iOS 6 has lots of business potential, but having a plan about rolling it out is critical.
With the release of iOS 6, Apple will offer business users a range of new features. A few of which are VIP email filtering (already in Mountain Lion) with custom notifications, more options when declining a phone call on the iPhone, much-needed privacy options, and Apple’s new Do Not Disturb feature – which should help some mobile professionals to “switch off” after work and maybe even get a good night’s sleep.
iOS updates are generally designed to be user-friendly and easy enough that anyone can manage to install them. As with any major OS or business critical software upgrade, however, there may be unforeseen issues with iOS 6 – particularly when it comes to internal iOS apps and iOS access to enterprise systems.
An iOS 6 upgrade policy and strategy is something that every IT department should have in place before Apple releases iOS 6. For businesses that actively support user devices in the workplace through a BYOD (bring your own device) program, that upgrade strategy is even more critical.
iOS 6 will deliver a lot of business features, but what about enterprise/IT integration?
It’s been over two years since Apple unveiled iOS 4 with mobile management features designed to make the iPhone and iPad a significantly better corporate citizen. During those years, the landscape of business and enterprise mobility has changed dramatically. RIM has collapsed and will never truly recover, Microsoft has doubled down on the interface it launched late in 2010 with no guarantee of success, and Android has become much more enterprise friendly. Perhaps more important is the fact that idea of mobile management and security has shifted from a focus on devices to a focus on securing data and managing mobile apps.
As all this has happened, Apple’s mobile management framework, which is the system that all mobile management vendors plug into in order to secure and manage iOS devices, has essentially stagnated. With iOS 6 on the horizon, lets look at the areas that Apple needs to address if it wants iOS to remain one of the preferred mobile platforms for business.
Business to business app development is likely to be a growing enterprise trend. Apple has a solution, even if it isn’t yet a perfect one.
According a study released earlier this month, Apple’s iOS is becoming the most popular platform for enterprise app development – with 53.2% of developers picking iOS for corporate app development compared to 37.4% of developers standing behind Android. RIM’s BlackBerry, the old guard of enterprise mobility, came in a distant fourth behind Windows Phone with only 2% of developers supporting it.
That’s great news for Apple and the iPhone and iPad in business and enterprise environments. Apple even makes enterprise distribution possible outside of the App Store. Mobile App Management (MAM) and enterprise app store solutions provide efficient and effective distribution and update methods for enterprise apps.
Business to business (B2B) apps and solutions, however, present a different kind of challenge – one for which Apple has a solution, even if it isn’t a perfect solution.
Mobile app management vendor Apperian responds to our post on the future of mobile management.
Earlier this week, I took a look at the ways mobile management has changedsince Apple introduced mobile management features in iOS 4 two years ago. The biggest change has been the evolution of what constitutes effective and secure mobile management, which has shifted from securing the physical and operating system features of iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices to securing the business data that is stored on those devices. That shift has refocused IT leaders and professionals on the need to secure data by securing mobile apps – a type of solution referred to as mobile app management or MAM.
Our friends over at Apperian, one of the major MAM vendors, decided to share their thoughts with me (and you) in a video. Check it out after the jump.
Mobile management is no longer about just device management. App management is now a crucial part of the equation as well.
When Apple released iOS 4 two years ago, with a framework for device management built into the OS, the focus of IT departments and security specialists was to activate, configure, and lock down iPhones and iPad as well as other mobile devices. Mobile device management (MDM) was the big iOS-in-business buzz word for quite some time. Over the past several months, however, the discussion around mobile management has shifted significantly as a new concept has become the IT mantra for mobile devices.
That new concept is Mobile app management (MAM) and it has come to be seen as a critical part of supporting and securing mobile devices (including iPhones and iPads) in business. MAM has a different focus from mobile device management (MDM).
In the office or on the road, iOS business users have high expectations for IT and internal business apps.
One of the unique traits around iOS devices used in business and enterprise environments is that users have much higher expectations for mobile tools and processes than they do for traditional PC applications, processes, and user experiences. That’s true whether the device is employee-owned or provided by an employer.
It’s easy to see why most iPhone and iPad users have these higher standards. With iOS, Apple has created a platform that is app-driven and offers an incredible selection of apps to users. Apple, and many iOS developers, have done an amazing job of getting rid of anything that stands between the iOS user and the experience of content that they are watching, reading, or creating. That delivers an immersive experience that is unlike the vast majority business or productivity tools loaded on workplace PCs.
Symantec “lost smartphone” simulation shows most people would try to access corporate data and apps on a lost device.
The bring your own device (BYOD) movement and the broader trend of increased mobile solutions are driving a very ambivalent dialog in most business, schools, and government agencies. On one hand, iPhones, iPads, and other mobile technologies are increasing user productivity and satisfaction (often while improving customer engagement). On the other hand, many devices contain sensitive data and are far from being truly secure.
A handful of studies released over the past few days highlight the often-schizophrenic nature of the discussions taking place in many workplaces – including on experiment that showed 83% of individuals finding a lost corporate smartphone would attempt to access corporate data on it.
Even if an app is for inside your business, it needs to deliver an insanely great user experience.
Almost every major company has plans to develop a range of iOS apps (if they haven’t created some already). In fact, one of the reasons that enterprise app stores are becoming as popular as they are in business is that they fulfill two critical needs. One of those is to easily distribute internal apps to staff members. (The other is to point users to suggested or required apps from Apple’s App Store.)
One thing that every company developing an internal app needs to keep in mind is that users are becoming more tech savvy and comfortable selecting and using iOS apps. That can be a good thing for the whole enterprise app store concept. It let’s users choose and manage their selection of apps on their own without help from IT.
It also means that most iOS users are sophisticated enough to know when an app is poorly designed. That places an extra burden on anyone developing iOS apps, particularly if there are equivalent public apps that users can install as partial or complete replacements for a poorly built internal app.
Instead of saving money, most IT directors expect BYOD will significantly increase IT expenses
Despite the fact that BYOD is often perceived as a way to reduce technology expenses, nearly three-quarters (73%) of IT managers expect that BYOD will have the opposite effect. The big fear is that BYOD will cause IT spending to spiral out of control.
That’s the news from enterprise technology vendor Damovo UK. The company recently surveyed100 IT directors from organizations with more than 1,000 users about their feelings on BYOD and how it is being implemented in their organization.
One major reason for potentially uncontrolled expenses boils down companies losing bargaining power with carriers as employees begin purchasing their own iPhones or Android handsets. While the cost of the device isn’t likely to be passed on to an employer, monthly costs for voice and data service may be a different story. With unlimited data plans slowly going the way of the dodo, many workers may not want to shoulder data bills associated with their jobs, which may lead to a shared expense model.
If Apple is planning a major iTunes update, IT pros have a few things on their iTunes/iOS wish list
Various reports indicate that Apple is working on a major overhaul of iTunes that it plans to launch later this year. Those reports indicate that the update will be focused on consumer-oriented features like improved app/content discovery, music and media sharing, and greater iCloud integration. There’s also the possibility that Apple might split out some iTunes features into separate apps much like the company has done in iOS – the most recent example being the Podcasts app that it launched earlier this week.
Splitting iTunes into discrete parts is an attractive prospect, particularly for businesses and IT professionals. iTunes has become a bloated hodgepodge of functionality over the years. As a result, IT departments typically face a conundrum about whether to support or even allow employees with iOS devices to use iTunes on workplace computers.