Apple Welcomes IBM. Seriously.

Tuesday saw the landmark announcement of an exclusive partnership between Apple and IBM in which IBM will bring its MobileFirst solutions to iOS and allow the former rival to sell iPhones and iPads with industry-specific solutions. With the impending release of the more enterprise-friendly iOS8 later this month, the announcement represents the culmination of Apple’s transition from consumer trendsetter to enterprise powerhouse.  

A decisive break from the Jobs Era

The move firmly cements Tim Cook’s vision for Apple as a clear departure from the Jobs era, which saw much of the company’s history defined as a direct rivalry between the two firms, in which Jobs saw IBM as the Goliath to be defeated by his underdog David of a company. At its peak in the 1980s, the rivalry indeed took on near-biblical proportions in the form of full-page taunts to IBM in the Wall Street Journal and the now-legendary Super Bowl ad. Now, Apple has become the hardware giant and IBM has transitioned towards the cloud, big data and enterprise mobility, having moved away from the personal computing hardware in the last decade and making key acquisitions in analytics, security cloud computing infrastructure to position itself accordingly.

Welcome ibm

Apple’s shot across the bow to Android

The announcement comes on the heels of Google’s I/O conference, where it revealed not only the upcoming Android L, but a closer partnership with Samsung to integrate KNOX into the next version of Android. Dubbed Android for Work, the collaboration aims to place Google and Samsung at the forefront of enterprise mobility and overcome the shortcomings Android faces by the variety of handsets and versions of the OS on the market that all vie to compete against Apple’s iOS products. By teaming up with IBM, with its enterprise IT credibility, Apple has its presence in enterprise even more daunting. Although much of the company’s success in the past has hinged on its massive consumer popularity, but this was hindered by a lack of professional services, support and distribution channels geared towards enterprise. In addition to the engineering of native, industry-specific applications for iOS Apple seeks to overcome this with the combination of AppleCare for enterprise that is supplemented with on-site technical support and service that will hold considerable appeal for CIOs worldwide. By offering support service capabilities ranging from break/fix support and onboarding to asset and application management and security services, Apple has laid down the gauntlet and, at the very least, stolen much of Google’s recent enterprise thunder.

Crunch time for the competition

News of Apple and IBM’s new partnership will have a profound effect on other OEMs, particularly Samsung and Microsoft. For the former, this will likely mean forging and even closer relationship with Google, where the company has hesitated in the past. Despite their collaboration to integrate KNOX on Android, Samsung has shown a certain level of ambiguity in its relationship to Google, namely in the release of the Samsung Z in Russia and India featuring the manufacturer’s proprietary Tizen OS. At the heart of it, VDC sees two non-enterprise focused companies that have made decided enterprise overtures. While Google has made inroads to diminish Apple’s lead, this relationship could propel Apple back towards a considerable lead.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is in the midst of its own re-positioning as it is poised to announce the largest round of layoffs in the company’s history. Microsoft has struggled in bringing its devices into the era of mobility, and only made its Office suite available for the iPad in March of this year. Apple’s announcement could very well move the company further from hardware and increasingly into the cloud. As recently as last week, new CEO Satya Nadella published a company-wide memo outlining Microsoft’s intention to redefine what the company views as its core in a world that he defines as “mobile-first and cloud-first.” With Apple and IBM’s exclusive new partnership, Microsoft will have its work cut out for it in preparation for next week’s MGX and beyond.   


Microsoft Shifts Focus Back to the Enterprise

Satya Natella’s recent company-wide email, while lacking specifics, shed some interesting light on the direction Microsoft will take under his guidance. Steve Ballmer’s “Devices and Services” strategy is being evolved into “Mobile-first and cloud-first” with an emphasis on productivity and collaboration. One clear message from the email was a renewed focus on the enterprise customer, while not completely ignoring the consumer, especially in ackowledging the dual-use personas increasingly prevalent in the way we adopt mobile technology. Again, a meaningful pivot from Ballmer’s recent direction. In reading the email one could not help think that the key messages were formulated with Google in mind more so than Apple.

From an enterprise mobility perspective, this is important. Much like other enterprise-first vendors who attempted to emulate Apple’s influence over consumers, Microsoft fell into a trap that often left them exposed. While it is hard to ignore the consumer’s influence in enterprise technology today – especially in all things mobility – creating consumer cache much the same way Apple does is a losing proposition. Yes, Microsoft needs to directly develop or influence the development of devices than inspire and us consumers can get excited about (and the Surface Pro 3 is such a device). However, Microsoft needs to do so while focusing on the enterprise customer, its primary source of revenue and profitability. Focusing on developing solutions that support containerization or dual-use scenarios addressed by Natella is one way of bridging the gap or blurring the lines between enterprise and consumer use.

Some of the key takeaways from our enterprise mobility perspective include:

Productivity for all. Productivity was mentioned by Natella 20 times in his email. This was clearly not a coincidence. Some of Microsoft’s core assets – from Office to Skype, from Sharepoint to Cortana – are designed with that purpose in mind. From an enterprise mobility perspective, workforce productivity enhancement remains the number one investment driver and priority. Microsoft clearly is in a sweet spot here and making these assets available across multiple (non Windows) platforms (iOS, Android) are necessary and solidify Microsoft’s already strong position in this category. Microsoft can lead and innovate here, just not under the traditional models.


Renewed and Cohesive Commercial/Enterprise Emphasis. It is perhaps unfair to call these efforts renewed as the commercial unit – representing approximately 50% of revenues – has been performing well of late. With a boost from the Windows XP migration (90% of enterprise desktops are now on Windows 7 or 8 according to Microsoft), Server and Office revenues up 6-10% and Sharepoint, Lync and Exchange revenues up double digits and most importantly cloud services revenues up substantially, business performance has been strong. However, what is notable is the under Balmer, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that enterprise customers seemed to receive second class service from Microsoft. From our experience (and this is understandably under the narrower enterprise mobility scope) we have had numerous conversations with F250 enterprise accounts over the past three to four months with many expressing frustration with the lack of clarity (especially around platform/OS direction) coming from Redmond. All have substantial investments in Microsoft products and services and remain committed to Microsoft. However, similarly, many expressed that Microsoft has been extraordinarily to recently conduct business. Many should welcome Natella’s with open arms.

Windows takes a back seat. While Windows remains a core OS/platform, especially in the enterprise, today’s reality is a multi-platform one. Microsoft cannot continue to act arrogantly as it did when it was the only game in town. Natella’s announcement of Office on iOS and opening up Azure for Android development (notice the brand shift from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure) in addition to Microsoft’s change in OS licensing policies for small display devices all point to a more open Microsoft. Windows 8 has not been a success (69% of enterprise respondents to a recent survey indicated that over the next 18-24 months Windows 8 would not represent an investment priority) and, while growing, Windows Phone 8 still represents less than 10% of the smartphone market. While no one expects Microsoft to abandon Windows by any stretch, their flexibility to support alternative platforms will benefit them long term.

A clearer industry or vertical strategy and message. Although not implicit in Nadella’s message, we are seeing greater emphasis around vertical solutions from Microsoft, including frontline mobility solutions. To take this initiative to the next level, Microsoft needs to start realizing the potential vertical solutions through its “mobile-first, cloud-first” approach. As said by Nadella, “there will soon be more than 3 billion people with Internet-connected devices – from a farmer in a remote part of the world with a smartphone, to a professional power user with multiple devices powered by cloud service-based apps…”.  From education specific solutions – such as the collaboration with Intel and Panasonic to deliver a purpose built two in one for the K-12 segment – to mobile endpoint solutions in hazardous oil & gas environments to delivering business critical logistics solutions for last mile parcel delivery, Microsoft’s vertical reach is impressive and offers plenty of room to grow and become a power-player.

Coauthored by Research Associate Natalie Buckner



Still a Long Way to go for FirstNet

With broadband networks playing such a critical role in the future of public safety, especially regarding the enablement of mobile solutions, the public safety market is moving towards establishing a nationwide, interoperable, voice, video, and data-run network: the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). Through the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), the goal of this revolutionized public safety communications system is to give first responders access to the modern-day tools necessary to help save lives, solve crimes, and keep our communities safe. Though broadly a nationwide effort, Ed Parkinson (FirstNet director of government affairs) said, “This network – it’s not going to be a one size fits all. It’s really going to be focused on local problems and local solutions”. This represents a sizeable national infrastructure project to undertake, and with many steps yet to come, the implementation of FirstNet remains in the initial development stage.

Through NASCIO’s ongoing research, sustainable business and financial plans for FirstNet are currently under discussion. The 2014 NASCIO report, The States and FirstNet: An Early Look from the State CIOs, was recently released for the purpose of polling the state and territorial CIOs on their states’ efforts in order to evaluate exactly where each state is in the development process. As displayed by NASCIO’s “FirstNet maturity scale”, over 70% of respondents categorized their states as either “developing a governance model” or “organizing its activities with other key stakeholders in the state”, and around 16% have even gone a step further and have “collected baseline data on operations, assets, and user baselines”. Some of these state-driven initiatives are quite far along in this process, showing signs of a regional collaboration. The initial development processes are underway, as is the documentation of each state’s existing Land Mobile Radio System (LMRS) and the focus on other imperative assets. The concentration on these areas as well as the partnering with key vendors including Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, and Harris Corporation is setting the stage for the ongoing networking, connectivity, and funding necessary to continue this project.

For FirstNet and various other public safety technology modernization initiatives to succeed, participation and innovation from the broader IT community is required. Relying on traditional or legacy public safety solution providers – and their vested interest in maintaining the status quo – is a losing proposition. Promotions such as the White House “create-your-own” public safety apps were created with the intent of drawing in as much collaboration and creativity as possible. Not only does this initiative have the potential to foster an entrepreneurial spirit towards the growth of this network, it also empowers the people to be proactive and fully involved in this effort. We believe that in order to have a successful implementation of a nationwide network, a nationwide effort is necessary, and we will be tracking these initiatives as time progresses.

FirstNet represents a massive opportunity to provide much needed modernization and innovation to public safety communications and to revolutionize how public safety and first responders operate in the United States. That said, today’s LMR-based networks will continue to represent the lifeline for mission critical voice communications among first responders for the foreseeable future, certainly the next ten, if not twenty, years. There is no near term viable alternative that can provide the same level of reliability, redundancy, coverage and immediacy available today.  Moreover, FirstNet, at least initially, will bridge the need for a ubiquitous broadband data network while the need for interoperable, mission critical voice will remain. Only over time will voice be integrated with FirstNet with key technical and functional hurdles of supporting direct mode push to talk (PTT) voice and off-network direct communications for both voice and data needing to be addressed.

Beyond the technical issues, FirstNet faces substantial business model challenges including calculating the feasibility of developing a nationwide network for what amounts to a couple of million users. While FirstNet has $7 billion of federal funding to leverage, this represents but a drop in the bucket when compared to what commercial carriers invest today in building and maintaining their networks. Creative collaboration with national and local commercial carriers, to evaluating options to expand the user community (transportation and utilities, for example) and leasing agreements for excess capacity are all scenarios FirstNet will need to explore moving forward.  VDC will be closely monitoring and analyzing this initiative and these issues in a forthcoming report on the North American market for public safety broadband communications.

Written by Research Associate Natalie Buckner


Google I/O kicks wearable device talk into high gear

June has been a big month for consumer wearable devices – it has seen the Salesforce announce the launch of Salesforce Wear to help build up a wearable-specific ecosystem geared primarily towards smartwatches and augmented vision devices. This month also saw Samsung’s announcement of the Samsung Z – the first smartphone to run on its proprietary Tizen OS, establishing a single platform for its growing family of Gear smartwatches, including the Gear 2, the Neo and the Gear Fit. However, the biggest buzz has come from this week’s announcements at Google’s I/O developer conference. Google had announced its wearable specific OS, Android Wear, in March, but gave more insight this week as to its capabilities and scope. 

Google sees the world moving from your fingertips to your wrist

Contextual data proved a central theme at the presentation for Android Wear. Sundar Pichai, SVP for Android, Chrome and Apps noted that “people check their phones more than 150 times a day,” noting that these interactions often centered on simple pieces of information that require numerous steps, such as unlocking and entering passwords, to access. Google’s answer is to provide this information “quickly, at a glance,” and to supplement the process with voice-activated queries and commands using the familiar, “OK, Google” prompt. Improvements in contextual voice-based software from Apple, Google, and Microsoft for smartphones will be a major component of the new generation of smartwatches on the horizon, given the limited display size and interaction options. The trick, however, will be in balancing voice-activated and touch-based interactions that function seamlessly together and quickly; most interactions for the form factor take place within a 15-20 second timeframe.

As with smartphones, applications are key

For smartwatches and other wearable form factors to move beyond fitness-based fads, OEMs will need to support application development by providing APIs releasing SDKs to developers to support tighter and deeper integration. In the same way that desktop applications could not simply be shrunk down to work on a smartphone, mobile applications will need to be tailored to work with specific wearable form factors in a way that pairs well with other devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Having a robust selection of apps will help wearables to enter a broader slice of daily life and work to overcome the current social discomfort surrounding the devices (cue the numerous references to Dick Tracy or the Borg with Google Glass, or other augmented reality heads up displays). VDC looks in depth at this trend and the implications for enterprise wearables in this month’s VDC View.


Google’s Android Evolution – Knox and Divide? The End of Fragmentation?

With “Android for Work” Initiative, Google’s Next OS Will Feature Samsung Knox Integration

Google made several important enterprise mobility-oriented announcements at its annual developer conference (Google I/O) earlier this week. The company provided details of its “Android for Work” initiative, which aims to help business users separate personal and corporate data. The effort is being supported by prominent handset OEMs (Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Huawei and HTC), as well as PC OEMs, including Dell and HP. While these OEMs are eager to work with Google, it is likely that the company had to offer assurances (such as guaranteed timely access software updates and key security enhancements) to ensure a solid roster of vendors for the fall release of its next OS “Android L”. Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai shared key details of the next OS (and announced its beta release to developers), and demonstrated several new enterprise features for enhanced security and privacy. The OS will offer a “kill-switch” function (remote factory reset protection), new lockscreen enhancements, and alternative security features such as context and proximity that open up new opportunities for two-factor authentication scenarios (via a companion device such as a smartwatch etc.). The company also announced a new version of its popular consumer file storage, sync and share solution (Google Drive). Dubbed Drive for Work, the service combines the familiar experience of Google Drive with new admin controls, advanced file audit reporting, and eDiscovery services; key features that will allow the service to compete with established vendors such as Box and Dropbox. Google also announced several notable updates to its productivity software ― the company’s popular presentation software, Slides, is now available on mobile platforms. Google has also integrated QuickOffice with its app suite, and has brought the ability to work with Microsoft Office applications natively (no conversion required). However, the big announcement at I/O was the planned integration of Samsung’s Knox security service into the Android OS. While it is not definitive that Knox will serve as the foundational security element for the Android for Work initiative, VDC sees it as likely (Google has provided scant details relating to the integration in Android L’s documentation). Just last month, Google acquired Divide, a firm that developed a rich platform utilizing a similar containerization approach to separate personal and corporate data. While Divide created a superb UX and delivered core productivity apps (a PIM suite of email, contacts and calendar apps), the company’s security features pale in comparison to Samsung’s Knox. Here’s why:

Knox builds on the Security-Enhanced Linux (SE Linux) changes to the Linux kernel developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and debuted on the Galaxy S4 in 2013. Knox 2.0 was released earlier this year at Mobile World Congress and builds on the original Knox security feature set through upgraded certificate management, IPSec VPN capabilities and enhanced container security powers. Samsung’s latest Smartphone (the Galaxy S5) ships with Knox 2.0. Key Knox features include:

  • TrustZone-protected certificate management and On Device Encryption (ODE) (via a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) through a partnership with Trustronic
  • A key store for managing encryption keys
  • Real-time protection for system integrity
  • Two-factor biometric authentication
  • Per-app VPN functions for SSL VPN solutions (with tighter integration with Juniper planned)

The integration of these features has enabled the Knox solution to achieve “Common Criteria Certification”. Knox was evaluated under the internationally recognized Common Criteria Evaluation and Certification Scheme (CCEVS) with an Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) and Protection Profile (PP) that qualify it as a "trusted" operating system. While this validates the cryptographic foundation of the solutions security features and deems it viable for accessing enterprise networks and high-value information assets, Samsung has only achieved EAL level 1 (there are seven levels in EAL classifications and competitors such as Good Technology have been certified at level 4). While uptake in enterprise settings for Android have been slow, VDC sees the enterprise features that continue to be implemented by Google, along with the upcoming integration of Knox giving CIOs and IT leaders fewer reason to not support the OS.

Where Does Divide Fit?

Divides solution offers FIPS 140-2 validated 256 bit encryption, the ability to encrypt email messages (using S/MIME), as well as basic MDM features. Google announced that it planned to release an application (no carrier involvement required) for Android 4.0 releases (Ice Cream Sandwich) through 4.3 (Jelly Bean) claiming that it will bring backwards compatibility to the aforementioned security enhancements that will be embedded in Android “L”. While this will help significantly with fragmentation, it still leaves the ~20% of Android devices that run OSes < v. 4.0 in the cold. This is very likely where and how Divide will fit into the company’s plans to quash fragmentation. We will be watching for updates relating to this initiative closely.

So What Really Happened?!

"We want to thank Samsung for its amazing work with Knox. It's so good we're going to integrate it directly into our platform,"

Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai, 6/25/14


The announcement that Knox would be “contributed” to Android (see above) was not only unexpected, but had many industry watchers (and Google competitors) guessing and prognosticating. The reality is that we won’t know for certain how the two companies arrived at this arrangement. There has been speculation of a rift between Google and Samsung. Samsung continues to experiment with a competing OS (Tizen) and has clearly been moving forward with its own interpretation/implementation of Android. One thing is certain, though: Samsung is definitely not abandoning its Knox development (the company has > 2,000 engineers working on Knox) and will continue to evolve the platform and target the enterprise with its solutions. VDC views Google’s partnership with Samsung as significant due to its potential impact on the broader Android ecosystem. With businesses embracing BYOD policies, and turning to enterprise-grade solutions that cater to these deployment environments the rapid upgrade cycles for modern mobile platforms has OEMs eager to crack the business market. That is what is most fascinating about the partnership – it will give handset OEMs who have been unsuccessful in targeting the enterprise thus far (such as HTC and Lenovo) a means to compete with Samsung using its own technology. Apple, BlackBerry, and Microsoft have all sharpened their security messaging and are vying for enterprise mindshare.

VDC will be releasing an in-depth mobile security Report in early July.


Cloud First - Mobile Second at SapphireNOW

Cloud First

SAP's CEO Bill McDermott and his broader executive team were consistent in their core message at this year's SAPPHIRE event; the main message: "Simplify everything. Do Anything." SAP's strategy is increasingly centered around cloud delivery, an integrated suite, and sreamlining customer support for large multi-national customers. There is no questioning the strategic importance of the in-memory database technology that SAP has been developing for the last decade. HANA has been front and center at SAPPHIRE since its release in 2010; and continuing to demonstrate the platforms' traction with customers will be key for SAP to prove their viabilty in the cloud computing market. Having long time (and marquee) customers such as John Deere, ConAgra Foods and eBay elegantly articulate their success with HANA certainly helps.


Suites Win — Simple beats Complex

There were several notable quotes I keyed in on during McDermott's keynote that kicked off the event. The first was regarding software suites, "In the end, the suite always wins. Always has. Always will." McDermott went on the diss the current crop of best-of-breed vendors insinuating they were commodity plays. However, a key reason that precludes best-of-breed vendors from "breeding" is they are typically acquired by vendors like SAP. While suites typicall do win in large organizations, IT modernization is long overdue amongst many of SAP's core customers. McDermott sees HANA are the simplifier, and the way to deal with the "intractable CEO issue of our era" (complexity). SAP Fiori (revealed just last year at SAPPHIRE) will be a core element to reducing complexity; SAP will lead with Fiori, and announced that it will make the UX and SAP Screen Personas software free with underlying licenses of SAP software. The announcement was not a surprise, however, it is a positive move and will also help with mobile adoption within SAP's customer base.

In additon to "run simple" messaging, there were key product related announcements. SAP announced Simple Finance — a comprehensive and enterprise-grade finance solution based on SAP HANA. The offering covers the complete capabilities of the SAP Finance Value Map and will help to modernize aging financial applications through its more simplified, easily consumable, cloud based solution offering. SAP also made sure to showcase the newest member to its executive board, Bernd Leukert who with Vihsal Sikka's departure has global responsibility for the development and delivery of all products across SAP’s product portfolio including applications, analytics, cloud, database and technology, and mobile.

Mobile Second

I came across an excellent summary of SAPPHIRE at SAP's community network. If you are interested in a very detailed summary of announcements, I would suggest taking a look. What jumped out at me from the summary was the absence of mobile solutions. The empahsis at SAPPHIRE was definitely around the HANA platform and SAP's intentions with the cloud. However, Rick Costanzo, SAP's EVP and GM of mobile solutions is likely to change this. The BlackBerry veteran is well aware of SAP's mobile opporunity and is bullish on his company's outlook. SAP's 3.0 version of its mobile app development platform (SMP 3.0) looks as though it will become a core component to SAP's EMM solution (Mobile Secure) and can now be cosumed more easily than prior disparate SAP mobile development solutions components (SUP, Mobilzer, Agentry, etc.). SAP's mobile executives also provided me with a preview of Mobile Place, the company's portal to manage, secure and publish mobile apps. While on its surface, the solution appeared to be just an app store, I see it becoming more integrated with the company's mobile content management solution (mobile documents).

While mobile is too niche to be front and center a SAP's SAPPHIRE event, it will become more prominent moving forward. There is no question that many of SAP's large customer are investing in mobile solutions and I personally expect to see mobility being increasingly taken into consideration for a growing number of SAP's core ERP applcations — Fiori is just one of the first steps.


Click here to vote — when do you think that mobile will be the lead story at SAPPHIRE? 


Good Exchange NYC: Good Technology on the Offensive

Good Technology hosted its inaugural Good Exchange in NYC on June 3, 2014, an event I had the pleasure of attending. Good has a long and often colorful history in the enterprise mobility market. Perhaps best known for its secure email solutions, the company has evolved considerably as it sets itself up for an IPO. Acquisitions have played prominently with Good acquiring BoxTone in early 2014, a pioneer in the mobile service management space, bookended by today’s announced acquisition Fixmo, a leading provider of mobile security and device integrity solutions. Buttressing these acquisitions include a series of new launches including a secure mobile collaboration app and a trusted authentication framework, consisting of APIs that can be used with two-factor, single sign-on biometric and smartcard authentication modes. Early partners supporting this initiative include EyeVerify, Biometrics Associates, Intercede, Mi-Token and Precise Biometrics. Rounding this out includes a Salesforce.com application and a much needed new interface for Good for Enterprise. This is clearly a sign that Christy Wyatt and her executive team are taking the new market dynamics to heart and are on their way to integrating the necessary pieces to deliver a much needed secure and trusted mobile management and development service.

So what does this all mean? Ever since VMware’s monster acquisition of AirWatch, IBM’s acquisition of Fiberlink and Citrix’s greater push into mobile device management, the mobile landscape – including the rules of engagement – has changed dramatically. Not to mention that BlackBerry – its renewed enterprise focus notwithstanding – continues to lose customers as Apple expands its enterprise support capabilities and Google recently announced its acquisition of Divide. Good is attempting to plug the void that BlackBerry is leaving in the market and has most of the assets to do so. However, as evidenced by their recent IPO filing, Good needs to dramatically scale to hit key financial benchmarks. Key considerations for Good in achieving these goals:

  • User experience. In Christy’s keynote at the event, she attested that “Good has always built applications with end business users in mind”. While that may be true, the prior execution translated into an extremely challenging user experience. The demos at Good Exchange proved that the company has taken this criticism to heart and has substantially improved the user experience, especially for processes like user activation.
  • Samsung relationship could be critical for Good. While Android devices account for the lion’s share of smartphone shipments and now also lead tablet shipments, when it comes to devices supported/managed in the enterprise, iOS remains king. Although Good customers are using their platform to manage many of these iOS devices, for Good to succeed and to scale substantially, Android needs to succeed in the enterprise. “We are huge fans of KNOX!” proclaimed Christy during a brief fireside chat with Dr. InJong Rhee. With Samsung and secure Android solutions, Good has a real opportunity to differentiate itself from its competitors.
  • With its acquisition of BoxTone, Good addressed a key gap for the company around end to end mobile service management. Enterprises today are ill equipped both from a resource and also skill-set perspective to effectively manage the influx of mobile devices. Providing service capabilities that simplify support – from the carrier to the end user – and offer self service and user training capabilities are essential and also provides Good an opportunity to differentiate among its EMM peers.

However, at the end of the day, it is all about the apps. Today the majority of Good customers are relatively basic when it comes to their current mobile status. A primarily BYOD-influenced MDM investment is perhaps an apt characterization. However, Good, and the market, wins only when mobility becomes more strategic in how a salesforce engages with customers, how service technicians manage assets, how nurses care for their patients. It is when mobility becomes truly transformational that Good can elevate its status within customer organizations. Put another way, all the security capabilities Good is building out are only useful if there are apps available for them to protect. While Good is enabling its customers and partners through Good Dynamics to develop and deploy secure applications, today Good has only limited mindshare and cache among developers. Good is working on building out its app eco-system as evidenced by its Salesforce.com relationship and is talking about White Labeling its platform to carriers and managed service providers to extend its reach to smaller organizations. This will be a substantial initiative for Good, requiring significant marketing investments and also a more consultative approach to their sales engagement.


Thinking Outside the Box (or Container)

The IT Security landscape must continue to evolve in response to sea change of user and enterprise behavior that has come with the increased usage of mobile applications. This comes in addition to the continued trend toward cloud computing, an increased reliance on the web for transacting with customers, and the increased sophistication of those looking to exploit IT infrastructures. Bottom line, in corporate settings, mobile users and their devices have become a big security pain point and one that must be addressed.

While BYOD trends are delivering new opportunities in enterprise settings, there is no question that they also introduce new risks. In order to support device choice, IT organizations need to invest in software and infrastructure to protect mobile deployments and manage device and carrier diversity. EMM vendors have taken a very deliberate and measured approach to helping organizations deal with BYOD that has coalesced around containerization; collectively, this approach seems to be gaining traction in the enterprise. However, without the appropriate policies, training and governance mechanisms in place, our personal and corporate data will increasingly be comingled which can result in data leakage and can potentially put organizations at risk. While recent public filings indicate that several high profile EMM vendors have yet to reach profitability, their commercial viability has been proven by their robust customer uptake. Additionally, the consolidation activity and sharpened focus from large and established vendors shows that this market has matured.

Catching up Will be Difficult

In this vein, VDC is closely tracking several innovative startups that we see as tackling the mobile data challenge with a different approach. Vendors on our radar include: BlueBox Security, Cellrox, MobileSpaces, and MobileO2. We see these new entrants to the market as having disruptive potential due to their focus on delivering a superior user experience, balance user privacy concerns, while giving IT leaders and CIOs the visibility they require into how users are using their devices and where their corporate data is moving.

These vendors have been able to articulate their differentiation, but will need to get their solutions deployed for validation and to prove their commercial viability. Conversations with these vendors revealted that each shares a different view on what they consider containerization. To these vendors, moving into a work persona is a form of containerization, or any app that is “badged” may also be considered as being containerized. We anticipate that discussions with reference customers will provide more detail of the scope and success of these early deployments.

In order to meaningfully participate in the market for enterprise mobility management solutions, these vendors must quickly establish partnerships in the channel which at this stage of the game will be required for longevity and relevance in the market.

VDC clients will gain access to broader coverage of this topic in the next VDC View that we will be publishing next week.


Google Acquires Divide to Enhance Android’s Enterprise Cred

Google made headlines earlier this week by finalizing an acquisition of Divide (formerly Enterproid); a company specializing in the internalization of a work container within an employee’s personal smartphone.Google has planned to incorporate the Divide feature to future Android releases, thereby strengthening the platforms’ enterprise capabilities as a whole. The acquisition will impact the ecosystem of vendors focusing on mobility management for the enterprise, and will give HW OEMs that compete with Samsung an opportunity to offer a well-integrated containerization solution along with their hardware. The move by Google also portends to a more strategic focus (albeit late) on the enterprise market.

Similar to other popular containerization solutions, Divide’s secure workspace separates employees’ personal and business use on an individual smartphone while simultaneously preserving the experience that users expect. Container solutions such as Divide offer an elegant way to give users the ability to use their device the way they are accustomed to without the threat of privacy issues, and more importantly, give IT administrators flexible and powerful tools for administrative oversight as well as granular policy control for their corporate data and applications.

Is Android Finally Ready for the Enterprise?

Does this mean that Android is now completely enterprise-friendly? The move certainly strengthens the platform’s viability, particularly when considering the enterprise capabilities that have been integrated into the most recent Android releases (Jellybean and KitKat). Additionally, depending on how Google decides to integrate Divide and how easy OEMs can customize it, Divide will potentially give HW OEMs new ways to approach business customers. With Apple’s recent production of iOS7, Apple could fill the enterprise mobility void left by BlackBerry. With no major fragmentation concerns (~80% of iOS users are on iOS7), Apple’s walled-garden approach and its reputation for proactive responses to malware threats has served it well. While Apple was dragged into the enterprise, it has clearly been embraced by large organizations and accepted as a secure mobile platform. EMM and mobile security vendors have created very powerful solutions that have made Android a very secure platform – however, without these third-party solutions, the platform would not be gaining the traction in enterprise settings that we have seen since the 4.2 release.


The Debate will Persist – To Secure the Device and/or the Data

Containerization, unfortunately, is not a black-and-white solution. Although it can potentially allow for more employee privacy through less IT supervision, containerization can easily be described as an incomplete solution (depending on the use case). While containerization solutions separate applications and data between personal and corporate use, they do not provide the enhanced security, granular policy controls, asset management functions, or provisioning capabilities that an integrated solution from an EMM vendor can provide. However, containerization and app virtualization (a topic for a future blog) are changing the dynamics of the competitive landscape. We expect the “securing the data vs. the device” debate to persist – but we see containerization as only one element of the holistic enterprise solution (one that will not replace MDM, but add to it).

Everyone Has a Container – Can Divide be the De Facto Android Container?

Containerization has become a central solution component to almost every vendor participating in the enterprise mobility market. AT&T’s Toggle, BlackBerry’s Balance (both powered by OpenPeak), Excitor, Fixmo, Good, and Samsung (KNOX), along with almost every EMM vendor, have all incorporated containerization into their solution portfolios. While these vendors can all “play” in the iOS ecosystem, Android has been the platform of choice on which to differentiate. With its acquisition of Divide, Google may have an opportunity to make Divide the de facto containerization solution for Android (if HW OEMs play ball). We anticipate that Divide will be integrated into future Android releases, and we will be carefully watching if and how Google “opens up” the Divide platform. Samsung has been masterful in attracting enterprise-oriented vendors to work with its KNOX platform – while KNOX has been slow to take off; aggressive marketing and extensive media coverage have made Samsung the most visible enterprise-grade handset OEM. To its credit, Samsung has integrated and co-opted Android and effectively has made it an extension of its hardware by incorporating significant device-side capabilities at the chipset level. HW OEMs that compete with Samsung will need to do the same, and Google has an opportunity to enable them to do so. Google’s acquisition of Divide is an important and necessary step forward if the company wants to further its enterprise strategy – however, it is just one step.

(Research and contributions by Natalie Buckner)


Event Recap ― IBM Impact

VDC had the opportunity to attend IBM’s Impact event in Las Vegas last week ― the event was well attended (~9,000 attendees) and featured hundreds of breakout sessions that spanned a broad range of technologies. A key theme at the event was what the company described as its ability to help companies become “composable businesses”.


The company's keynote speakers were very much in sync with this message and articulated how IBM was positioned to provide its customers with a path to transform their business and help them embrace the “ecosystem of everything.” Throughout Impact, IBM showcased how it had expanded its portfolio of cloud-oriented solutions with analytics, big data and mobile solutions and how customers could benefit from the ecosystem of innovation it has assembled. The company's message: it can provide the flexibility and speed that are required to overcome the challenges which every business will ultimately face as the shift to digital services impacts their IT infrastructure. This building block approach will enable customers to piece together what’s needed quickly and effectively to solve rapidly changing business problems. IBM identifies four service types in this environment:

  • Infrastructure services such as those from Softlayer
  • Business services in the more general SaaS portfolio
  • Defined pattern services such as its PureApplication services
  • Composable services (PaaS) such as BlueMix

MobileFirst and Customers Front and Center

IBM's MobileFirst GM Marie Wieck talked about design thinking, and the need to train development teams to think first about engaging with mobile. She identified several success factors for mobile enablement that were on point:

  • Mobile interactions will increasingly transition to mobile transactions
  • Must support secure, effective, real-time transactions not just interactions
  • Not just mobile analytics, also customer analytics
  • Use mobile analytics to improve outcomes whenever possible
  • Must be iterative and rapidly evolve applications
  • Business rules are required to iterate business logic

There were some great examples of mobile enablement scenarios which featured prominent customers and partners that tied well to Wieck’s success factors. Tangerine Bank discussed how they use technology to redefine and simplify banking for their customers. Tangerine shared details on how it has raised the bar in mobile banking and has transformed into a mobile-first bank (key product enhancements mentioned were voice activation and offline access).  In working with IBM, the company was able to shorten its mobile development cycle using IBM's PureApplication System. Tangerine was able to quickly develop, test and deploy repeatable patterns, access the Worklight programming environment, use Bluemix for testing and QA, and take advantage of the API catalog to manage their internal services.

IBM's SVP of Software and Cloud Solutions Robert LeBlanc cited Tangerine as an example of the shift to a completely digital economy where companies are increasingly using mobile and cloud for computing, unbundling their business offerings and where new “killer apps” have the potential to disrupt any industry.

In this vein, IBM made sure that the most visible announcement out of Impact was its marketplace. The company has curated a site that is designed to pull IBM and third party services into solutions to help customers easily find them. Solutions range from standard business, development and operational services (new SaaS and composable services on BlueMix and Softlayer will be a focus going forward). This capability was required when considering the new style of purchasing that many companies are starting to engage in, and gives IBM a mechanism to help its partners gain influence.

Still a Long Road for Many to True Mobile Enablement

IBM was also intent on demonstrating that its products can work well together, and how it can transition organizations from legacy data centers to a modern IT architecture. The company spoke about how it is beginning to see evidence within its larger customers that mobility is becoming more strategic with more senior sponsors getting involved (something that we’ve all been waiting to see). In response, IBM has taken a managed services approach to best position themselves to help quickly (a wise move given the company's Global Services capabilities). The company has also been focused on training its business process consultants and partners on its MobileFirst solution portfolio to make sure that process solutions are being mobilized if and when the opportunity presents itself. IBM's industry specific Ready Apps were also showcased ― these starter kits will be useful and can definitely help customers accelerate their mobile enablement initiatives.

While many organizations are certainly striving to modernize their infrastructure and are in the process of iterating and re-architecting their business processes the reality is that logistics networks, supplier relationships, product and service design and customer service have and will continue to be in a state of flux. Any path to sustainable competitive advantage will require a high degree of operational adaptability. IBM certainly has assembled a portfolio of products and services that can help, but engraining mobile solutions into their workflows and business processes will take time, and getting key stakeholders within lines of business, IT leaders and developers to collaborate is difficult.

IBM has enhanced its opportunity in the enterprise with its MobileFirst initiative, with key acquisitions (Cloudant, Fiberlink, SoftLayer, and Worklight) figuring prominantly; however, significant integration work remains. IBM must demonstrate to its customers that it can help to simplify and streamline app development by mobilizing existing apps (backend integration) and help to build next generation apps.


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