Mobilizing the Enterprise

Thoughts on SharePoint, Smartphones, and the future of enterprise productivity

Archive for the ‘Mobile Workforce’ Category

Taking Your New iPad 2 to Work: Mission Impossible?

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Over at GigaOm, you’ll find a basic article on how to configure your new iPad 2 for work. They echo the IT trend of “bring your own everything”, including your iPad, to work. However, the article is clearly small business focused as they assume it is generally easy to connect to secured WiFi networks via hand typed passcodes and the apps recommended exist in silos, independent of the knowledge contained within your corporation.

For enterprise users, installing certificates for enterprise WPA2, IPSEC, or even secure VPN access is mission impossible unless you have help from your IT department. Apple provides instructions for IT Departments to provision servers to deploy these certificates and to configure VPNs to automatically start when corporate URLs are used, but in many cases these servers aren’t deployed or aren’t accessible to personal devices. In some enterprises, you can find a local user group or email alias that helps new Apple users get their devices hooked up to their enterprise infrastructure. In others, you are still out of luck connecting to the enterprise network.

Adding an Exchange account to your iPad or iPhone is easy but you need to remember you have implicitly given your IT department permission to wipe your entire device if it gets lost or if you leave your job. Make sure you back up often by connecting to iTunes. Additionally, your Exchange server can force a PIN code to access your device for your personal data in addition to your corporate Exchange email which can get in the way of quick access to your phone.

We still see there’s a long way to go before personal devices are safe and usable for work in the enterprise. The big problems we see are:

1) Connecting to the enterprise network and enterprise infrastructure

2) Finding and connecting to your co-workers

3) Ensuring corporate apps & data are protected and controlled by your corporation

4) Ensuring your private apps & data remains private and controlled by you

At Moprise, we’re working towards empowering users with the apps they need to make personal devices in a corporate world actually work. We will empower users with the apps they need to route around the impediments and get work done.  Our free iPad and iPhone apps enable anyone to access SharePoint and were our first steps in unblocking user productivity.

Stay tuned for an exciting new set of apps & services that will be a tremendous advance in how enterprise users connect and collaborate.

Follow us @moprise to keep in touch.

Written by daviddsouza

March 21, 2011 at 5:01 am

SharePoint on your iPhone Video from Moprise

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Written by daviddsouza

February 26, 2011 at 4:17 am

Security to Ward Off Crime on Phones

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The NYT discusses smartphone security and how you can take responsibility for protecting your data on your phone.  The data on your phone can be very valuable  -  contact info, credit card numbers, passwords, bank accounts,  and our internet identities. From a personal perspective, guarding this data is already beyond important.  But as our corporate lives move to our phones, partner, customer, and company data could also be exposed and this creates exponential opportunities for damage.

There have been two avenues for capturing data from your phone:

1) Remote - Malware and viruses steal data from your phone or

2) Direct - Losing your device allows someone else to access your data.

The NYT article summarizes the solutions available to protect yourself and your corporation across phones from different manufacturers.  From anti-virus software on Android to Find (and wipe) my phone from Apple’s MobileMe, individuals can take responsibility for protecting themselves and their corporation.

Written by daviddsouza

February 25, 2011 at 5:39 am

Are Enterprise tablets simply dumb terminals to PCs?

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Even if Apple owns the tablet market, Holt says Microsoft is picking up $100 per unit in revenue from enterprises using iPads. How? Holt says, “Where iPads are being deployed, corporates are often leveraging virtual desktops to provision Windows and Windows apps. MSFT generally gets $100/device in this scenario.”

I was surprised by how expensive a virtual desktop license is to an enterprise. But even more surprising was that a device like an iPad with so much computational horsepower, connectivity, and a magical user experience is simply  a fancy monitor to a PC sitting inside the enterprise.  Reminds me of the early days of Windows where a high quality terminal emulator (HyperTerm) was a built in Windows app that allowed users to connect to their “real” computer, the mainframe inside the enterprise.

Despite the broad interest in remote desktop software today, it is clear the future remains with more powerful mobile devices with lots of compute horsepower and storage.  The display and keyboard will come via docking.  The Motorola Atrix, a smartphone that docks into a laptop, is an existing glimpse into the future where our mobiles dock into shared display and input systems.   Corning has a futuristic video of  ”a day made of glass” where many of their examples revolve around mobile devices docking with glass displays in places you never expected.

Written by daviddsouza

February 19, 2011 at 8:28 am

Personal Phones in the Enterprise - Who is In Charge?

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Personal Phones in the Enterprise - Who is in charge?

Many corporations are selecting mobile device management technologies to configure and manage phones in the enterprise.  Mobile device management technologies provide a detailed view of the phone including what calls were made, what apps were installed, what data is on the phone, and who the carrier is.  Additionally, it can impact the operation of the phone by allowing or blocking apps, forcing passwords, sharing the location of the device, and allowing for data wipe, backup, and restore. This is a rich set of functionality which allows corporate IT to ensure your phone works, help you trouble shoot issues, and preserve the integrity of their intellectual property in a robust way.

Unfortunately, a mobile device management strategy neglects the smartphone user’s right to privacy especially in today’s world where we use our personal phones for work.  Should corporate rules against social networking sites apply to your personal phone?  Does your personal data become viewable and usable by the corporation because they backed it up?  Are your phone calls automatically subject to scrutiny by corporate HR?  Using a personal phone for work ensures you are readily reachable and connected to your work place.  Your ability to utilize the device for productive work across email and apps dramatically increases.  The employee paying the cost of the device and cellular plan reduces the overall expenses of the corporation.  In exchange for these benefits, the corporation must respect the phone owner’s rights while ensuring the corporate specific settings and apps are protected.

The obvious solution to this is moving from mobile device management (MDM) to mobile application management (MAM), where manageability occurs at the application level.  This allows corporate applications to be managed, authorized, and monitored independently of other applications on the device.  In essense, there should be a strict partitioning between apps from my corporation and my personal apps.

This means consumer applications cannot interfere with managed corporate applications.  And unmanaged or unapproved corporate applications cannot access corporate networks and infrastructure or other corporate applications.  The curated Apple App Store seems to ensure applications are well behaved and inherently isolated from each other.  The less managed Android store seems to have a greater preponderance of  malware which requires a stronger technical solution like a hardened sandbox before it is acceptable to corporate IT.

We think a mobile application management solution will enable both personal and corporate worlds - I will be in charge of my phone and applications and my corporation can feel comfortable I’m adhering to their standards with their apps.

Written by daviddsouza

February 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm

GE reinventing mobility

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Apple has posted a remarkable video of GE’s usage of iPad through out their enterprise.  They surface the custom, GE branded applications that connect people & iPads to GE’s data center allowing them to be productive anywhere, anytime.  The video demonstrates the usefulness of mobile devices inside and outside the office.  ”It’s like living in the future.”

Written by daviddsouza

February 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Posted in iPad, Mobile Workforce

Tablets: Morgan Stanley finds opportunity is larger than people realize

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A Morgan Stanley survey of 8000 consumers and 50 CIOs say they expect two thirds of corporations to adopt tablets in 2011 either through direct purchasing or allowing employees to take up the machines personally within the firewalls.   While this is largely a USA phenomenon, the international data was suprsingly positive towards tablets as well.

Currently only 20% of tablet owners use the devices for content creation, well below the 56% of laptops, this should change as new applications and faster processors are released.

Written by daviddsouza

February 15, 2011 at 10:50 am

Mary Meeker’s latest presentation on mobile and the enterprise

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Yesterday, Mary Meeker & Matt Murphy of KPCB gave their latest presentation on the mobile landscape. Mary covered the huge ecosystem changes in mobile due to the iPhone and the follow on products such as the app store, iPad, and Android.  In fact, smartphones & mobile devices now outsell PCs.  The ways we use PCs - search, gaming, and social - are now moving to mobile. SoLoMo - Social, Local, and Mobile - are the three key attributes elevating mobile devices above tethered PCs as our computer of choice. Advertising, branding, and commerce are all moving mobile and are showing stronger results, perhaps because, on mobile, they are new, differentiated, and interesting.  Overall, Mary presented a dense deck of information and many key mobile and web trends.

However, significantly absent was further insight into the enterprise market and its adoption of mobile. At Moprise, the mobile enterprise has been our focus.

Past enterprise trends

For the past ten years, there have been two driving scenarios for enterprise mobile adoption:

1) Vertical roles - Mobile use in field service, sales, and customer service has been rapid.  We see ruggedized devices used by technicians, policemen, and survey takers on a regular basis.  These devices required an investment in custom hardware and solutions to deliver on operational efficiencies for a heavily repeated set of operations. The return on investment meant hiring fewer people to accomplish more.

2) Email - The broad knowledge worker used devices like RIM and Windows Mobile to access their work email.  In most cases, the phones were corporate owned devices backed by IT supported back office infrastructure for secure access.

The new trends

This is rapidly changing with the introduction of the iPhone and iPad. The new trends we see are:

1) Commoditization of the vertical - many of the bespoke hardware and software platforms are being replaced by more mainstream systems such as consumer phones and tablets.   For example, we see corporate purchased iPads, custom apps, Microsoft SharePoint, and .NET plug-ins being used for new vertical services. iPads are great for viewing technical manuals from a SharePoint server, tracking time and parts used, and presenting the consumer with a receipt for signature and uploading the whole thing back to SharePoint.  In the operations center, the current status of workers can be seen via custom SharePoint dashboards and trucks dispatched by scheduling them on the SharePoint calendar. The base platform (iPad & SharePoint) is much cheaper than fully custom alternatives used in the past. As well, the agility of iPad apps and .NET SharePoint plugins is high with good availability of developers to modify the code as business requirements change.

2) Consumerization of the phone and apps in the workplace - Corporate email access on phones was commoditized with the introduction of iPhone 3GS with Microsoft Exchange support.  This enabled anyone to take their phone to work and easily hook up to standardized corporate email.  Mobile email has enabled the broad knowledge worker to use their phone for work, any time, any place.  While IT often doesn’t directly support this, often they don’t discourage it and allow internal communities to provide support, wikis, and email discussion groups to help their co-workers become more productive by connecting their personal phones to the enterprise.  These broad based communities are now taking the next step by seeking out applications that put more of their business processes onto their phone. We’ve seen huge demand for access to back office infrastructure like SharePoint - which is also a very horizontal platform used by many different roles. SharePoint has grown faster than Exchange and contains 10x more corporate data than email. It is the next obvious choice after Exchange which is why Windows Phone 7 supports SharePoint access and RIM has announced SharePoint plans as well.

Moprise can help you with your enterprise needs

At Moprise, we made it easy for anyone to access SharePoint data using their enterprise credentials via our iPhone and iPad applications. When Moprise accesses SharePoint, it  looks like PC access to an administrator or security manager - they can allow and reject access the same way, independent of the device used.  This also means if you have web browser access to your SharePoint, it will work with our app.  We have kept our app simple so that the most common SharePoint items like documents, calendars, and contacts are easily accessible.  SharePoint on the phone feels like other apps on your phone, so that muscle memory just works when scrolling through SharePoint contacts and dialing phone numbers.  The free app (without advertisements) has read-only support so that corporate data isn’t stored on your phone in a way that hurts the corporations if it gets lost. However, collaboration is easy because you can share links or the actual documents with others via your email account.

For more custom solutions, Moprise has SDK licenses to our product with premier SharePoint consultants who can produce custom SharePoint and mobile combination solutions.

At Moprise, we are continuing to innovate in helping people get mobile access to their co-workers and business in a much deeper way.  If you are interested in our products, register within our apps or drop us an email (info at moprise dot com).

Written by daviddsouza

February 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

Moprise: SharePoint on iPad

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Welcome to 2011 and a new year for Moprise and our blog.  The latest version of our Moprise iPad application for SharePoint has been in Apple’s app store since just before the holidays and we’ve been seeing huge demand and great feedback from our users.

There are a number of updates in the latest version of Moprise for iPad:

1) Configuring your SharePoint URLs was difficult. Typos, incorrectly spelled subsites, and general complexity entering in long URLs confounded our users.  Now you can simply cut/copy/paste a url from your browser into Moprise’s configuration screen. We use that to find the root of your SharePoint and configure it appropriately.

2) Viewing pictures (jpegs) turned out to be especially important for multiple companies needing iPad access to their SharePoint servers.  Faxes, medical images, team events, and  images for product catalogs were stored in picture libraries so we quickly added support for it.  You will see previews of your images along with the file details to make selection and viewing easier.

3) iPads and SharePoint are being used by field service representatives where offline access was important.  Multiple companies have reference manuals or price lists on SharePoint and use iPads to access them in the field.  In certain situations, connectivity was poor so we had requests for offline access to key files.  Hence the new version supports file favorites which are cached on the iPad and available for offline access.  When you move online, we will synchronize the latest files back to the iPad.  The size of the offline cache is also adjustable in the settings menu.

4) Airprint support is now available in the business edition.  This works with the latest HP Photosmart ePrint enabled printers.  Apple and HP have done a really slick job making printing easy without installing and configuring printer drivers. Our customers can easily move between locations and print on their nearest printer.  Earlier blog posts contain more details on Airprint.

I hope you enjoy using Moprise for iPad and iPhone. Please keep the feedback coming.  And we’re wishing you all a great 2011.

Written by daviddsouza

January 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Bring your own phone to work

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At Microsoft, personally, I never used a company owned phone - I always purchased the latest and greatest and used it against the corporate email system.  At the time, the phone of choice was Windows Mobile but now it’s the iPhone.  The Microsoft Exchange servers allowed corporate IT to enforce password strength, PIN codes, quotas, wipe the device, and overall access to the email system from any device - phone or laptop - made no difference from an IT perspective. One phone for both home and work allowed me to be instantly accessible and able to answer my email in real time - corporate or personal.  I paid for my own voice & data plan - just as I paid for my car, gas, and internet connection despite using them for both work & home roles.  If there was some particularly expensive task done on behalf of the company, usually an international trip or international phone call, I would submit an expense report. Corporate discounts were negotiated with wireless carriers that we could subscribe to with proof of employment yet individuals still retained responsibility for their plan and monthly payment.

When running a team at Microsoft, we initially had department owned phones & pagers for members of the team.  It was an expense that was hard to track and control. Phones were lost or broken and plans were never canceled.  Devices were purchased on maximal not continuous need - so much of the time, devices were  sitting idle.  Lack of familiarity with the device often rendered it useless - forgetting to turn it on, difficult to enable/disable ring volume, missing or outdated phone numbers in the contact list, and non-intuitive user interfaces.  Finally, when we did need to call someone on the “developer of the week phone”, we would try both their company provided pager/phone as well as their personal phone.  It became obvious to everyone, corporate owned devices were a relic and universally, the corporation switched to individually owned devices and plans.

Thanks to the power of apps, today I have even more personal and corporate data on my iPhone - allowing me to be more efficient at home and at work.  The Bloomberg article above suggests the most conservative of disciplines, bankers and financial services companies, are switching to iPhones & Google phones and more importantly, personally owned devices.

Written by daviddsouza

September 10, 2010 at 8:31 am

Posted in Mobile Workforce


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