VMworld 2017: The Evolution of Mobile Workspaces

Today at VMWorld 2017, VMWare announced a Technology Preview for an exciting new capability that they’re calling Workspace ONE Mobile Flows. The idea is to help customers get more value from the mobile devices that have become pervasive in our workplace over the past few years and it makes perfect sense. They actually previewed some of those capabilities in a very forward-looking keynote session from last year’s AirWatch conference, where they demonstrated Capriza live on stage (watch the 2-minute video).

VMWare is a long-standing Capriza partner. We have worked with the AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution for years. In that time, we’ve developed a number of successful joint customers including industry leaders like AutoZone, MasterCard, NTT, Western Digital and others that have a strong vision around mobility and the business value that secure, scalable enterprise mobility can deliver.

VMWare played a huge role in defining the first open industry standard for MDM/EMM platforms in its sponsorship of the AppConfig initiative, which Capriza announced and delivered in September of 2016. Open standards make life easier for customers and vendors alike and we believe AppConfig has taken off in large part thanks to its earliest members and champions, like VMware.

Driving Value from Mobile Development in the Enterprise

This is a very natural and sensible move for VMWare and for the market. Mobility is everywhere and organizations see huge potential to take advantage of that in ways that improve operational efficiency, enhance customer experience, and drive employee engagement and alignment. That said, it’s been harder than many expected, mostly because an extreme shortage of mobile development talent and the complexity of traditional mobile development.

Beyond that, the core market for EMM where AirWatch has done so well continues to trend towards commoditization. So in terms of baseline functionality for securing and remotely managing mobile devices and apps, the solutions are increasingly similar and substitutable. Beyond that, much like a corporate firewall, this security and management layer doesn’t by itself deliver significant business value. The business value comes from the apps and use cases that a secured environment makes possible. VMware knows that and Workspace ONE Mobile Flows can help a lot here.

What we know for sure is that Capriza and VMWare share similar views about the opportunity to deliver more business impact to the enterprise via mobility.

  • Value – Unlike the mainframe, client-server, and cloud eras, the mobile era is the first one where the new computing platform is already in the employee’s pocket and opens up a new way to extend the value of back office systems to employees, contractors, and partners “on the edges.” This means people working remotely or in the field who likely don’t have the time or skills to lean a complete ERP system. Lots of time and money has been put into software automation of business processes, and there’s every reason to want to make that automation accessible to users on the go. At Capriza, we often see that some of the most valuable and “sticky” micro apps are the ones designed for what we think of as “the edge of the enterprise” – truck drivers, inspectors, field technicians, even partners who need access to a few key back office workflows.f
  • Heterogeneity – The typical enterprise depends on hundreds of different business applications, even if they’re heavily “standardized” on certain ERP or CRM systems. Maximizing value from mobility means transcending those application silos and focusing on the needs of the end user first.
  • One-minute experiences – Organizations that approached mobility from the perspective of delivering the functionality of their current applications on a smaller screen have failed. Users won’t deal with the complexity. Success with mobility is about making sure that the user can do something valuable for them and their employer in about 60 seconds, without navigating across multiple systems.

So What Is It?

More information will be available as the Technology Preview gets under way, but here’s what we can share for now.

  • Workspace ONE Mobile Flows is entering Technology Preview. VMWare has not yet  announced a General Availability target yet.
  • It works on top of VMWare’s Boxer email client, and can interpret well-formed (typically system-generated) emails into mini workflows. So for example, if I get an email that says that someone on my team submitted an expense report, rather than reading the email, clicking through a link to another system, logging in and navigating to the approval, I can either Approve or Deny by touching a button in the email client. Recent surveys show that more than 60% of users delay completing tasks if they require logging into multiple systems, so being able to do it directly from email, securely, without another login should be a nice win for AirWatch users.
  • Given that the typical enterprise has hundreds of different business applications, there’s a clear need for integration with this approach. With that in mind, VMWare will be promoting its Dell Boomi partnership and its many hundreds of connectors as a way to simplify and accelerate integration across disparate systems. It’s still an integration exercise, but Dell Boomi will make it easier.

An Exciting Future

At Capriza, we’re excited about VMWare Workspace ONE for multiple reasons. It validates a clear and high-value enterprise need for mobility, offers a framework for new integration possibilities with solutions like Capriza, and is an important initiative to one of our closest partners. Stay tuned!

 

Lance is responsible for Capriza’s market development and demand strategy. He has more than two decades of experience in technical and marketing roles. Prior to Capriza, he led the marketing efforts of notable startups including Datameer, Host Analytics, Aria Systems, and Pentaho. Earlier in his career, Lance worked at established enterprise software category leaders Oracle, Siebel Systems, and Business Objects.

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