Category Archives: Apps

Symantec – Delivering the ‘Easy Button’ of Mobile App Management

As organizations mature in the mobile space and realize that they need more than the bludgeon of device management, they begin to look at more refined solutions of app and information management. A distant cousin to device management, but functionally more refined, app management allows organizations to control the portals to corporate information; mobile apps. Today at MobileCON 2012 , Symantec is making announcements that further remove barriers for enterprises and mobile app developers to develop, deploy, and support mobile app management. These announcements will continue to enhance Symantec’s position as a mobile app management leader.

The first announcement is Symantec is rebranding Nukona App Center to Symantec App Center Ready. (If you are unfamiliar with the Nukona solution, check out the three part interview I conducted pre-acquisition with then CEO, Chris Perret of Nukona; Part I , Part II ,and Part III.) Symantec App Center Ready allows app developers the ability to add enterprise security without any source code changes. This is a massive advantage in enabling a hassle –free security solution. Symantec App Center Ready provides app developers global visibility of their efforts, while at the same time assuring enterprises a secure context. This rebranding will take effect immediately.

Second, Symantec is creating a way for partners in their ecosystem to gain recognition as a mobile solutions provider. Symantec announced the Mobility Solution Specialization for partners. This will provide partners with training, marketing, and funds to deliver trusted mobile solutions. This partner specialization will be multi-tier (gold, silver, bronze) giving partners a way to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. The Mobility Solution Specialization will be available for partners in Q4 of this year.

Lastly, Symantec is helping enterprises remove the confusion of purchasing decisions around enterprise mobility management. Instead of organizations needing to choose between device or app management, enterprises will now be able to have a single, comprehensive security solution for the device, app, and data layers. Called the Mobile Management Suite, Symantec will offer a single package that will deliver all those mobile management pieces under a single license. The Mobile Management Suite license will be on a per user basis rather than per device. This will mean huge savings as mobile devices per user, such as a tablet and smartphone, grows. Symantec will offer the Mobile Management Suite starting now for $122 MSRP per user per year.

Enterprise mobile initiatives, such as BYOD, are quickly driving organization to identify and implement refined approaches to mobility management. End users are no longer content with the draconian and heavy-handed device management approach to security. In this more civilized age, organizations that can find an easy and adaptable path to a secure environment will flourish. Symantec is providing the means for developers and IT to quickly and easily deliver that refined experience to the enterprise for the secure environment of the future.

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Filed under Apps, Management, Mobile, Security

What do Dr. Seuss and Enterprise Mobility Have in Common?


Dr. Seuss imagined some fun and zany worlds that kids for generations have enjoyed. This fun filled world provides the backdrop for this weeks mobile-only post. Check out how our real world approach to mobility often mirrors that imagined world of Dr. Seuss in There’s a Data Socket in Your Pocket on the Enterprise Mobility Forum.


Benjamin Robbins is a Principal at Palador, a consulting firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobile strategy, policy, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Apps, Information Management, Mobile, Mobile-Only, Security, Strategy

When Android, Apps, and iOS Collide


Mobile apps and operating systems have come a tremendous way in the last several years. However, we are still a ways off from a consistent and seamless ecosystem as we move from device to device and app to app. For my mobile-only post for this week I discuss the challenges I face when moving large files between Android and iOS and how we need to arrive at an ecosystem where getting the task done shouldn’t  be hindered by OS or apps. Check out The Square Peg Round Hole Mobile Ecosystem here on the Enterprise Mobility Forum.


Benjamin Robbins is a Principal at Palador, a consulting firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobile strategy, policy, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Apps, Ecosystem, Mobile, Mobile-Only, Productivity

ICYMI – Future Mobile – Is Creepy the New Cool?

Are there apps and services that you use on a daily basis that you find collect and store too much personal information? Where is it all going? Check out my latest post on the Guardian  – Future Mobile – Is Creepy the New Cool? Let me know what mobile service creeps you out the most.

Benjamin Robbins is a Principal at Palador, a consulting firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobile strategy, policy, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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SAP Mobile – Breaking the Mold

Changing company culture in a large enterprise is a tall order. Once a mindset has congealed, it becomes very difficult to get people un-stuck from a certain way of thinking. However, when it comes to mobility, SAP is turning the ship around. David Brutman, Senior Director of Developer Relations at SAP, shared with me this week just how SAP is making huge strides in rooting out big, lumbering enterprise thinking with their approach to mobility.

There are a few key areas where SAP is making a significant shift in lowering the barrier to entry for enterprise app developers. Brutman stated that, “We’re introducing a new free developer license that is unlimited in time with full development capabilities.” He further explained, “We had a 30 day free trial but we are elevating that significantly by removing any time restriction.” This free license will provide developers unfamiliar with the SAP mobile platform a chance to develop against it without monetary commitment. Developers can then publish apps to their platform of choice.

Besides the free developer license, SAP is providing additional support for development integration with the leading mobile software development frameworks.  Brutman told me, “Another component I’m especially excited about is the partnership with Sencha Touch, Adobe PhoneGap, and Appcellerator Titanium.” Those frameworks are quickly becoming the de facto development mobile platforms because of their ability to develop one code-base that works across multiple different platforms. As Brutman put it, “SAP wants to take advantage of those platforms, with their ability to create beautiful UIs [user interfaces] and merge it with SAP capabilities in secure and managed way.” Those development platforms make perfect sense for enterprise mobile requirements and SAP is taking full advantage of that fact.

Historically, SAP has maintained a complex partnering process that all but excluded smaller development shops. This focus on opening the platform to the masses represents a major shift in partner thinking for SAP. As Brutman explained, “Typically we worked with larger companies and larger partners. Engagement was high-touch.” That kind of thinking represents the classical method of large enterprise engagement that SAP is moving away from. “Now we are accelerating the [partner] program to be able to scale. We want the ability to support a large number of developers. Those developers don’t have experience with SAP applications and they want to enter the enterprise space.”  This is a win-win situation, as developers get to create solutions and SAP expands their mobile capabilities.

My conversation with Brutman only further confirms that SAP gets mobile. They get that success in this space requires solutions that are simple, play well with others, and fit into a bigger picture. They are positioning themselves to take advantage of the milieu of open platforms and integrated ecosystems. It is amazing to see such a large organization have such sustained commitment to change in the right direction. The change isn’t going to happen overnight and isn’t going to be without some bumps in the road. However, I foresee that this commitment will allow them to prosper well into the future.

For information on the announcement from SAP visit:

http://www.news-sap.com/new-mobile-developer-programs-from-sap-provide-open-access-for-developers-to-build-b2b-and-b2c-apps/

 

Benjamin Robbins is a Principal at Palador, a consulting firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobile strategy, policy, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Apps, Ecosystem, Future, Mobile

MobileDay – The Mobile Experience Made Easy

In my year-long experiment with working mobile-only, I have, on many occasions, run into the challenge of needing to join a conference call. While one wouldn’t normally label joining a conference call as challenging, doing so solely from the phone can prove tedious. The difficulty is that the information and pin code for the conference call is either in a meeting invite or an email, while dialing the phone usually occurs in a separate app. I usually have two unsatisfactory options. I can repeat the conference number and pin code to myself over and over like a half – crazed person in an attempt to commit it to short term memory. Alternatively, I can write down the information on a piece of paper beforehand. Fail and fail again – so much for simplicity. That is, until I connected with MobileDay Co-Founder Brad Dupee.

“The whole premise of MobileDay is the notion that it’s very convenient to be on a mobile phone, it’s not necessarily easy,” said Dupee. MobileDay is piecing together the little steps that make a huge difference in the interoperability of apps and services. MobileDay’s initial product offering is a business app that provides one-touch access to any conference call on any service provider from an iPhone or Android smartphone. MobileDay will dial your conference call, PIN and all, with a single touch. “We are tackling one particular problem to launch the company with, which is, one-touch joining of any conference call whether you are a host or a guest of the call,” Dupee said.

There are also a couple additional one-touch features around conference calls and meetings that MobileDay has identified and implemented. The first is one-touch meeting status updates. This feature allows you to quickly update all meeting attendees of your status. For example, if you are running late, one-click will update everyone via email or text. “Rather than searching for you or memorizing your email address, I can just quickly send you an update. I already have your contact information relative to the event right there,” Dupee explained. MobileDay also has a one-touch feature to pull up address in a map app. Best of all MobileDay and its conference solution is free.

While there is some overlap between MobileDay and existing native functionality, Mobile Day provides the ability to do this directly in one-touch from an alert that is displayed 30 seconds before a call. As Dupee explained, “To us, that is our primary feature, when you have a call and you have to get on. Oftentimes it is at that 30 second mark. People realize they have to wrap up one meeting and join the call. And even though you have had a reminder, it is that critical time period right before the call that you realize you don’t have the conference id. Then you have to go hunting for it. It is painful.”

MobileDay has created an experience that is advantageous to all involved in the conference call. “There are independent conference providers that have their app where it works if you are the host of the meeting. But you are out of luck if you are a guest of the meeting,” Dupee stated. “There is an average of 4.5 people per conference call, if only the host can use an app, then there are 3.5 other people who aren’t getting the benefit of the app. With MobileDay it doesn’t matter what you use, it doesn’t matter the service provider, and it doesn’t matter if you are the host or guest. If you are the host you set up your profile information one time in the app. If you want to host a meeting, you can either schedule it from MobileDay or form your regular calendar and it will show up, putting the same details you would normally put in there into the meeting. We can recognize when you are the host based on your identifiers,” he explained.

MobileDay, founded last year in Boulder Colorado, has been in soft launch since that time. However, Mobile Day is kicking things into high gear this week with the official launch of the company. MobileDay is also a finalist in the MobileBeat 2012 Innovation Competition put on by VentureBeat. MobileDay is backed financially by some pretty hefty financial partners such as Google Ventures, Foundry Group, SoftBank Capital, DH Capital, and others.

One-touch features around conference calling are just the beginning for MobileDay. If there is one thing that was abundantly clear in my discussions with Dupee is that MobileDay gets the concept of interoperability and the mobile ecosystem. The amount of effort that went into building the current app, which functions across many different platforms, carriers, and OS variations is a testament to MobileDay’s commitment to building an ecosystem. Dupee and the team at MobileDay are looking at several other services, both mobile and cloud-based, where business users would greatly benefit from one-touch integration. Dupee envisions MobileDay tying together other mission critical business functions with the same seamless simplicity. If the convenience, interoperability, and simplicity that MobileDay offers with one-touch conferencing is any indication of things to come, expect to see many exciting announcements from MobileDay in the near future.

One-Touch into any conference call with MobileDay™.  No matter where you are or what you’re doing, eliminate the hassle of dialing, remembering codes, and writing down conference details.

Benjamin Robbins is a Principal at Palador, a consulting firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobile strategy, policy, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Apps, Ecosystem, Mobile, Productivity

The Skinny on Mobile ‘Lacklications’

There was some light-hearted discussion yesterday on twitter surrounding Brian Katz’s open solicitation for suggestions of mobile ‘crapplications’. For the un-initiated, crapplication is a term to describe the effect scope-creep has upon an application lifecycle. Right about the time when you can start applying the 80/20 rule to an application, it has become a crapplication. Katz wrote a great article on it last fall that you should check out if you haven’t already.

As Katz writes, “a crapplication is really just a term for a bloated desktop application…an application that is bloated with many useless features for the majority of users.” He continues to say, that a crapplication “makes it difficult to figure out how to manipulate your data,” by which he means a bad user interface and user experience.

To build upon Katz’s idea of a crapplication, as well as what’s dogging me at the moment in my mobile-only quest, isn’t so much bloat and bad UI (though there is some of that), it is the lack of functionality in many of the apps I use.  From my experience, the current state of mobility isn’t in a state of bloat, but one of anemic proportions. Many mobile apps need some good old-fashion functional protein to put a little meat on their bones. The skeleton is there, but some of the basic features are just missing. I’m not seeing a lot of crap, but rather a lot of lack. These functional weaklings could be considered ‘Lacklications’.

For example, office productivity apps lack word count, track changes, and a table of contents. Blogging apps are missing features such as scheduling, comments, and preview. I have to use the web front end to accomplish this. The native version of apps such as Lync and OneNote are missing painfully basic features. The native Android email client doesn’t let me access notes or tasks in exchange. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Some of the cause for emaciation is due to market /platform/apps maturity. Some of it is due to the screen real-estate of the device itself – the small size limits and dictates some functionality. Some of it is due to the fact that certain functions are just not possible in a mobile context. Whatever the reason, it is painfully obvious that you can see the rib-cage of many mobile apps.

But here is the good news. Mobile is new! Mobile is exciting! Mobile is acting as one big, fat reset button not only for many enterprises, but app vendors as well. As I have written about recently, they are using mobility as the excuse to re-examine how ‘we’ve always done things’. They are looking at how we can perform functions and processes in a more efficient manner.   Hopefully this means there is opportunity for loads of excess functional fat to be left on the chopping block. This will also hopefully translate into clients working with app vendors to assure that the right pieces of functionality are being developed.

Who knows, perhaps one-day in the near future, I’ll be cursing my bloated mobile ‘crapplications’ with specialized functionality intended for just a select few and a bad UI to boot.  Hopefully, the mobile context will guide and spur just the right level of development. The question for the future of mobile apps is – are they going to exercise and eat a healthy diet to build functional muscle or are they going right back to the same fatty diet? Typical human behavior says bad habits are hard to break – but what do you think?

Benjamin Robbins is a Principal at Palador, a consulting firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobile strategy, policy, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Apps, Mobile, Productivity