Tag Archives: Consumerization of IT

Consumerization, BYOD, and Employee Led Innovation – Live Webcast Recap

On Wednesday September 19th I hosted a really great live webcast in Chicago on Consumerization of IT, BYOD, and Employee Led Innovation. My two panelists, Steve Duncan from Trend Micro and Ron Hyde from Dell, and I had a fun round-table discussion on the issues facing organizations of all sizes. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the live webcast, don’t fret, you can watch the recorded version here.

You can also still participate in a Tweet Chat happening tomorrow Wednesday September 26th at 26, 2012 at 12PM CDT (1PM ET, 10AM PT) with host Ramon Ray (@RamonRay). The topic will be “Debunking 4 myths in consumerization of IT. More details can be found here.

I fielded several questions from the twitter and blogasphere before the live webcast. To close the loop on Q & A here are the questions and the responses. Thanks to all who participated!

1. How should companies think beyond the app (or the device) when developing Employee Led Innovation (ELI?) What is the role of the employee in ELI beyond the insatiable appetite for cool devices?

Steve Duncan: Companies have to take a holistic approach to ELI and not just create policies and technology frameworks for devices.  It starts with creating a structured and continuous method for collecting ideas/initiatives and reacting to them.  Every initiative needs to be answered by management such that employees remain motivated to participate.  Some times that means identifying the right people to evaluate the merits of every idea or initiative.  Once employees know that Management and IT are really listening and reacting, the initiatives will flow.

2. How do you establish and maintain a collaborative attitude between IT and the rest of the company? 

Steve Duncan: It’s the job of IT to create the environment that allows employees to innovate.  That starts with developing and publishing boundaries for how technology can be used inside and outside of the company.  It has to be backed up by providing a technology environment that lets employees to choose their applications and devices without risking loss of company data or breeching security.  By providing security and provisioning support for employee initiatives, an environment of collaboration would be established.

Ron Hyde responds to both questions:

One way to ensure success would be to establish an ELI committee, made up of both end-users and IT staff. Ideally, this committee would be the ‘voice of the company’. This purpose of this group would be to jointly collaborate on key corporate initiatives around mobility. The committee will consist of IT savvy end-users who are familiar with the mobile devices and software applications of the ELI. The IT department would provide folks that are focused on delivering and managing these mobile devices and apps. Together the end-users would outline objectives and the IT department could prepare for them. By working together, both sides can craft timelines, develop a budget, and muster resources. This would help set expectations on both sides. Ultimately the committee would introduce solutions that provide value to the corporate end-user and be effectively managed by IT.


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Filed under Ecosystem, Future, Mobile, Security, Strategy

The Consumerization Of Office

Today, Google announced the acquisition of Quickoffice.  For those who don’t know, Quickoffice is arguably one of the better office productivity suites currently available for mobile platforms (also check out OfficeSuite 6 by MobiSystems). Quickoffice allows users to view, create, and edit Microsoft Office compatible Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Quickoffice is available cross-platform on Android, iOS, and Symbian.

In the void created by the absence of a mobile version of Microsoft Office, Quickoffice has taken a strong leadership position. However, until yesterday this was done so (not to detract from the product) by an upstart company that could be competitively explained away; my how the stakes have changed. With the acquisition, it has moved from an interesting gap filling measure to a strategic threat from a competitor who doesn’t lack in cash, competition, or cause. Make no bones about it; Google has its competitive sights on Microsoft Office via the mobile platform. (They also bought DocVerse a few months back ) If there wasn’t already immense pressure in Redmond to get a cross-platform mobile version of their popular Office suite out, it just doubled.

First, from a competition perspective, all mobile enterprise office productivity discussions will be framed through the lens of a Google/Microsoft battle. The temptation to turn this into a clash of the titans is just too great for tech writers to avoid doing so.  Second, the functionality Microsoft offers will have to be, at a minimum, at least what Quickoffice offers. Based on Microsoft’s ability to deliver mobile capabilities of other Microsoft products I have some real reservations. OneNote for Android is barebones, as is the Lync client. Microsoft doesn’t yet have the track record to deliver fantasist mobile apps outside of the Windows Phone platform. Microsoft seems to be perpetually behind on the mobile front.

However, the biggest challenge Microsoft faces isn’t Google, but rather the consumer. Consumers have come to expect in the mobile arena that they call the shots.  I would even go so far as to say they feel entitled to call the shots (not that it is always a good thing). This is expressed in the enterprise as the Consumerization of IT. The Consumerization of IT denotes the idea that technology shouldn’t be overly complex. It should be something that the average consumer can understand. When you combine the sense of entitlement with the Consumerization of IT, the end result is often manifested with end users doing an end-run around the IT department to use the apps and devices they like best. My good friend, Philippe Winthrop, Managing Director of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation, calls it the IT-ization of the Consumer.  This attitude, coupled with a product from a viable competitor, should set off major alarm bells in Redmond.

Microsoft is in danger of having consumers do an end-run around Office – call it the Consumerization of Office. With a solid enterprise office suite alternative (provided Quickoffice can deliver the Track Changes functionality) Microsoft will quickly lose one of their greatest strongholds in the enterprise.  Without a similar product offering by Microsoft, the acquisition of Quickoffice by Google only hastens this loosening of the grip of Microsoft Office dominance in the enterprise. While Microsoft continues to develop their offering on the sidelines, Google has a staggering advantage to secure market share.

Mobile consumers have demonstrated time and again they will abandon the dominant paradigm en masse in favor of functionally that is available now rather than wait for the old guard to catch up. Users want/need/must perform office productivity tasks on their mobile devices and they are finding workarounds wherever they can. The greater the proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise, the more of a requirement it will be to consume office documents from those devices.  Savvy consumers are not going to sit around and wait for Microsoft to provide the solution when an alternative is in front of them.  The question that remains is – How will Microsoft respond and will it be substantial enough and in-time to satiate the empowered consumer?

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.


Filed under Apps, Mobile, Productivity

Mobility Management – Dividing Business from Personal

One of the best parts of covering companies that provide enterprise mobility management is I get to hear about the many cracks and crevices that need filling in order to provide organizations and users a smooth mobile experience. My most recent conversation on this topic was with Nick Turner, VP of Business Development at Enterproid. Enterproid developed Divide, a dual persona mobile virtualization solution that segments your personal and corporate experience on Android devices. The goal of Divide is to create a secure environment for IT, while maintaining an excellent user-experience for end-users.

“BYOD is an inevitable, marvelous thing,” Turner explained. However, mobile devices are not a PC endpoint. “Security assumptions are fundamentally changing and IT administrators don’t have a decade to figure it out. The challenge is there is going to be ten times more endpoints out there and we need to figure out how to secure it in a compressed timeframe.” The problem facing IT is how can they secure these devices today.

Turner recounted that many IT organizations they talk to face pressure from executive mandates to mobile-enable the company as a way of advantaging the workforce and improving productivity. They also face pressure from user demand. Android, with its cost advantages over iOS, is increasingly finding its way into the enterprise. However, in Turner’s experience, IT managers are hesitant about Android in a corporate environment because “they don’t have time to document all the fragmented use-cases of Android, such as OS versions, devices, GUIs, etc. There are too many variations to write up.” As well, IT managers are concerned with the trend of sharpening privacy laws. “How do you secure and manage something you are not allowed to look at?” Turner said. In some scenarios enterprises aren’t even allowed to wipe the employee’s devices.

Divide has solved these issues by creating a dual persona, virtualized environment that can be deployed after-market. With the touch-of-a-button, users can switch between the corporate and personal context. In having one environment for personal and another for business, Enterproid has figured out how to eliminate many of the friction issues that existing between corporate and business. This is done by keeping the environments clean and separate. Their solution is so robust that they can even deploy to the Kindle Fire; what Turner calls “the least enterprise-grade device on the planet.”

Turner attributes the success of Enterproid to their focus on the user-experience. “CoIT [Consumerization of IT] is about users voting based on a seamless user-experience. If a user can’t instantly understand what they are dealing with they won’t use it.” Turner believes that user-experience should be at the top of the heap of all the functional points for mobility management solutions. Divide maintains a great personal experience through allowing a company to bind policy and apps to the business environment without affecting the personal side. Turner believes that users of Divide “are able to enter an environment and quickly understand it to be either my personal or business environment without logically having to think about it.”  Beyond that, Turner thinks that the experience on the business environment should be as close the same as possible as on the native Android experience.

Enterproid’s focus on user-experience bodes well for their future outlook. While Android’s fragmentation is an excellent starting point for Enterproid’s solution, Enterproid wants to extend the virtualization experience to other mobile platforms. Look for exciting things to come from Enterproid!


Divide™ was designed from the ground up to secure, enable and accelerate BYOD mobility. Its dual persona client secures corporate information, ensures employee privacy and enables user productivity. And it’s delivered via the cloud making BYOD simple to deploy, scale and manage. For more information visit http://www.divide.com/

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Filed under Management, Mobile, Security

BYOD or Bust: Report Highlights

Employees using their own devices (smart phones, tablets, PCs) are able to use the technology they’re most comfortable with–which has a positive impact on productivity. But as anyone in IT can tell you, this has risks. To address those, some organizations are creating BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that establish guidelines for proper use. Last month, Kyle Lagunas of Software Advice launched a survey to get a pulse on what companies are doing to manage employee-owned mobile devices.

Kyle shares a few highlights with us here. You can find the full report of his findings on his Blog.

Fact: Employees Are Already Using Their Own Devices for Work

The question many business leaders are asking their HR partners is: “Do we need a formal policy for managing mobile devices?” This is not an easy question to address, as it requires perspective on what employees are doing with their mobile devices. To that end, we asked a couple of questions around usage.

Figure 1: Ownership of devices employees use for work-related purposes.

The most important question when discussing BYOD, of course, is whether or not people are even using their personal devices for work-related purposes. As shown in Figure 1, the majority of employees (77%) are using their own devices to some extent–either exclusively or in addition to company-issued devices–to do work. Of course, “work-related purposes” could be something as simple as checking their email. So we wanted to gauge what else they’re doing.


Figure 2: Employee uses of mobile devices.

According to our respondents, employees are using mobile devices at a roughly equivalent frequency for personal and business use. As shown in Figure 2 above, 67% of employees are using devices for business correspondence (email, phone calls, etc.), and 44% are using their device–company-owned or not–for professional networking.

Whenever employees are using mobile devices to access company data (48%), one would think a policy with guidelines for proper use is a must. However, another survey question revealed that only 30% of respondents’ companies had a policy for managing personal mobile devices in place. Is there a disconnect here? Survey says… Quite possibly.

Will BYOD Become a Higher Priority?

Considering the majority of employees are already using personal devices for work-related purposes, we were surprised that only 12% of organizations without a BYOD policy plan to adopt one in the near future (half of those are currently developing policies). 30% of participants without BYOD policies said that instituting one wasn’t a priority, 33% plan to modify their plans for managing use of personal mobile devices in 2012.

Security risks associated with BYOD policies continue to intimidate some–one respondent said he is “scared to death of security vulnerabilities”–but what would do more to minimize risks than to adopt an official policy? Are organizations better served by addressing issues as they arise? Or should leadership elevate mobile device policy as a priority for 2012?

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Threat Management Summit – BrightTALK Panel on BYOD and Consumerization of IT

I was one of the panelist today as part of the BrightTALK Threat Management Summit. The panel focused on BYOD and the Consumerization of IT moderated by Derek Brink, VP of Aberdeen Group, with myself, Patrick Wheeler from Trend Micro, and Mary Siero CEO of Innovative IT participating. The panel topics ranged from mobile strategy to security to policy. Click the image below to watch the recoding of the panel.



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Filed under Mobile, Security, Strategy, Uncategorized

Mobile Application Management – Enabling the Enterprise

Cimarron BuserThis is the second half of my interview with Cimarron Buser, VP of Business Development at Apperian. In the first post we looked at how Buser views the user experience as central to Apperian’s approach to BYOD. Today we’ll focus on how Buser and Apperian are turning that user-centric focus into a whole new level of enterprise engagement.

To understand how Buser views client engagements you must first understand Apperian’s history as a company. Apperian was founded in 2009 by Chuck Goldman, who was at the time an executive working at Apple. Goldman was part of the in-house group that built apps for iOS. With the blessing of Apple, Goldman initially started Apperian as a professional services company that took their app building experience and leveraged it to create business to consumer apps. This B2C mobile development experience lead to building in-house apps for companies as well. This close proximity to internal processes provided Apperian key insights into the challenges companies were experiencing managing the app life-cycle. In an effort to solve this problem Apperian created EASE, their platform that allows businesses to create, deploy, and manage mobile apps. All that time in the trenches of in-house app development created not only an app management platform for Apperian but a holistic model for Mobile Application Management (MAM).

I asked Buser if he views Apperian as a MAM vendor. “Yes, we are in the Mobile Application Management space, but we really like to think of it as Enterprise Application Enablement.” For Buser, apps aren’t just an end-product to be managed, but rather a value proposition that needs to be understood from start to finish.  Buser relayed that Enterprise Application Enablement includes “how you enable companies to build and produce apps easily”. This focus on enabling enterprise coupled with the user-centric perspective (discussed in the first post) allows Apperian to deliver long-term value for their clients

MAM Insight – Enabling users and enterprises is a winning combo.

So what does Enterprise Application Enablement look like in practice? For Buser this means working with companies to answer key questions such as “how do companies decide what apps to build and who is going to need access?” Apperian’s practical experience lends itself very nicely to this sort of discovery. “We are able to offer assistance and guidance on app development as well as share pain points,” Buser noted.

MAM Insight – Besides key functionality, can your partners offer strategic guidance?

We ended our conversation discussing Buser’s thoughts on how companies should evaluate and distinguish between MAM platforms. Buser stated “you have to just try the product out.”  He explained how easy to use their platform is. “Everyone says their platform is easy to use, but easy to use is more than a checkbox.”  Buser wisely pointed out that app feature checklists have some real shortcomings in product evaluations. “It isn’t what you can do, it is the way you can do it,” he exclaimed, “our platform is known for its ease of use.” Apperian’s history and perspective certainly give them the foundation required to deliver upon that claim.

MAM Insight – Look beyond the feature checklist – ask yourself, how easy is it to use this platform?


ApperianApperian is a mobile application management (MAM) company. The Apperian EASE platform delivers enterprise mobility services that today enable many of the world’s largest corporations to securely deploy and manage mobile apps for iOS and Android. Apperian is empowering the liberated enterprise to support the BYOD revolution.To learn more visit http://www.apperian.com/   

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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BYOD – Say Yes to Users!

Today starts another series on BYOD insights from industry leaders and influencers. My goal is to combine industry details with key takeaways that can be consumed quickly. I have no personal or financial affiliation with any of the parties involved with these interviews.


BYOD – Say Yes to Users!

Cimarron BuserYesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Cimarron Buser, VP of Business Development, at Apperian. Buser is definitely a user’s advocate. It was very clear from our discussion that Buser’s 25 years of technical background and business management is a perfect fit for BYOD as his experience has led him to an emphasis on the end-user. Every aspect of our discussion revolved around how the user experience needs to be the primary concern and central justification. This perspective, a driving force behind BYOD, is a competitive strength for Buser and Apperian.

The focus on the user experience of BYOD and app management is not only Buser’s modis operandi, but also permeates Apperien’s raison d’etre as well. Apperian’s solution helps a full spectrum of apps, from those in the marketplaces, to custom native apps, to HTML 5 apps, become visible to employees.  Buser sees this leading to increased user satisfaction and usage.  He noted that “if companies can get users enthusiastic about what they are doing, they’ll find that all of a sudden employees are using the apps and they’ll see an ROI”. Buser pragmatically pointed out that this is good for the company as well because if employees aren’t “using the apps that organizations have built then all that effort is for not.” He is quick to state that this drive for app usage shouldn’t be at the expense of security though. Organizations “have to resolve security issues and management, that is a given. But a primary goal is to have users feel like they are in charge of the device they are carrying around.”

BYOD insight- Enthusiastic users equals enterprise ROI

As a mobile user’s advocate, Buser also extols the value of open platforms and policies over that of tightly managed ones that provide a limited experience. In regards to a company’s mobile policy he reason to “make them more open and permissive rather than shut down browsers or not allow Angry Birds. That is just anti-BYOD.”  Instead, Buser thinks that companies should focus on creating great apps and educational resources.  Then they will find they have better adoption by users. Buser believes that “if theCIOsays no, then security is actually going to get worse, not better, because users will just go around them.”

BYOD insight – When the CIO says no, your mobile security can go to zero

Apperian is in the business of managing apps and not devices.  Buser believes that Mobile Application Management (MAM) can allow for greater employee device choice over Mobile Device Management (MDM). Buser tied this back to the history of BYOD in the enterprise.  Buser mentioned that iOS was the first consumer device in the enterprise. The BYOD trend accelerated as employees started purchasing iPhones, iPads and Android devices from carriers and bringing them to work. Businesses showed some resistance to this addition because “many of these companies didn’t have the MDM solutions for it and they didn’t want the responsibility of management”.  He continued by saying that what companies began to realize is that “if apps are secure, then MDM is less of an issue.” Buser believes that for many companies much of the functionality of MDM, such as remote wipe and device lock requirements, can be handled by policies in Microsoft Exchange and managed by Active Sync, or with free MDM-like solutions from Apple and Google.

BYOD Insight – MAM can provide more opportunity for BYOD to flourish.

Next up: How Buser and Apperian’s take Mobile Application Management to the next level

Apperian Apperian is a mobile application management (MAM) company. The Apperian EASE platform delivers enterprise mobility services that today enable many of the world’s largest corporations to securely deploy and manage mobile apps for iOS and Android. Apperian is empowering the liberated enterprise to support the BYOD revolution.To learn more visit http://www.apperian.com/

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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