Posted by: Workspot
BYOD, CIO, Cloud Computing, Consumerization
By Ty Wang – Co-Founder and Vice President for Workspot
As consumers, we’re melded to our mobile devices. The gadgets themselves and, of course, the apps are part of our personal identities. As workers, we dream of the same level of personalization — and we’re often willing to pay for it by using our own devices for work. Employers have wholeheartedly embraced the always-on employee and the supposed productivity gains to be derived from letting people use their mobile weapon of choice.
But there’s a problem: Working on a mobile doesn’t always work. Let’s face it; using SharePoint on mobile is a soul-crushing experience today. People in enterprises today struggle to work on their personal tablets because the vast majority of companies have applications and data that are secured behind firewalls, on locked-down laptops and within restricted wireless networks.
Billions of dollars and years of time have been invested designing and building this infrastructure to be secure and reliable. Now, consumers want this same infrastructure to be available on what are predominantly consumer devices designed for messaging, media consumption and games.
Struggling to work
Let’s look at the example of Karin, an account manager at a 1,000-person consumer apparel company. What happens when Karin gets an urgent phone call to review documents and approve a transaction? She takes out her company-issued laptop. She fires up her VPN and accesses it by inputting the code from her security token. She then logs into SharePoint and Outlook email. Depending on her laptop and connection speed, this process might take five minutes.
Karin would love to do this work on her personal iPad, the device she always carries in her purse. Compared to the company laptop, it’s slick, speedy and seamless. But it’s not an option, thanks to Justin in IT. There are 600 million people like Karin working within traditional enterprises today.
Now, Justin in IT is not the bad guy. He’s spent countless months integrating systems to provide access without data leakage and millions of dollars to manage identity and risk. And now the CIO is talking about BYOD?
If Justin has to lock down personal devices with mobile device management, or MDM, it defeats the whole purpose of BYOD. Karin will hate it, because Justin will know everything she does on her personal device. Except for email, every new secured business app will need special permission. And she doesn’t like the idea that Justin will be able to lock or wipe her device should she lose it or leave the company.
For his part, Justin isn’t happy about the prospect of installing new MDM servers in his datacenter and taking on the added overhead of managing mobile devices.
What the people want
Today’s enterprise users want their core business applications to be as seamless as their consumer apps. They don’t want to be guests on their company’s wireless network; they want to log in once and access all their work applications and secure documents. They don’t want to have to switch between browser tabs for different mobile business applications; they want to stay within a single, mobile workspace both applications and documents. They don’t want broken user experiences when trying to access behind the firewall documents from SaaS and other applications.
The ideal BYOD scenario would also create a clear wall between personal apps and content, and information related to work applications and documents. That way, if Karin’s iPad ever is compromised, Justin can wipe company data and leave her vacation photos intact.
This ideal BYOD scenario would also leverage all that great work Justin and the IT team has done to integrate backend systems into business workflows and then make them accessible through web applications via VPN and authentication systems.
Enterprises don’t need still another, parallel system for delivering applications to brought-in mobile devices. In fact, most already have what they need to deliver applications and data effectively from behind the firewall. And here at Workspot, we happen to believe that this isn’t a distant future, but something that can happen today.
Getting rid of blind spots
Let’s assume that Karin and Justin can agree on one place for work with the rest of the mobile remaining personal. One of the lingering issues for deploying BYOD is the lack of context and visibility of activity on the device itself. When Karin says, “My SharePoint is running slow on my iPad,” and so what does Justin do? He goes to his application server and network monitoring systems and verifies that no outages occurred. This still does not address the fact that Karin, and perhaps many of her peers, are experiencing slowness of apps because Justin simply does not have the actual user experience data on what is happening on each individual mobile device to make the adjustments to improve Karin’s and others user experience that leads to increased productivity.