Browsing Posts published in August, 2011

This is the fourth and final use case (for now) that we are publishing. All of these will also be available up on our web site shortly. And as we gather more insight from customers and how they are using mobilEcho we will publish those as well – Anders.

Collaboration within enterprises is at an all-time high with the advent of new technologies to accelerate the process. Enterprise mobility introduces a new set of issues as users are no longer locked to their desktop or laptop. The introduction of new devices – tablets and smartphones – has necessitated a new set of technologies to address the issue of anytime, anywhere access.

With some mobile devices, like iPad and iPhone, the lack of a native file system or method to distribute files, and different versions of files, to a group of people, has inhibited any true mobile collaboration within a team. Many users, lacking a real solution to the problem, found workarounds in using consumer synching services which provide some, albeit limited, ability to collaborate across teams and different lines of businesses. However, although simple to use, consumer synching services not only limit IT’s ability to manage file sharing and access, but pose a severe security risk for violating corporate governance and compliance policies.

An alternative option? Build custom applications for various mobile-driven collaboration efforts. But much of the collaboration needs to be done on standard file types and is occasionally informal in nature. Custom apps may not support all file types nor provide the simple methods that users are accustomed to when working from their desktop or laptop. In addition, this approach requires additional cost which usually involves a long time to market as well as custom development and maintenance which results in skyrocketing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), limited return and an unproductive user learning curve.

The Solution: mobilEcho
mobilEcho is the industry’s first and only Mobile File Management (MFM) software for enterprise mobile device users. mobilEcho enables enterprise IT to provide secure access to enterprise file servers for users of mobile devices like iPad and iPhone, eliminating the need for work-arounds like emailing files to yourself or storing critical enterprise files in unsecure consumer synch services.

Collaboration usually takes the form of working on particular files – documents, presentations, spreadsheets and other file types. And it can take place anywhere, any time. The benefit of mobilEcho is that it extends the office beyond its physical four walls, and gives users the same access to files on corporate file servers that they have in the office. There is no need to develop a new mobile application, no need to buy new storage and servers to make files accessible solely for mobile devices. GroupLogic’s mobilEcho works on your existing file servers and files to give users the same access they have on their desktops and laptops.

With mobilEcho, employees can use shared folders to store files for collaboration. The files can then be accessed from anywhere, whether it’s through a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Users can review and edit files from a mobile device, and, then, save the file back to the shared folder. Employees can even save a file locally to the device, if IT opts to configure that permission, so they can work on it offline.

Significant productivity can be gained as mobile employees now have the same access they have in the office. The team is able to move forward with projects regardless of where the employee is. In addition, IT is empowered with the security and management capabilities it needs to effectively implement and administer the solution. mobilEcho addresses the security requirements by providing key features such as encryption, integration with Active Directory, and remote wipe capability. Further, mobilEcho addresses management requirements by providing an array of administrator-configurable settings and policies through its server-side management console.

Benefits to the user and the enterprise:
• Improved productivity as employees can now collaborate anytime, anywhere in a very simple, familiar manner
• Access to critical, detailed information on-the-go that goes beyond the packaged templates of third-party mobile applications.
• Improved collaboration between employees by making the mobile device an extension of the physical office.
• Ensures proper security and compliance for sensitive business data.
• Provides key management functionality to provide the appropriate end-user functions.

 The third in a series of posts on various use cases for mobilEcho we are seeing from our customers.  Next week we will post the fourth piece on collaboration – Anders

Secure Access to Corporate Documents Improves First-Call Resolution and SLA Compliance

Field workers – from asset maintenance to service professionals—have a demand for mobile applications that improve their productivity and provide them with the information required to resolve service issues on the first call, meet SLAs (service level agreements) and track billing, order entry and inventory information accurately. Whether they are responding to reactive maintenance issues or resolving pre-scheduled customer requests, access to customer and equipment information (including history) and time tracking software is critical to efficient and profitable operations.

Today, there are many software providers and platforms that provide robust and configurable productivity applications to field service organizations that help streamline the workflow and capture essential information like customer signatures, time spent and parts used with a host of technologies, from barcode scanning to geo-tagging.

However, field service personnel cannot rely solely on field service applications on iPad, iPhone or other mobile devices to meet every work requirement. Just like every other employee, field workers need access to documents that reside on corporate file servers such as timesheets, marketing materials, equipment manuals, human resources documents, incident reports, and compliance documents to fully meet their day-to-day responsibilities. But, the challenge has been how to provide this access to the mobile workforce in a simple, secure and managed way.

Some personnel will find workarounds to this problem by using consumer synch services. This introduces a host of problems including setting the corporation up for significant security and compliance risk.

The Solution: mobilEcho
As the industry’s first and only Mobile File Management (MFM) software for enterprise iPad users, mobilEcho enables enterprise IT to provide secure access to enterprise file servers. With mobilEcho, enterprises can empower their mobile workforce with all the files – document, spreadsheets, presentations, and other file types – that they require in their day-to-day job functions.

mobilEcho offers a better alternative to custom built mobile applications. Rather than reinventing the wheel, organizations can leverage existing content by making it accessible in minutes to all of their iPad users. It also allows personnel to store documents locally so that they still have access to their files even when they’re offline. Equipment manuals, marketing material, product specs and other critical documents can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

Obviously, the end-user benefits from these features, but so does the enterprise. mobilEcho provides the key management and security needs for the enterprise, while also providing a very simple method for participants to access files without any training necessary.

Benefits to Field Service Users:
• Access to critical documents to improve employee productivity.
• Improved collaboration with other LOBs, like sales, inventory management, dispatch and others.
• Access to detailed information on the go that goes beyond the packaged templates of mobile workforce applications.
• Ensures proper security and compliance for sensitive business data.

The second in a series of use cases we are seeing with mobilEcho customers. Will publish a third in the next week or so – Anders

New portable computing devices like iPad have re-invigorated the enterprise move toward the “paperless” office. In addition to benefits like improved collaboration and reduced IT Management costs, many companies are looking at tablets to help them with corporate-wide Green initiatives that reduce carbon footprint through the elimination of paper consumption.

One of the obvious enterprise areas where iPad and other tablets can help reduce paper consumption and promoter a leaner and greener business is with participants in meetings and presentations. Instead of printing out reams of papers, which is both time consuming and not eco-friendly, participants can use iPads as an alternative to paper.
There is no doubt there are clear benefits to moving to an electronic format but this also necessitates that a number of functions become available. For example, for meetings of a confidential nature there has to be a way to remotely wipe files from an iPad or to limit the user’s ability to move or copy a file. Another example is the ability to update documents for meetings that are held regularly. Files need to be updated centrally and then easily accessed by participants.

 

The Solution: mobilEcho
Meeting material can take many forms – documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other formats – any meeting material solution needs to support these formats. GroupLogic’s mobilEcho provides the flexibility to address most file formats and provides the key functionality to provide the security and management of meeting materials that is required by enterprises. mobilEcho is the industry’s first and only Mobile File Management (MFM) software for enterprise iPad users. mobilEcho enables enterprise IT to provide secure access to enterprise file servers for iPad users, eliminating the need for work-arounds like emailing files to yourself or storing critical enterprise files in unsecure consumer synch services.

Meeting administrators can simply utilize “meeting folders” on file servers to upload meeting materials. Users can then access these files from their iPad by connecting to the “meeting folder.” The administrators can decide what level of access the users should have – read only, ability to store or not store locally on iPad, ability to open up files in other apps, etc. In short, mobilEcho provides the key management and security needs for the enterprise, while also providing a very simple method for participants to access files without any training necessary.

Benefits to the user and the enterprise:
• Supports Green Initiatives and carbon footprint reductions.
• Eliminates the costs of printing and paper.
• Simplified updating of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
• Easily enforce access rights and permissions to meeting materials for assured policy compliance.
• Improved security policy and document management regardless of lost or compromised devices with mobilEcho features like read-only and remote wipe.
• Reduced IT management time and headaches with one cohesive solution.
• Deployment and scalability guaranteed with advanced and intuitive management tools that provide immediate integration with existing ecosystem.

As noted in my last posting, this is the first of several mobilEcho use cases we will be publishing over the next few weeks. These will demonstrate just a few of the ways that customers are using mobilEcho in their enterprises. Today, these are more or less more horizontally-focused but over time we expect to see vertical-focused usage as well – Anders

Empowering Decision Making with Anytime, Anywhere Access
From the small business to the Fortune 500, an enterprise’s mobility strategy is driven often by the earliest adopters of the latest and greatest mobile devices and platforms—senior executives. Providing mobile access to crucial applications like email and Personal Information Management (PIM) is a required component of enabling anytime business communication for the management team. Also essential, but not often provided by IT because of security concerns, is mobile access to corporate files and content that are required to operate the business, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more.

When it comes to supporting iPad, the challenge for IT organizations increases exponentially. The popular tablet lacks a native file system which makes accessing, interacting and moving files from a corporate network to the device in a simple, secure and managed manner difficult. To further complicate things, many users resort to work-around solutions that compromise corporate security such as storing corporate assets in third-party consumer synching solutions or emailing files to themselves. These work-arounds are extremely dangerous as they expose the enterprise to data leakage and other security risks, raising questions about regulatory compliance and corporate governance. Further, they are simply not productive for the end-user nor are scalable for the enterprise.

The Solution: mobilEcho
The enterprise mobility challenges faced by IT organizations in providing mobile file access are not only common, but frustrating. Most IT managers are struggling to answer the simple question: How do I provide a simple solution for the end-user, as well as a solution that meets the security and management criteria of the IT organization?

The answer is mobilEcho, the industry’s first and only secure Mobile File Management (MFM) product for enterprise iPad users.

With mobilEcho, enterprises can take full advantage of the power and freedom of iPad by providing access to corporate files, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other file types. It meets the simplicity requirements for the end-user by using a very familiar interface paradigm that requires no training. On the security front, mobilEcho provides key features such as encryption, integration with Active Directory, and remote wipe capability. And, it addresses IT management requirements by providing an array of administrator-configurable settings and policies through its server-side management console that keeps deployment time under ten minutes and on-going cost of ownership low. In addition, mobilEcho’s support for Network Reshares and Distributed File Systems (DFS) ensure that the largest organizations can deploy globally and support increased use of iPad in their enterprises. With mobilEcho, executives can now access files just like they would with a laptop or desktop. Furthermore, they are able to store files locally on iPad to be accessed offline. For example, one can download documents before a flight and then access those files offline while on the plane. mobilEcho is not only a secure mobile access solution but also a secure mobile file storage solution that promotes efficiency without sacrificing security.

Benefits to the user and the enterprise:
• Anytime, anywhere access to critical corporate documents
• Easy and intuitive to use for added productivity and instant communication of senior management
• Improved collaboration between business units with real time information.
• Enforcement of proper security and compliance for sensitive business data.
• Simple and fast deployment and configuration for ease of use.
• Instant integration with Active Directory ensures security and user policies are enforced.

One of the things that we are always being asked for internally is use cases. With mobilEcho that has not been a problem as we are constantly talking to our customers and potential customers about their enterprise mobility strategies and how they use (or would like to use) mobilEcho. Since a lot of this is the great new frontier with iPads and other devices, use cases have either run all over the place or are very industry, or company, specific. However, early on we did start seeing a few consistent themes that kept popping up. In the next few weeks, I will start outlining these on this blog to give you some insight into the kind of requests we are getting. Obviously this is a bit of a moving target as new ideas are always coming up.

What prompted this was that my wife came back from the hairdresser and told me that they gave her an iPad to look at while she was waiting. I suppose this is an obvious substitute for the magazines that always sit around in places where you have to wait (doctor, dentist, barber, etc.). But it made me start to think about some not-so-obvious uses of enterprise mobility and mobilEcho. I have some ideas on this that I will share after we have presented the main use cases we are seeing today.

One thing to remember is that we provide simple, secure and managed enterprise Mobile File Management (MFM). This is targeted at companies that have security, compliance, governance and management needs.  These use cases are from companies that care about these important factors.

The four primary use cases are as follows:

  1. Empowering Decision Making with Anytime, Anywhere Access – this was initially focused on execs who were bringing iPads into the office and demanded that IT support them. I think this has broadened well beyond execs at this point.
  2. Field Personnel Retrieve Secure Access to Critical Documents, Improving Productivity and SLA Compliance  – this is an obvious one where remote personnel need access to product documentation, for example, and needs online and offline access. This can be further broken down into Field Support and Field Sales which have some different needs.
  3. Driving Team Collaboration with Mobility – general team collaboration extended beyond the desktop/laptop to mobile devices.
  4. iPad Accelerates the Paperless Office Movement – the initial focus here was on board meetings with the ability to allow access to information and then wipe it afterwards. But this has far greater applicability beyond the board. I have even heard of companies where they will provide all documentation via iPad for their annual sales meetings. This includes giving all the sales reps iPads. Apparently cheaper than printing. So it also has a green angle on it as well. The related use case is in the education market with things like digital textbooks.

So in the next few weeks I will publish these on our blog and then also make them available on our website (www.grouplogic.com). And as I mentioned I have also started to keep track of other use cases that have come up or we have thought of that are not yet fully baked that we’ll present here for discussion.

Also, you can follow me on twitter @andersgl.