Browsing Posts tagged Apple in the Enterprise

This week, mobilEcho’s Product Manager, Brian Ulmer, takes over the blog. Thanks, Brian! – Anders

At GroupLogic, we are constantly working to enhance mobilEcho’s ability to provide simple, secure, and managed access to your essential files and documents. We have received lots of feedback and have many great features and enhancements coming soon. A few of these were made available last week with the release of mobilEcho 3.6. This latest version of mobilEcho adds a number of powerful features:

- Bookmarking of frequently used folders for quick ‘shortcut’ access.
- Quickoffice® “Save Back” of edited documents directly to the mobilEcho location they were opened from, either on the device or the server.
- Server-based folders can now be selected for 1-way or 2-way syncing to the device, from within the mobilEcho app. (Don’t worry, IT is still in control. User-creation of sync folders can be disabled using mobilEcho client management policies.)
- iPad Retina display optimized graphics.

The free mobilEcho 3.6 app is available in the App Store and will appear in the App Store app on your iOS device as an update if you already have mobilEcho installed. The mobilEcho 3.6 server software is available as a free trial and as a free update for existing customers with current maintenance & support contracts.

We look forward to hearing more feedback. Please let us know what you think at mobilEcho@grouplogic.com.

Last week we introduced mobilEcho 3.5, the latest version of our Mobile File Management solution. In this version we introduced a number of new features including:

• Two-way syncing of files;
• HTTPS Reverse Proxy password and certificate authentication;
• Streamlined device enrollment process;
• Integration with Quickoffice’s “Save Back” feature; and
• Whitelisting or blacklisting of third party apps allowed to “Open In.”

One of the things we continue to hear from our customers loud and clear is the need for security. Many of the features that we have introduced with 3.5 have their origins in requests from customers that were security-related. HTTPS Reverse Proxy password and certificate authentication enables requiring two-factor authentication which is a frequent request, especially from financial services companies. Integration with Quickoffice and their “Save Back” feature allows a user to access a document in mobilEcho, use “Open In” to open the doc in Quickoffice, edit it, and then save it back to mobilEcho. This also sets the stage for some other cool things we will be able to do in the future. The whitelisting and blacklisting was yet another request by customers, many in regulated industries. The IT and Security departments want the ability to limit the apps that can be used to open a file from mobilEcho. Again, the demand from the enterprise is to ensure that mobile users are not employing non-sanctioned tools so that they can limit their security and compliance exposure.

This is not to minimize the introduction of two-way syncing or the improved enrollment process. For example, the one-way syncing feature we’ve had since last year has been extremely well received by our customers. One hailed as the feature that made mobilEcho a true “business platform.” With the introduction of two-way syncing the ability to collaborate on files is even greater with mobilEcho.

As I have noted in past posts, this is a continuing theme for mobilEcho and it will continue to be a theme for a long time. We have many more exciting features we will be rolling out in the next few months so stay tuned…

Today we announced a new version of our ExtremeZ-IP solution. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3 we continue to provide the only true solution for seamless integration of Mac Computers and Windows servers. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3, we continue to make performance improvements and other enhancements that make ExtremeZ-IP the cornerstone of any enterprise Mac and Windows server strategy.

Today, thousands of organizations are using ExtremeZ-IP to meet their business needs. Historically, these have been concentrated in what I would call core Apple strongholds – advertising, media and entertainment, print/publishing, graphic designers, other creative fields, and education – but over the last two years we have seen an increase in interest from non-traditional verticals. This is partially due to the BYOD/Consumerization trend where employees are now either demanding to be able to use Mac Computers at their work or IT departments that are seeing the benefits of allowing employees to choose their platform. ExtremeZ-IP makes this decision a lot easier by providing the seamless integration required to avoid unnecessary help desk calls, performance issue, file corruption issues, incompatibilities and to maintain the integrity of the Mac user experience. With ExtremeZ-IP 7.3, we make this decision even easier.

Another reason for the growth of Mac Computers has been the halo effect of the iPad and iPhone. Clearly, these two products have given Apple unprecedented visibility, and many enterprises have taken a second look at their approach to Apple products. This InfoWorld article, amongst many others, lays it out pretty well from a numbers perspective. And certainly yesterday’s Apple results showed that Mac’s presence in the marketplace is accelerating.

Another interesting item that crossed my desk a few weeks ago was data combining iPad and Mac and showing how adding in iPad drastically changes how you look at Apple. I know this topic gets people all riled up on whether or not iPad is replacing or augmenting desktops/laptops. I don’t think it’s an either/or scenario. But there is no doubt it is having an impact. Far more interesting is that PC sales are decreasing and Mac sales are increasing. And it’s not a subtle difference; it’s very significant. This article from Fortune does a good job of showing the impact and the trajectory. Please note that the second graph is the correct chart and that this chart came out before yesterday’s results.

From our point of view, we are in the business of supporting new platforms as they get implemented in the enterprise. We have done that for over 10 years with ExtremeZ-IP and today we continued and enhanced our support. With the increase of Mac usage in the enterprise there are many more opportunities in front of us. With mobilEcho, iPad and iPhone can also now be integrated into any environment. At the heart of what we are doing its really not just about platforms, but really about giving users seamless access to files with a lot of value add functionality and an enterprise focus on security and management.

Stay tuned for more new stuff from us in the next couple of months. Things are going to be happening very quickly…

Today we announced a new partnership with Salesforce.com and are pleased to report that mobilEcho is now listed on the Salesforce AppExchange Mobile. Over the past few months we have been working on an integration with Salesforce.com which will allow companies to empower their field sales force to take full advantage of their iPads and iPhones. mobilEcho users already have access to all the documents and content they need to do their jobs. This new Salesforce.com feature will allow mobilEcho to optionally require a user to log an activity in an Account or Lead when showing a customer a specific file using mobilEcho. So for example, a salesperson could be showing a presentation or data sheet and that activity can then be directly logged into Salesforce.com. This helps with productivity and it also helps enterprises get more accurate, up to date client activities.

This is especially relevant for regulated industries, such as finance, healthcare, pharma, biotech, insurance, energy, government and others, who want to be able to provide secure mobile file access for their field forces utilizing Salesforce.com. And it fits nicely into one of the mobile use cases we still see constantly: the remote sales force or service personnel.

As a followup to my last blog post, Forrester recently published a really interesting research report on Macs in the Enterprise called “People Are Bringing Macs To Work — It’s Time To
Repeal Prohibition”
by David K. Johnson. The basic premise of the article is that people want to use their Macs for and that IT departments should let them. And it goes through several steps and solutions for customers to use when considering or implementing Macs in the Enterprise. Needless to say we not only agree with this but see it every day with our ExtremeZ-IP customers.

I was also very interested to see the slew of comments that accommodated this report. There were a few articles written about this report but the one that took my notice was the ArsTechnica article. They wrote up an extensive article on the report and I spent some time reading the commentary which make for interesting and entertaining reading. The first article is here and then they wrote a followup piece this week which you can read here. There are hundreds of comments but you can see that this subject definitely brings out some passionate responses.

As I have written about before there is certainly a core group of Mac users that typically are in advertising, media & entertainment, print/publishing or any of the creative fields. And there are the Education users and all the home users that would love to use a Mac at work. What we are seeing now are the non-traditional verticals also embracing the Mac. There are lots of reasons for this trend. Consumerization of IT is one. Another is the growing role of Apple in the Enteprise, as iPhones and iPads have made significant inroads. We have seen this with our mobilEcho Mobile File Management solution.  This has resulted in a halo effect and a reconsideration of the Mac as an enterprise client. I am sure there are other trends and they all overlap and intersect at various points.

I expect to see more analyst reports and articles on this subject. As David K. Johnson, the author of the report points out, forward-thinking enterprises will embrace this trend. Others who do not do so at their own peril.

Again, if you are interested in reading the report you can get download it here.

Windows IT Pro magazine recently completed a review of our ExtremeZ-IP solution and gave it 4.5 out of 5! Needless to say, we are pretty excited about this and just wanted to share this article. ExtremeZ-IP is used by thousands of organizations around the world and is considered by many to be the gold standard for providing seamless file access for Macintosh clients in Windows server environments. It simply takes care of all the problems, big and small, that users encounter when trying to integrate these two disparate worlds. And the Windows IT Pro review confirms what these thousands of customers already know – it solves their problems.

In the year since I joined the company I have seen some interesting trends in our ExtremeZ-IP customers. While we have always been strong in the obvious Mac fields – education, advertising, print/publishing, media &entertainment, and other creative fields – we are also seeing other companies in non-traditional verticals opening up to the idea of supporting the Mac. So we are seeing the evolution of IT consumerization right before our very eyes. And we see the same thing with the Apple in the Enterprise trend. We see it both on the desktop/laptop side with our ExtremeZ-IP business as well as on the mobility side with our mobilEcho business. The interest level in ExtremeZ-IP (as measured by leads) has almost doubled over the last year. We are seeing more interest now than we have ever seen. The pace really started to accelerate with the introduction of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and we see no sign of this slowing down.

And it’s easy to see why this is happening. ExtremeZ-IP provides true enterprise integration of Macintosh clients into Windows server environments, and addresses all the key issues, including:
• Compatibility – problems with file corruption, file permissions, application lockups and file names disappear.
• Performance – ExtremeZ-IP consistently provides a higher performing experience than competitive solutions.
• Maintains the Mac experience for the user – ExtremeZ-IP ensures Mac users maintain the full range of the Mac experience, such as spotlight search, whereas other solutions result in degraded user functionality
• Management and security – for the IT organization, management is made easy and security is maintained with integration into Active Directory.

So if you get a chance take a look at the Windows IT Pro review. Or better yet, just download our free trial and take it for a spin yourself.

Today we announced mobilEcho 3.0. This new release, which is available immediately from the Apple App Store (client) and our website (server), adds several critical components to mobilEcho. These components are a direct result of the feedback we have received from customers since the May launch of the initial mobilEcho product. This release not only greatly expands the number of devices we can run on; it also significantly expands the flexibility and the use of the product.

Let’s review a few of the key features:
• Now supports iPad and iPhone
o This has been something that has been requested by a number of our customers. mobilEcho can now be run on your iPhone. And we are not charging anything extra for this as we now license by user. So a user can have an iPad and iPhone and it’s one price.
• Comprehensive PDF preview and annotation providing users a completely secure method to review, comment, and annotate documents while meeting corporate security, compliance and governance standards (available on iPad only)
o This is a great feature for those security and compliance-aware organizations that do not want docs floating out of the security of the sandbox. This allows users to preview, annotate and provide commentary on PDFs and then put them back on the server.
• Direct access to the employee’s unique Active Directory assigned home directory.
o This makes the use of home directories much easier for IT and users. Enhances access to desktop documents.
• Support for automatic one-way sync from the server to the employee device, for easy access to the latest document changes when offline.
o This is a great feature for those one-to-many file distribution situations. The best examples are for a remote sales force where they need to access documents that are frequently changed. With the syncing capability, organizations can ensure that their mobile sales force, their service personnel or other similar groups, always have access to the most up to date information from their mobile devices.
• Centrally managed simplified device enrollment.
o With the larger installations (1000s of devices) this feature is imperative so that IT is not spending tons of time on deployment and implementation.
• Enhanced management features that include per-device status tracking, remote wipe and password reset.
o Again, functionality that will greatly simplify the management tasks for IT but also given them the tools that give them greater flexibility in their mobilEcho deployments.

There is more than this but I thought I’d just highlight some of the features that I think are most noteworthy.

And we are already working on our next release so we are very interested in hearing any feedback you may have. As I have mentioned before, our roadmap is guided by our customers and we are in constant discussions to prioritize the right feature/functions.

You can learn more about mobilEcho 3.0 at our webcast next week which is on Wednesday Nov 2 at 11 am EDT. You can register here.

As always, we look forward to hearing any feedback or comments.

Today we put out a press release on a customer success story with Bedford Industries and their implementation of mobilEcho. You can read more here. I spoke to Royce back in early September and one of the things that I quickly realized during our conversation was that Royce and Bedford’s experience with mobilEcho was exactly how we envisioned the product.

First of all, Bedford has been a long time GroupLogic customer using our ExtremeZ-IP solution to provide seamless integration of Mac clients in Windows server environments. So we had a happy longtime customer that was now facing the prospect of integrating iPads into their enterprise. mobilEcho and its Mobile File Managements (MFM) functionality was a perfect fit for their organization. They wanted to give access to files that sat on corporate servers to their salespeople. The same access that they had in the office they wanted to give to them when they were out of the office and using their iPads. But they wanted to do so in a secure manner and they wanted to have IT remain in control. mobilEcho was the perfect fit. I recall Royce telling me that the iPad was valuable on its own but mobilEcho made it even more valuable. And he cited examples where it’s already had an impact on business because now people in the field have access to information from their mobile device that they previously did not have.

We will be publishing more customer success stories over the next few months and I will write about them here as well.

Also, November 2 we will be hosting our monthly live demo and webinar. This one will be a bit different than the other ones as we will be talking about some new stuff that we are very excited about. You can register here or just visit our home page for the link .

Today we announced a new development and marketing partnership with Good Technology where GroupLogic’s secure Mobile File Management (MFM) solution mobilEcho™ will support integration with the Good Dynamics™ platform. Joint customers will be able to deploy mobilEcho within the Good Dynamics environment. This follows Good Technology’s announcement of their early ISV partners for their Good Dynamics platform.  Good Dynamics is a new security platform for mobile application development targeting developers of both enterprise and consumer applications. We are one of the early adopters of the plaform, and are already working closely with them to ensure that mobilEcho runs simply and securely within the Good Dynamics environment.

There are several reasons why this relationship, and others like it, is important for enterprises. First, this announcement, and others, show that what has appeared to me to be a fairly fragmented market with many, many vendors is further embracing the notion of the ecosystem and its importance. Enterprises do not want 10s (or even 100s) of disparate pieces of mobility software running in their enterprise and on their mobile clients. They want integration which simplifies management and maintains security. Second, it reinforces the idea that Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile File Management (MFM) are complementary and the foundation of any enterprise mobility strategy. This is what we are hearing from customers every day especially those enterprises that are starting to take a long term view of what they want to do with mobility and the significant impact that will have on how their employees use mobility in their every day worklife. Said more simply, we are only at the beginning.

If you are interested in seeing more on what we are doing with Good Technology and Good Dynamics, we also did a video showing how mobilEcho works within the Good Dynamics platform. This was shown last at the CTIA show in San Diego at an event that Good was hosting. It can also be seen here on our website.

You can also read our press release on our web site at http://www.grouplogic.com/about/press/

Also, if you want to learn more about mobilEcho we are doing our monthly live demo and chat tomorrow (wednesday October 12) at 11 am. You can register here.

I asked T. Reid Lewis, our President and Founder, to provide a few words about the passing of Steve Jobs. Well said, Reid – Anders

All of us will miss Steve Jobs and the panache that he brought to the evolution of our (now digital) culture and lifestyle.

We can honor his life and achievements by striving to learn from and emulate his style in our own lives and careers. Each one of us has contributions to make and challenges to overcome, and many of the lessons we can learn from Steve can be applied by all us. Here are a few that you can start applying today:

Never settle for “good enough” – always strive for the insanely great outcome and fight to overcome any obstacles

Delight your audience – look for innovations that inspire smiles of gratitude from your customers, clients, friends and families

Move forward – constantly replace the old stuff (starting with your ideas) with better ones and battle the naysayer laggards

Simplify – become the master of less is more and work to hide the complexity so that you can delight your audience and confound your competitors

Go further – once you’ve accomplished your goal, add one more thing to seal your achievement

Yes, I know it might be hard to imagine acting like Steve Jobs but I think that, if he had the chance, Steve Jobs would demand it of you! Now, you’ll have to demand it of yourself. So get going. Which brings us to a final lesson we can learn from Steve Jobs: our time will end.

Thanks, Steve Jobs, for teaching us so much about creating and living!