Browsing Posts tagged GroupLogic

This week’s post is from Marcelo Andrieu, who is the Product Manager for our new activEcho Enterprise File Sharing solution. Marcelo, thanks for the post! – Anders

For some reason in the software business people think about dot releases as if they are not that relevant. After all, what’s in it? they say. Maybe some minor improvements and bug fixes?

Well, that is certainly not true anymore. Several years ago we embraced the Agile development process. This means we are releasing versions all the time and we have a great deal of flexibility. We can rapidly change the scope and features of release to respond to what our customers need. Instead of 1 release every 12-18 months, we may have 4 to 6 in the same period within a year.

This brings us to activEcho 2.1, which we are releasing today. We have had numerous conversations with our customers from many diverse markets including healthcare, financial services, education, publishing, advertising, government, and legal. In addition we talked to the VAR and service provide community. And, as you can imagine, they are impatient! So we have rolled out some new features which we believe are important. :

• IT wanted more infrastructure and storage management and control. In activEcho, when a user deletes a document it’s actually “marked as deleted” but remains in the system to recover in case it is needed. With 2.1, IT can implement policies to purge deleted content after a period of time of their choosing. This helps keep storage under control. In addition, activEcho now has policies to define how many revisions of a document must be kept in the system. This not only helps with storage costs, but more importantly, it addresses key to compliance needs.

• Exporting event logs. IT needs to be able to not only view the event logs, but also be able to do something useful with it. With our new export capability, IT can click a button in their browser, save the log on to their desktop, and load it into Excel. Quick, easy, useful.

• Skinning and branding for the organization. Organizations like to “blend” solutions like activEcho with the look and feel of the corporate brand, etc. other elements. We already had “skinning”, customization and branding capabilities, so we added more of it plus a sophisticated interface to completely customize email notifications and alerts for users and administrators, embedding images, signatures, legal disclaimers and such. T

• And something for the endusers – very powerful and easy to use 1 and 2 way sync for mobile devices. We have also added a bookmarking capability, enhanced notification subscription options and easier access for Windows, Mac and web browser users.

This is just the beginning of the many new features we are bringing to activEcho and you can expect to see us roll out a significant number of new features as we continue to evolve our Enterprise File Sharing solution.

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 activEcho our new Enterprise File Sharing solution. We got a great response some of which you can see here. I also wanted to give some early feedback that we are hearing from our customer conversations in the last week which are really an extension of the comments we were hearing during our 3+ month long beta program. Today, I will focus on the on-premise deployment capabilities for activEcho customers. Customers keep telling us this is one of the biggest advantages of activEcho.

To start we can just take a look at what one of our customers, Ron Kuykendall, Chief Information Officer of Bank of the Ozarks, said (emphasis is mine) in our press release:

“Our users – including executives with iPads – are in need of a simple solution for sharing and collaborating on files and synchronizing those files across their desktops, laptops and tablets. Before we found GroupLogic, we looked at various cloud-based solutions – but they were very consumer-oriented and didn’t address our security and compliance needs. In particular, we just don’t want our data off-site where we can’t control it,” “GroupLogic’s activEcho provides the simple sharing and synchronization to make our users more productive – both internally and working with customers and partners outside the firm. And it supports iPad and other mobile devices. But, unlike consumer-oriented solutions that are out of our control, we can run activEcho on our own infrastructure, and we get the security, visibility and compliance capabilities that we need.”

For regulated industries, such as financial services, and anyone in a security or compliance sensitive organization, the ability to maximize their control is a key decision factor. The on-premise capabilities of activEcho provide customers the freedom to choose the most appropriate model for their organization. They can run it on-premise or in the cloud, in their own instance in Amazon, for example.

The reason why on-premise is so popular with these organizations is because it allows enterprises to have the right security and management in place. Said more simply, the enterprise remains in control.

This gives enterprises several things they are looking for:

1. Control – many organizations want to remain in control of their files. There are concerns about cloud from a security perspective (for example, Dropbox has had many publicized security issues in the last year), performance, and just a general concern about the stability of some of these cloud players. Many of them are new companies that have been around for less than 5 years and in some cases less than 2-3 years. So customers have to ask themselves, what happens to my files if this company disappears?

2. Security – with an on-premise solution many of the company’s existing security policies and infrastructure can be extended to activEcho. Customers tell us this is very appealing as they have invested substantial time and money to create the policies and infrastructure, so it’s ideal to leverage that investment for their activEcho deployment. In addition, activEcho adds a number of key security capabilities such as Active Directory integration, encryption, user whitelists/blacklists, remote wipe of activEcho on mobile devices, etc. that are independent of whether its run on-premise or in the cloud. You can get more details in this white paper.

3. Management – on-premise gives the enterprise control of the solution, including control of the servers, storage and the backup/recovery.

4. Leveraging Existing Storage Investments – Customers tell us they prefer to leverage their existing storage infrastructure which they have already acquired. This gives them better insight into usage but they also sleep better knowing that their files are on storage infrastructure of their choosing.

As I have pointed out in other blogs, we want to give customers the flexibility to choose the model that is right for them. For many organizations, on-premise is that right choice.

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.

In the last few weeks I have written about the complementary relationship between Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile File Management (MFM). As a proof point to that, yesterday we announced a new partnership with MobileIron (press release is here), a leading MDM vendor and the innovator in enterprise management and security for mobile devices and apps, and we are one of the first companies to join their MobileIron AppConnect program. This partnership spans marketing, development and sales.

MobileIron Appconnect is loosely a mobile device management framework which allows enterprises to secure mobile apps and data. Essentially this allows apps, such as our mobilEcho, to operate within the MobileIron ecosystem with all the security and management capabilities inherent with MobileIron. This will not only provide more secure mobile computing but will also greatly enhance management capabilities through integration.

We are already seeing (and actively engaged with) enterprises who want to have mobilEcho as part of their enterprise mobility strategy and see it as very complementary to MDM. Some of the organizations have already bought MDM and considering mobilEcho as an add on. Others are considering MDM for the first time and they see mobilEcho as a natural extension of that effort. Our partnership with MobileIron is an outgrowth of this demand and a desire on the part of both companies to deliver complete solutions to customers.

Over the next few months I will be keeping you updated how customers are leveraging this partnership to provide an integrated MDM and MFM environment and experience for their users.

In my last post, I talked about Mobile File Management (MFM) and why I thought it was important (Essentially, it makes up for the lack of an iPad file system, amongst other things). One question that comes up occasionally with our customers is, “how are you different than mobile device management (MDM)? Do I need both?” They are, in fact, very different; addressing very different needs. I would also say that they are very complementary solutions and for an enterprise, they are both core to any enterprise mobility strategy.

Just by way of short definitions. MDM helps organizations to manage, secure and monitor the mobile HW and OS. MFM provide secure and managed access to corporate files and content. I am sure some would quibble over these oversimplified definitions but I am just trying to put a general framework around it. The point is that they are not competitive and address very different customer needs. In discussions with customers we will naturally hear about their use of various MDM vendors such as Mobile Iron, Good Technology, Sybase, AirWatch, Absolute, JAMF, and others.

The point I am making is that as enterprise mobility continues to grow there are a number of core functions that need to be there. Some of them are obvious (ex. Email). Others are not as obvious yet. But it is very clear from the conversations we have with enterprise customers that there needs to be a whole ecosystem of functionality around mobility In other words, a group of core applications that are applicable to just about every enterprise user and organization. This is obviously still evolving although some of the pieces already exist but it is fragmented. My expectation is that enterprises will be looking to address necessary management and security functions in a number of different areas. MDM and MFM are but two critical areas, and from my perspective, they are completely complementary.

I watch CNBC just about every morning. Either at the gym, at home or on the road in the hotel. I always find something interesting to take away from it (or at least pass the time on the treadmill). Yesterday they had a gentleman on from Comscore talking about web traffic and where it comes from. The discussion was about US connected device traffic. This is non-computer devices, so smartphones and tablets. 36% of the traffic goes to Android Phones, 24% goes to iPhone, and 22% and iPad. The remainder is a hodge-podge of smartphones and tablets. He also stated that about 97% of all tablet traffic comes from iPads. I am not surprised by these numbers but it astounding to see how much iPad has grown and the market power it as.

The real question is when will other tablets emerge as a viable competitor to iPad? I am no expert on this but it seems to me that the competition has emerged already (RIM Playbook, several Android tablets, and others) and so far seem to be having minimal impact on iPad sales. iPad keeps chugging along and I expect this to continue for some time. I am mostly speaking from an enterprise perspective here where all the conversations we have with customers is about iPad, at least on the tablet side. I keep waiting for a new generation of Android tablets that may perhaps change this dynamic. On the smartphone the dynamic is certainly different. Clearly there is a fair share of Blackberry users still out there. But our discussions are mostly around iPhone and Android. Now admittedly since we are initially targeting iOS devices it’s natural that those are the discussions we get involved in. But we talk to organizations, from the very large to small, and iPad is top of mind in enterprises.

These situations change and certainly competition for iPad will emerge. It just may take a bit longer than many expect. From our point of view, choice is good for customers and our objective is to support customer with whatever device they choose. mobilEcho, and more broadly, Mobile File Management (MFM), is not just about supporting one device but about cross-platform support of heterogeneous device environments.

Anders Lofgren, VP Product Management

Guest blog post this week by our CTO Derick Naef and his thoughts on last week’s Apple WWDC – Anders. Thanks, Derick!

Apple’s Vision and What it Means for iPads in the Enterprise

I attended my first Apple Worldwide Developer Conference 20 years ago, and even though Steve Jobs would not return for another 7 years, the keynote presentation was always a highly anticipated, electric event.  This year was no different – where else do you see people campout overnight on a San Francisco street to get a good view?  Where do you have people lining up four deep so that the line doesn’t wrap around a city block before the big event? 

For enterprise customers, I think this year’s keynote was more significant than the last few years’ speeches – up there with the unveiling of iOS or the AppStore in 2008.  In his presentation of Lion, iOS 5, and the new iCloud service, Steve Jobs presented Apple’s clear vision for how users will work with documents in the future – and it has important implications for the enterprise.

Jobs said their studies show new users do great amounts of learning to operate Macs until a key point – they start interacting with the file system.  Then all bets are off and the learning curve goes straight up.  Apple’s vision is to completely hide the file system from the user and the iPad is the ultimate example of this – there is no file system from the user’s point of view. Apps are like tiny walled gardens that deal with documents and content only, and the functionality of iCloud mimics this – it focuses on sharing content between apps on different devices, not a cloud file system. Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is moving in this direction as well, and it is a bold vision.

Our corporate, education and government customers have thousands of file servers, with tens of millions of files.  They have complicated, creative workflows that involve interaction with many users and applications.  They deal with document management systems.  They have strict security, regulatory and governance requirements regarding how information is accessed and protected.  They will not be able to embrace this vision of a file system-less future unless it integrated into this infrastructure.

Does this mean Apple doesn’t care about iPads and Macs in the Enterprise?  No – far from it.  In discussions with Apple field reps, our partners and resellers, it is clear that the enterprise adoption of Macs, and iPads in particular, is a key focus of Apple.  Companies in every industry imaginable are piloting iPads – and it is clear that when those pilots conclude, the demand generation for iPads in the enterprise will skyrocket.  I have repeatedly heard talk about pilots of 10-50 iPads increasing to 4,000+ in deployment within 12 months.

Apple has created a game changing new platform that is on the cusp of revolutionizing corporate and education IT.  Apple’s vision for a file system-less future is compelling, but it needs to have tools to fill in the gap between the vision and the reality.  There is a vibrant green field opportunity to help fill this gap, and this is the opportunity that GroupLogic’s products, such as mobilEcho and ExtremeZ-IP, fulfill.

Derick Naef, CTO