Mobile Workspace Solution – A port of refuge on the transformation journey?

Today (6th May 2014) Cisco announced the launch of its Mobile Workspace Solution developed with Citrix to address some of the problems, challenges and benefits that BYOD or mobility offers. Chris Gabriel discusses some of the reasons why a CxO on a mobility transformation journey may do well to cast more than an eye over this new offering.

Sixteen months ago CxO Unplugged published findings of global research into BYOD conducted by Logicalis and Ovum.  The message was clear – the massive increase in mobile and smart devices being used by consumers was resulting in a high number of employees, 60%, using their own devices at work.  What was sobering was that only 20% of those employees were subject to any kind of BYOD policy.

We have posted a number of articles over the past two years discussing the challenges, benefits and approaches to BYOD and mobility - the benefits are clear:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Lower capital outlay on hardware

But the challenges are myriad – our 2012 survey suggested BYOD was a fairly unmanaged process, and IT departments still have a lot to consider if they are to achieve an acceptable measure of equilibrium:

  • How to support numerous devices and operating systems
  • How to maintain secure corporate network access
  • How to control and manage more and more mobile apps
  • How to protect data and prevent data loss
  • Enforcing usage policies
  • How to ensure device visibility to owners of multiple devices
  • How to maintain WLAN performance and reliability
  • Managing device life-cycle and ‘offboarding’ users and devices
  • How to deliver new applications with speed and at low cost
  • How to deliver a full work environment to any device

What’s more, for every challenge there is a multitude of vendors offering a solution – the road ahead is winding and full of traffic.

Cisco and Citrix have sought to address these challenges with the joint development of the Mobile Workspace Solution.  While the nuts and bolts of the solution are outside the scope of this article, the solution is designed to get mobile devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphone, onto networks easily and securely and addresses the many challenges around securely managing and delivering applications, data and services to those devices in any location.

It provides IT with a faster and simpler way to provide secure access to more apps and services; typically you will use a combination of app delivery models – native, virtual, HTML5 browser-based, and hybrid as well as real-time communications. This solution supports them all – and optimises the user experience for them all.

In practice this means that collaboration apps such as Cisco’s Jabber and Webex, Citrix Worx applications, such as WorxMail, WorxMail and ShareFile - providing sandboxed email, browser and documents sharing - and Citrix XenMobile, an enterprise mobility management solution that automates key provisioning tasks, all work and are managed, together.

Crucially though, the Cisco network policy control and Citrix mobile management are combined to ensure uncompromised corporate security whilst allowing IT Departments to improve the experience for users

The end result?  It allows IT to confidently deliver the applications, data and services employees need to work better. It is now possible to add a high level of management to what has been, up until now and in some quarters, a very unmanaged process.  While it is always sensible to move at an organisation’s preferred pace, the CxO on a mobility transformation journey may find that this solution is just what they need - taking them a few steps closer to not only helping reduce the 80% of employees who are feral BYOD users, but also straightening the road and reducing congestion on the mobility transformation journey.

More BYOD resources:

9 Articles about BYOD and Mobility for the CIO and CTO

Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution

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