and doesn’t support standard iOS and Android APIs for its applications.

Easy Migration Provides an Opportunity

While many of Microsoft’s customers are likely to already be using a competing EMM vendors’ products, the migration process has also been streamlined; this has made it easy enough to switch over to Microsoft products (EMM vendors are still capitalizing on migrations away from BlackBerry’s platform). It seems as though customers are open to evaluating Microsoft’s EMS solutions as a means of consolidating disparate tools used to manage devices and applications. Identity is also being reevaluated as more companies mix cloud and on-premises software services. Intune does an adequate job in providing secure access to email and other Office 365 offerings on a wide-range of devices and operating systems. Azure RMS provides data protection, and hybrid Identity and Access Management (IAM) is anchored by Azure AD Premium, a service that nearly every company uses to authenticate its users. The emphasis on hybrid here it to highlight its importance of Microsoft's distinction of Hybrid Identity as the new "control plane." This is demonstrative of the company’s recognition of empowering mobile users on their device of choice while enabling IT with visibility into who is trying to access data and apps and providing a means of validating and authorizing the appropriate personnel.

Source_Microsoft

Source: Microsoft

So What Does Success in Enterprise Mobility Look Like for Microsoft?

The firm’s recent restructuring (Nokia’s ex-CEO, Stephen Elop, along with Kirill Tatarinov, Eric Rudder and Mark Penn have been edged out of the company, and Terry Myerson has been elevated to lead the new Windows and Devices Group going forward) and the increasing emphasis on Windows 10 signals Microsoft’s desire to position itself as a cross-platform productivity solutions company and could potentially signify a de-emphasis of the company’s Windows Phone strategy. Instead, VDC expects that Microsoft will compete with its operating system and attract corporate interest through the OS’s ability to function across all Windows devices (computers, tablets, and phones). Indeed, Microsoft appears to be trying to make Windows 10 look and act more like iOS and Android and create an opportunity to port iOS and Android apps to the Windows 10 OS. If these apps are able to retain their look and feel, Microsoft may see more uptake with its Surface products.

Microsoft has made notable progress in augmenting and integrating its disparate product lines into a true enterprise-grade mobility management platform. However, the vendor has yet to prove it is making progress with real customers and needs to get some wins under its belt. Suffice it to say, Windows 10 will be a critical release for the company.

With Matthew Hopkins, Research Associate

06/16/2015

VMware ups Security Ante and Shows its Ready for the Post-PC Era

C-Suite representation at the company's business mobility event shows that VMware has much bigger aspirations for its EUC division.

VMware did a masterful job in drawing attention to its business mobility event earlier this week in San Francisco. While we thought that a key partnership similar to the Apple/IBM tie up last summer might be announced, the company did make several important announcements. The primary news was the launch of an entirely new identity management solution (simply named: VMware Identity Manager) which offers integrated single sign-on (SSO) functionality with AirWatch's EMM platform. The fact that 15 new ISV partners have joined the App Configuration for Enterprise (ACE) program was also notable; VMware has correctly identified an opportunity to differentiate going forward via app curation. Sanjay Poonen made it clear that he envisions the ACE program extending much further than its current roster of 21 ISVs. Considering that the program is just 3 months old, and the strong brands/footprints in the enterprise of participating ISVs, they are off to a great start. However, the market will still require some education to understand the true value proposition of ACE.

Vm_5

Plenty of vendors (startups such as Centrify, Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity and Symflified are the most prominent) have developed important enhanced security solutions (all are centered around automating authentication) and have increasingly turned their focus toward enterprise mobility. Then of course there are heavies such as IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle who have tenured Identity Management solutions. VMware's entry here isn't about displacing these vendors — the move shows that they are aware that their customers are looking for ways to improve their competitiveness, agility, and compliance — and that their customers are going mobile. Offering an Identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) solution is a smart, as it will enable VMware to offer sophisticated security (by combining secure cloud SSO, strong authentication, and sophisticated identity lifecycle management) while preventing their customers from going elsewhere for these types of services.

What's most impressive is VMware's ability to blend enhanced security technologies that were intended for traditional client-server environments with modern mobile platforms (and infrastructure). Case in point, the merging of its NSX solution with AirWatch's EMM platform; by using what VMware calls "network micro-segmentation", they are effectively bringing very granular virtual network policy controls (at the application level) which allows users or groups to access only the specific applications within the data center to which they are authorized. This type of technology has not existed until now, although containerization solutions such as Docker seem to be moving in this direction.

use of network micro-segmentation
use of network micro-segmentation
use of network micro-segmentation

VDC sees these solutions as gaining in importance as the theft of credentials has become a persistent barrier for secure mobile enablement. Implementing more robust security mechanism typically comes with a cost; solutions typically introduce more complexity and negatively impact the user experience. From what VMware is showing, they seemed to have nailed this. However, it feels as though others will be able to replicate this seamless (and secure) method of mobile application delivery.

Keys to success for all of the participating vendors in enhance security will be to deliver solutions that are able to preserve the user experience while delivering robust mobile solutions that aren’t cumbersome and are designed to accommodate the way mobile users want to operate. New entrants must demonstrate that their approach is differentiated to compete against large and established security vendors. While mobile authentication is niche, the market is crowded, and visibility will be critical to establish the right partnerships and channel relationships. VMware seems to be coming out of the gate quickly.

* Side note: VMware also announced it will be working more closely (and presumable integrating more deeply) with Apple going forward; not coincidentally, key rival MobileIron was able to interject its partnership with Apple on its OneTouch solution into the news cycle on the same day of VMware business mobility event. I'm waiting to learn more about the details on the depth of both of these partnerships.

06/11/2015

WWDC: Enterprise Recap

While the themes at WWDC were consumer oriented, there actually were some key enterprise elements.

Apple’s highly anticipated annual Worldwide Developers Conference occurred on Monday at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. As expected, many of the developments revolved around consumer products, namely the Apple Watch and a new music streaming service, Apple Music. However, enterprise enhancements were also present, as Apple looks to increase its presence in corporate environments.

In keeping with recent tradition, Apple announced its new operating systems: iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, which allow for greater integration among devices. The new OS X does not include many new features, but iOS 9 provides some new improvements that enhance the competitiveness of the iPhone and iPad in both consumer and enterprise markets. The new iOS features a battery saving mode which Apple claims will add three additional hours of battery life.  The company is late in incorporating this feature, which consumers clearly have been asking for - other prominent OEMs such as Samsung, Huawei and HTC have offered this capability for some time now. iPads have become more business friendly under the new operating system as new multitasking features were implemented. In particular, the new split screen feature similar to that present in Windows and some Android tablets will allow users to use separate apps simultaneously. In addition, the iPad will include a trackpad feature allowing for greater control and quick typing. These enhancements should allow for increased user-productivity, and illustrate Apple’s attempt to further outfit the iPad as a hybrid- laptop replacement similar to Microsoft’s Surface tablet.

Despite the changes mentioned above, the WWDC did not entail any significant developments or changes that will affect Apple’s overall trajectory. The new operating system for the Apple Watch and the new music streaming service may increase consumer support for Apple products; however, the innovations relating to enterprise will likely not significantly increase corporate demand. The changes to the iPad amount to Apple merely catching up to Microsoft and Samsung by incorporating a true multitasking feature. This new development takes the place of an old feature claimed by Apple to be multitasking, but in reality was more akin to app-switching. New security features, such as the addition of a six-digit passcode and the option to force enable passcodes on corporate owned devices, will certainly garner support among those in the corporate world looking to protect their corporate information from what appear to be endless data breaches. This enhancement also follows in part from Microsoft’s emphasis on security, as exemplified by Windows 10’s sophisticated containerization capabilities.

Apple has also made clear on its website that several features important to the business community will be made available in the near feature. Promised improvements in networking and device management have the ability to greatly improve business processes through increased functionality. Unfortunately, Apple does not provide any information regarding these enhancements on their website so their usefulness remains a mystery. These are critical enterprise elements to iOS 9; to date Apple has done a great job at augmenting the EMM elements of its OS, and we look forward hearing more about these key features.

 

Apple image

A key advantage for Apple remains its App store, which for the past year has included Microsoft Office as one of its offerings. The prevalence of the App store is exemplified by the fact that 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies feature an app in the Apple App Store. Furthermore, the new spotlight search feature should allow for greater efficiency in the utilization of applications, seeing as the search results will include information present in older apps that may have been forgotten. The unification of multiple platforms working and interacting together may allow for efficiency gains as employees work more frequently outside the office. Microsoft has followed Apple’s lead in attempting to develop a similar network across devices with its new operating system, Windows 10. However, while both these companies appear to have an eye on the future, the gains of such forward thinking may be farther off as companies will need time to realize the productivity and monetary gains from such integration. In essence, the WWDC highlighted Apple’s continued efforts to cater to its strong consumer base while augmenting its enterprise feature set.  Balancing consumer and enterprise demands is a challenge faced by all OEMs and begs the question- who will be the first to offer a business edition phone (a la BlackBerry)?

 

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