Category Archives: enterprise mobility

UK retailer Boots deputizes in-store app to capitalize on mobility trends

UK retailer Boots has announced it has launched a new app, Sales Assist, to make it easier and simpler for customers to get hold of the products they need.

The app itself is based on the upward trends of customers using devices to gain better value for their pounds as they shop on the high street. By incorporating iPads in a number of shops throughout the UK the app is supporting the retailer’s vision is to use mobility to change the way customers shop.

“At Boots UK we’re investing in innovative new technology to further improve the retail experience for our customers, and mobility is at the forefront of this transformation,” said Robin Phillips, Director of Omnichannel and Development at Boots UK. “By developing Sales Assist, in collaboration with IBM and Apple, and launching it on the 3,700 iPads in our stores, we’re integrating our digital and in-store presence to deliver an even better shopping environment for customers.

“The unique tool allows our colleagues to quickly show product information, ratings and reviews, look up inventory online and make recommendations based on online analytics, all from the shop floor. It will help even our smallest stores feel like a flagship shop, with access to the entire Boots range at their fingertips.”

Boots is using Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, to link Sales Assist with the company’s applications and data. The app itself links into the database allowing shop assistants to locate items, but also use the power of analytics to drive recommendations and impulse buys. The team have not stated how the app will be evolved in the future, though there is the potential for artificial intelligence to be incorporated to drive additional sales in and out of the store.

DT keeps data out of US reach with new mobility platform

UnternehmerinA Deutsche Telekom subsidiary has announced a new cloud-based Enterprise Mobility Management offering called Hosted MDM Basic, which has been built on MobileIron’s Cloud platform.

The offering will be hosted in Deutsche Telekom data centres located in Germany, using MobileIron’s platform, will create a Data Trustee proposition, which complies with German data protection rules, generally considered to be the strictest throughout the EU. The Data Trustee model was coined during the Microsoft’s dispute with the US government over access of data held by the company in its Dublin data centre.

Deutsche Telekom acted as a ‘trustee’ of the data, meaning employees could not access the data without consent from the Telco. The arrangement aims to put the data of Microsoft’s European customers outside the reach of the US government and its intelligence agencies.

The on-going discussion surrounding data transmission, access and residency has been a challenging area, following the European Court of Justice’s decision to dismiss the Safe Harbour agreement. The subsequent proposition, US-EU Privacy Shield, has also been dismissed by a number of individuals throughout the EU, as it apparently still does not offer the required levels of security and assurance. The Data Trustee model is seemingly a means for companies taking data protection into their own hands, as they do not appear to be willing to wait for assurances from the US.

“Mobile technology gives us the ability to get data and act on it more quickly so organizations that are serious about using mobile technologies can dramatically increase their velocity,” said Barry Mainz, CEO at MobileIron. “Our integration with Telekom Deutschland combines MobileIron’s industry-leading mobile security platform with Telekom Deutschland’s data trustee capabilities.”

The company claims the offering provides simplified security and control of Android, iOS and Windows devices, but also manages mobile apps, content, and devices, automatically enforce policies, and retire mobile devices when they are lost or when an employee leaves the company.

Citrix and Microsoft team up to tackle enterprise mobility

Silhouette Businessman Holding PuzzleCitrix has expanded its partnership with Microsoft as the team aim to capitalize on flexible working and enterprise mobility trends.

Speaking at Citrix Synergy in Las Vegas, CEO Kirill Tatarinov outlined objectives to meet the needs of the modern workforce with application and desktop virtualisation in the cloud, network delivery and enterprise mobility management. Citrix has selected Azure as the preferred and strategic cloud for its future roadmap and the team will work to develop new integrations between Citrix XenMobile, NetScaler and the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, to improve efficiency and data security.

“Companies of all sizes across all industries around the world have an amazing opportunity to embrace digital transformation and empower their people to work productively from anywhere at any time,” said Kirill Tatarinov, CEO of Citrix. “Our customers are asking Citrix and Microsoft to work closer together to help them fully leverage innovations like Windows 10, Office 365 and Azure. This enhanced partnership ensures we can be more agile in responding to our customers’ needs and help them accelerate the move to digital business.”

As part of the partnership, the team will aim to accelerate the deployment of Windows 10 Enterprise within their customer’s organisations. Citrix customers can use AppDNA to aid migration to Windows10 by providing application lifecycle management tools to discover and resolve application compatibility issues, the team claims.

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Citrix NetScaler will integrate with EMS to provide virtual private network capabilities for more secure, identity-based access to on-premises applications on Microsoft Intune-managed devices. Citrix will also offer customers who have purchased Windows Software Assurance on a per-user basis the option to host their Windows 10 Enterprise Current Branch for Business images on Azure through its XenDesktop VDI solution, which the team claim is a first in the industry.

“Our relationship with Citrix has always been founded on the commitment to making our mutual customers successful by empowering their people to be more productive,” said Scott Guthrie, EVP of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft. “By selecting Azure as its preferred and strategic cloud, Citrix is helping companies mobilise their workforces to succeed in today’s highly competitive, disruptive and global business environment.”

Employees not taking advantage of mobility initiatives – survey

Digital Device Tablet Laptop Connection Networking Technology ConceptDespite mobility being one of the top priorities for organizations throughout the world, research from IDC has shown only 13% of those who are given the option actually work from home.

Enterprise mobility has proved to be one of the more prominent trends emerging out of the evolution to cloud-based platforms, as employees aim to create a working environment which encourages innovation and creativity however the study shows the generosity is not being taken advantage of. One statistic which could be seen as an obstacle to adoption is two in five line managers admit they do not want their employees to work from home.

Numerous organizations have highlighted mobility strategies as a priority for coming months, as organizations aim to utilize the power and freedom of cloud based applications to increase the productivity of employees. Findings from 451 Research claims 40% of enterprise organizations are prioritizing mobilization of general business apps over the next two years, as opposed to focusing solely on field services and sales teams. The trends towards mobility are also confirmed when assessing the M&A market. In the mobile device management and mobile middleware segment, 28% of the total deals (21 of 74) and 77% of their total value ($3bn of $3.9bn) over the past decade have occurred over the past two years alone.

Although other research has suggested organizations are shifting to a mobility mind-set, IDC’s study has outlined the drive towards is still in the early adopter stages, despite numerous organizations claiming its importance. The leadership team were particularly critical of considering working from home to be acceptable, as only 43% of employees are confident leadership is fully behind mobility as a concept. Of those who do have the opportunity to work from home, only 14% spend more than half their time outside the office.

From a leadership perspective, new EU regulations regarding the protection, residence and transition of data could have an impact on their attitudes towards mobility, as penalties for non-compliance will be to the tune of €20 million or 4% of the organization’s annual turnover, whichever is greater.

While vendors are striving to improve the efficiency of mobility solutions, as well as championing efforts to make the technologies on the whole more secure, unless the adoption of the mobility culture is increased from the end-user side, there are unlikely to be any changes in the near future. If the statistics remain true, mobility initiatives will not achieve the required ROI, which could have a negative long-term impact on the investments made into the mobility segment on the whole.

Powwownow claim 77% of employees look for flexible working in next job

flexible young businessman stretcht outdoor in a sunny dayIn light of Flexible Working awareness day, Powwownow has released research findings which demonstrate employee desires for mobility and flexible working solutions.

The research highlighted while only 25% of brits have the opportunity to work flexibly, 70% believe the opportunity to do so would improve their relationship with co-workers and 62% state they would be more productive if given the option to work outside of the office. 77% of respondents said a job which offered flexible working options was instantly more attractive.

“Flexible working has become a key area now when people are looking for a job and companies in the UK face losing the top talent if they don’t adapt to this way of working,” said Jason Downes, MD at Powwownow. “With the technology now on offer there is no need for people to have to work in an office from 9-5. This is old fashioned and seemingly unproductive and more needs to be done for this to change.”

The benefits of mobility within the workplace has been well-documented by various research and academic institutions, but claims have been seemingly backed up by the research findings themselves. 58% of respondents believe the choice of when and where to work would enable them to think more creatively, and generally be more motivated.

“It’s coming up to two years since the Flexible Working Law was passed in the UK and while there has been progress made, we still see a reluctance from business leaders in terms of adopting flexible working, despite the benefits now being extremely well publicised,” said Downes. “It’s the culture that needs to change and we hope that days such as this will help decision makers sit up and take notice.”

While the desire for enterprise mobility strategies have been on the rise for both employees and leaders within the IT organization, there are still a number of hurdles, both technological and culturally, before it could be perceived as mainstream. A recent survey from Citrix highlighted employee negligence and indifference to IT policy is one of the most significant inhibitors to cloud security.

Although 45% of workers are likely to use passwords to secure documents at home, this number drops to 35% at work, demonstrating the concerns the IT department will have when looking at any mobility opportunities. Until the security of a company’s data can be guaranteed, enterprise mobility is likely to be continued to be viewed through a wary eye.

IT security still a barrier to public cloud and employee mobility – Dell survey

Dell office logoDell has released the findings from its Data Security Survey which revealed IT decision makers are still not confident enough to encourage mobility or use of public cloud platforms.

Although the pattern over the last few years has been to broaden employee boundaries, increasing flexibility within the working environment, the survey demonstrated that a substantial number of businesses are resisting mobility due to security concerns.

The majority of businesses would claim cyber and cloud security sits at the top of the priority list, and whilst this might be the case, Dell’s survey has highlighted a number of deficiencies across the board.

Over the last 12 months the tech world has been lit up by numerous data breaches, hacks and leaks on both sides of the Atlantic. From TalkTalk to Ashley Madison to Kaspersky Labs, security has once more been highlighted as a major deficiency in the IT world.

Following a number of PR disasters for large scale enterprise throughout the world, 75% of decision makers agree that C-Suite recognises the importance of data security, though only 25% believe that the C-Suite is adequately educated about the issues to make informed decisions. The survey also highlighted that only 25% feel that their leadership has the ability to set suitable budget to tackle the challenges of data security over the next five years.

65% of mid-market companies are freezing plans to increase mobility within their workforce, with 67% resisting BYOD programmes, due to security concerns. The benefits of a mobility strategy, both from an employee satisfaction and productivity perspective, are well documented, though these statistics demonstrate security fears drastically outweigh the benefits. In fact, 82% of decision makers have made attempts to reduce mobility for employees, by decreasing data access points.

On the contrary, only 40% of respondents highlighted that they were actively interested in pursuing opportunities to increase employee mobility.

In terms of public cloud platforms, there does not appear to be a high level of confidence in offerings such as Google Drive. Almost 80% of decision makers said that they would not be confident in uploading critical data to the cloud, 58% highlighted that they believed the threat to be greater than 12 months ago, and 38% restricted access to public cloud sites within their organization.

Another area addressed by the survey is that of Shadow IT. Almost every business will have a strict IT policy in place, though there will still be a proportion of the workforce deems this to prohibit their working day. Despite the concerns of public cloud platforms, 83% of respondents acknowledge that their employees are using such platforms to store or share valuable data.

As these statistics demonstrate, most organizations have not identified the crossroads between security, assumed business risk and productivity, to most effectively enable the workforce.

“Security programs must enable employees to be both secure and productive, and this means enabling technology that helps them do their jobs,” said Brett Hansen, Executive Director, Data Security Solutions for Dell. “Companies can try to limit or prohibit public cloud use, but it’s more effective to use intelligent data encryption to protect corporate data wherever it may go, and reduce the risk of employees working around restrictive policies in order to be productive.”

While the survey demonstrates growth within the cyber and cloud security world, it also highlights a number of restrictions. On the positive side, security is now a priority throughout the business, as opposed to simply in the IT team. It also emphasises a slight overreaction from decision makers who have taken the move of reducing mobility and access to public cloud offerings; two areas which could increase an organization’s competitiveness in an already challenging market.