106 posts categorized "Market Leaders"

08/28/2014

Now VMWare is thinking with Portals

 ... the opportunities to provision applications securely and on the fly is truly revolutionary and a possibility if VMware can integrate and evolve the technologies it has acquired.

Today marks the last day of VMWorld, VMware’s annual conference located in San Francisco. One of the key announcements came on Wednesday with the unveiling of the VMware Workspace Suite, which includes desktop virtualization, identity management, and app, device and data management. The package features many elements from its AirWatch acquisition, including Secure Content Locker and mobile management software. A central element to the package is the Workspace Portal, which enables mobile users to access Windows applications, cloud services and web apps from a single, centralized location.

Vmware_blog_graphic

Imitation as a source of flattery…or confusion

Many people are noting the similarities between its new product suite and that of Citrix, which bears the exact same name. Citrix has taken note and took the opportunity to release a blog of its own – Imitation is never as good as the original – claiming that “It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And after reviewing VMware’s new announcement of Workspace Suite, all I can say is that all of us at Citrix are extremely flattered,”  before enumerating a point-by-point comparison of the two products.

However, despite creating a seeming workspace doppelganger, VMware is also likely to see increasing competition from Dell, which launched its own desktop virtualization solution, vWorkspace. Originally known as Quest Software, it was acquired by Dell in 2012 and offers additional features like support for Linux VMs and EOP protocol.

The Mobile Cloud Era: “Desktops Re-imagined and Inspired by Mobility”

VMware is weaving together technologies that have the potential to upend traditional end user computing deployment environments. The company’s recent acquisitions (AirWatch, Desktone, and CloudVolumes) are demonstrative of the mobile cloud era that VMware sees us entering. VDC agrees, and we believe that we are in the early days of a coming disruption in IT service delivery and the way organizations provision and manage devices for their workforce. While the adoption of virtualization technologies like those from VMware is limited, the opportunities to provision applications both securely and on the fly is truly revolutionary and a realistic possibility ifVMware can integrate and evolve the technologies it has acquired. We see the opportunity for cost savings and the flexibility that VMware has the potential to offer giving the firm a notable opportunity moving forward. VMware’s vision of delivery innovation as a service – from the data center to the desktop and mobile applications –are now a possibility; time will tell if end users are ready for it.

(With Kathryn Nassberg, Analyst)

08/20/2014

Apperian Goes Big on User Acceptance Testing

The rise of the custom B2C and B2E app

With an increasingly mobile workforce relying on a combination of enterprise-issued and BYOD devices, the need of custom-made applications to support line of business workflows has grown significantly in recent years.  Data from VDC shows that there is a clear trend towards custom applications that are internally developed, as the year-on-year change for internally developed apps was positive across all industry verticals surveyed. Field mobility in particular saw a marked increase from 30% to 45% of apps being custom developed in-house.  While an increasing portion of resources are being allocated to development, quality assurance (QA) and user acceptance testing (UAT) are often complex and long processes that require specific skills and can be difficult to scale. Frequently, the testing pool is limited, and often relegated to a small number of employees, or even the developers themselves, which can adversely affect the user experience of the app. Apperian, a mobile-first ISV, is looking to address this shortcoming with the industry’s first large-scale solution for user-acceptance testing for mobile applications.

Engaging the community

Looking to overcome the traditional constraints of app testing, Apperian seeks to cast a broader net to both improve the stability and quality of the app, and to significantly cut down on time-to-market. According to CTO Carlos Montero-Luque,  Apperian has “reimagined what mobile app testing should be by empowering hundreds and even thousands of employees and/or contractors to be part of a user acceptance test process,” which they cite has already had a significant impact for early customers. In addition to saving money and time, engaging employees and the broader community provides a platform in which stakeholders have an opportunity to voice their opinions and know that their needs and concerns are being heard.

Security remains an issue

With the number of apps being developed in-house on the rise, security still remains a critical issue. Recent data from a VDC survey on software development reveals that only 8% of respondents have an application security program in place that is specific to mobile applications. When looking at in-house development, that number drops even lower, with a scant 4% of respondents having the means to test applications in-house.  Although most protection revolves around secure coding techniques, other measures, including binary protection countermeasures, are necessary to prevent hackers from pirating or compromising the confidentiality and integrity of applications. Failure to do so can result in applications that are easily reverse-engineered and modified. 

Security Practices Implemented During Mobile Application Development

Apperian blog

VDC data shows that while basic security needs are being met, there are still considerable gaps that remain and need to be addressed, as we have highlighted in previous blogs. This is a pain point for many enterprises and an opportunity for companies like Apperian, especially as development costs continue to rise. Adopting and utilizing tools to help ensure that mobile Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) best practices are being used will be critical for organizations as they pursue broader mobile enablement initiatives. Moving forward, sophisticated QA techniques, along with strategic usage UAT processes can help to ensure that apps have been adequately protected from hackers will be required, as the cost of security breaches can be enormous, not only in dollars but also in lost time, productivity, and an overall feeling of organizational well-being.

 (With Eric Klein, Senior Analyst)

08/04/2014

Oracle augments its cloud services with TOA acquisition

Oracle announced its plans on Thursday to acquire TOA Technologies, a Cleveland-based firm that specializes in cloud-based field service solutions. These SaaS solutions seek to optimize what Oracle refers to as the “last mile of customer service for enterprises” by coordinating and managing dispatchers, mobile employees and customers to improve service, empower service agents and allow for a more in-depth and long-term customer development. Although the terms of the acquisition remain undisclosed, TOA is considered global leader, as it manages services for major brands like Home Depot, Virgin Media, and Vodafone across more than 20 countries. By fitting into Oracle’s cloud services segment, the deal provides considerable synergies, especially within the realm of field mobility with TOA’s ETAdirect field service management system. 

 

Looking for smarter, better engagements

Oracle’s acquisition reflects the greater trend within field mobility in looking increasingly beyond reducing operational costs to measure success and to gauge solutions. A recent VDC end user survey revealed that the top two metrics used to measure field mobility solutions were improved worker productivity (45%) and better field worker communication/collaboration (33%). 

Oracle exhibit

Here too, the importance of increased customer service and loyalty mesh with Oracle’s emphasis on a modern approach to field service operations that include long-term brand and customer development through better customer engagements.

Taking the cloud to the field

Since its acquisition of RightNow in 2011, Oracle has made other key strategic (and recent) acquisitions which include BigMachines (October ‘13), Responsys (December ‘13), and BlueKai (February ‘14) to enhance its Cloud Service Platform. The acquisition of TOA further complements Oracle’s cloud services value play with a proven solution that enhances predictive scheduling and brings the ability to streamline service workflows for its customers. Oracle currently possesses scheduling solutions that compete with TOA's ETAdirect platform; however, VDC expects that Oracle will make it easy and attractive for existing customers to migrate to TOA's solutions once they enter an upgrade cycle.

Oracle’s actions make it clear that the company sees smaller and more focused/specialized firms such as Astea International, ClickSoftware, and ServiceMax as becoming increasingly competitive. ClickSoftware continues to sharpen its workforce management solutions and recently (February ‘14) acquired mobile specialist Xora. VDC sees field service solutions are a critical area for enterprise software vendors such as Oracle, particularly when considering workforce mobilization trends. VDC data shows that companies anticipate increasing enterprise mobility budgets by an average of 10.6% for 2014 year-on-year, and for field mobility applications, that figure rises to 11.1%. With smaller firms being acquired, the field is becoming increasingly competitive for the larger players, and VDC anticipates fierce competition ahead to capitalize on rising mobility budgets. 

 

(with contributions from Eric Klein, Senior Analyst)

07/31/2014

BlackBerry Looks to Voice Encryption to Retain Customers

BlackBerry's acquisition of Secusmart, a secure communications specialist, gives BlackBerry a fighting chance to hold onto its government customers.

Earlier this week, BlackBerry announced that its acquisition of privately held German firm Secusmart as part of its drive to become the handset OEM of choice for security-conscious clients in federal markets and in enterprise. While Secusmart's technology has powered BlackBerry's encrypted emails and texts, secure browsing and encrypted file system since 2009, BlackBerry will now integrate going forward through this acquisition Secusmart's Security Card technology. The solution is dependent on the usage of a micro-SD card which features a crypto-controller with a PKI coprocessor for authentication. An additional high-speed coprocessor encrypts voice and data communication using 128 bit AES. Considering BlackBerry’s shrinking device sales, the company must continue to innovate specifically on its platforms embedded security in order to remain relevant as a handset OEM.

Although BlackBerry's footprint in federal markets and in regulated environments is significant, when compared to the overall enterprise market opportunity, they are a niche market. However, what works in BlackBerry’s favor is the fact that companies in these market segments are as reliable as a vendor can hope for in terms of repeat business and year-over-year growth potential due to their reliance on mobile technologies. Indeed, BlackBerry's CEO John Chen sees "these markets as equating to half of IT spending in mobile technologies"; while this is a bit of an overstatement in our view, the opportunity is significant. Under Chen, the company has been very clear in its aim to reinforce BlackBerry as the best platform for secure communications in enterprise settings, and particularly in regulated industries. However, as has been well documented, BlackBerry continues to lose customers to EMM vendors like AirWatch, Good and MobileIron, who have all initiated marketing campaigns focused on painless switching to their respective platforms. While these campaigns in aggregate have had varying success, there is no question that there has been attrition. Although BlackBerry has “opened up” its platform and now allows competing EMM vendor to manage its devices, VDC saw this move as signaling that the company recognizes its position as the incumbent has waned and needed to move with the mobile ecosystem.

The acquisition of Secusmart does bring new high profile reference customer for BlackBerry to tout (in addition to President Barack Obama) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel who found herself the victim of a major security breach (click here, and here) when her iPhone was hacked this past November.

Encrypted Voice is a Super Competitive Market

Moving forward, BlackBerry’s Security will remain as the company’s key differentiator, and is why the company’s best shot for a turnaround rests on its ability to retain and grow its market share in the enterprise.  However, the market that the Secusmart acquisition signals that the company plans to participate in is a crowded one. Organizations such as Motorola Solutions whose bread and butter is in government and regulated markets have had competing products on the market for some time. Motorola Solutions AME2000 product provides end-to-end encrypted voice and data communications on public and private data networks. The solution targets public safety and federal markets which are core target markets for the company. AME200 also features sophisticated hardware-based encryption and key management via a proprietary microSD component of the solution (called CRYPTR micro), to support Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 3 and Full NSA Suite B Cipher Suites. Motorola isn’t the only vendor either: Silent Circle emerged earlier this year (whose “surveillance proof” Blackphone, started shipping just last month) which can encrypt voice calls, Boeing’s Black phone features an embedded “self destruct” security feature along with the ability to communicate via satellite transceivers for secure voice communications, and FreedomPop’s privacy phone (which runs on Samsung hardware) key feature is voice encryption, and it can even be purchased via Bitcoin for “anonymity”. Suffice it to say that the secure voice and messaging market has quickly become crowded. Not to mention that vendors such as Open Whisper Systems and Silent Circle offer apps (no hardware required) to bring encrypted voice capabilities to the Android and iOS platforms.

A Niche but Valuable Market

While the confidentiality of private telephone calls has come under attack, the need for voice encryption for enterprises and private individuals is not apparent. There is no question that our privacy is being threatened by increasingly sophisticated adversaries and that certain executives and government personnel that routinely engaging in the exchange of private information or who conduct sensitive business transactions from abroad may be targeted. Large global organization do face the challenge of securing a global network of branch offices, subsidiaries, partners and project teams around the world and having the confidence that sensitive information and trade secrets remain confidential is important but the overall market is limited in scope and remains firmly as a niche. Nevertheless, as BlackBerry’s enterprise presence is becoming increasingly relegated to federal and regulated environments, embracing its niche position is, in VDC’s view, the firm’s best option for long-term viability. Acquiring Secusmart could give BlackBerry the security boost it needs to retain its current customer base and provide meaningful differentiation.

06/27/2014

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

Sammy_blog

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.

06/07/2014

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.

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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.

Poll

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

05/23/2014

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.

Android_for_biz

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)

05/05/2014

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”.

Captureibmbloggy

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.

04/16/2014

Zebra Goes All-In to Become AIDC Powerhouse

MSI’s enterprise business unit opens the door to broader client base and diversified offerings

Yesterday, Zebra Technologies announced the purchase of Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business for $3.45 billion.  The acquisition will provide Zebra with the opportunity to access new technology markets in addition to extending its geographical reach and serving 95% of Fortune 500 companies worldwide. More importantly, however, the purchase will broaden Zebra’s product and service portfolio to encompass nearly all areas of data capture and asset tracking, from barcode printing to scanning solutions, mobile computing, and software.

Currently, Zebra is the leading barcode printer vendor with a considerable margin over the competition in global market share for a market that is over $1 billion in size. However, as we mentioned in VDC’s Auto ID and Data Capture blog in February, the company has experienced a flattening of revenues in its core businesses and has been looking to innovate and expand their global presence through new avenues and acquisitions.

A bold but risky move

Although the deal makes sense from a strategic point of view, the financial side underscores the magnitude of the deal; of the $3.45 billion, only $200 million comes from Zebra’s cash on hand, with the rest coming from new debt, as the firm currently carries none. Motorola Solutions’ earnings for its enterprise business far outstrip those of Zebra, with earnings of $2.5 billion versus $1 billion for Zebra.

VDC considers this to be a very interesting move by Zebra Technologies, particularly as the company is taking on an entity that is much bigger than itself. While we fully expect integration to be a long, drawn-out process, with an additional base of 4,500 employees worldwide and entry into several brand-new data capture technology markets, each with their unique nuances, this deal gives them access to a strong customer base, especially in the Retail vertical — an area of growing focus for Zebra. At the same time, however, VDC remains skeptical about Zebra’s ability to turn around Motorola Solutions’ struggling enterprise business sales given the onslaught of consumer devices and growing threat to incumbents from low-cost competitors.

VDC will be taking an in-depth look at the ramifications of the acquisition in a report next week by Richa Gupta, VDC’s Senior Analyst in the AutoID and Data Capture practice, and EVP David Krebs.  

(with contribution from Richa Gupta)