Israel Lifshitz

Congratulations… You have been given the task to develop an app for your organization.

The App Development Journey

The first step you should take is to develop the app itself. You can develop two apps for iOS and Android or develop one app with a cross-development platform. People, who are not well familiar with enterprise development, might think that developing an app is the most important task to be carried out. However, enterprise deployment requires much more.

QA for instance, requires that you test your app endlessly using all the required hardware and software versions. Once that is completed, you go to move on to performing security checks (and we know how time consuming that may be). Several months have already passed since we set out on our app development journey and there is still a lot to be done.

Now, you need to go to the network infrastructure architect, decide together on the right architecture for your app and consider the best ways to access the enterprise data. This may result in additional costs for your organization when adding equipment such as VPNs and authentication protocols. It’s not only a matter of more time and resources spent, but it also creates obstacles to the app deployment process. Many app projects end here, because organizations don’t find secure ways to access the organization’s data.

The architecture also requires that you run the app inside an EMM container. This doesn’t only add additional resources to the process of wrapping the app into the container, but it also limits the app’s reach, which is only for managed devices.

Is There a Better Alternative?

Now, what if, after all has been said and done, you just realized that all your hard work could have been dramatically reduced.

For your next project, just remember that you can “Virtualize Your App”.

Mobile App Virtualization provides a way to run apps inside the datacenter, in a virtual mobile OS. Each virtual app is individually packaged and deployed to all types of mobile devices, as a thin client app. By removing the dependency between your mobile app and the physical device, you can save lots of time and resources during the app development journey:

First, you just need to develop the app for one environment and one OS version – the one that exists in the virtual environment that you control. You do not need to use cross-platform tools – just use your favorite development framework that is available on the target platform. You can develop it on any Android device or emulator.

You probably think that you have already got your money’s worth, when actually, your major time savings are yet to come. The QA activities are now becoming much faster. You just need to test your app in the virtual environment and you do not need to test it repeatedly on any device type or OS version. This doesn’t just dramatically decrease the QA time, but also minimizes the number of iterations needed between development and QA.

Now, security checks are also becoming much easier. The main threats that security checks on mobile apps, simply do not exist in a virtual environment. Virtual apps do not store any data on the device itself and the protocol between the apps and the datacenter is a remote display protocol that had already been tested using the stringiest penetration techniques.

You will make your network infrastructure guys really happy because now you do not need any architectural change to enable ways to access the enterprise data. This is done simply because the actual apps are already running in the datacenter. You won’t need to look for secure ways to access your data, as everything will be ready for you.

The virtual app itself can be deployed in different ways. It can still be deployed in your EMM  enterprise app store, or as a standalone app, even in public app stores.

Now I’m sure that you can easily imagine how this approach can save you tons of time and money, during the development and deployment processes. Still, it will also help you afterwards – much of the work on mobile apps has to do with the continuous and much needed support and maintenance. With virtual apps, you do not need to worry about supporting mobile device upgrades, which that alone, provides you with a great deal of peace of mind.

Israel Lifshitz

For many people “iOS updates” sounds exciting because it usually brings cool new features to mobile users. However, for IT professionals, who are responsible for the enterprise app portfolio, this may even cause some sense of nervousness.

Why is that so? Let’s imagine you are responsible for 50 mobile apps in your organization. With each mobile OS update, many of the apps need to be updated in order for you to be able to continue working regularly on the updated devices. The amount of effort that each organization needs to make to ensure this kind of compatibility is huge.

Even if your organization is willing to make this effort for each update, still it’s a very difficult project to coordinate among several teams, external app suppliers, as well as complete it all on a very tight schedule before each update.

Blocking OS Updates

Many IT guys just think that preventing your users from performing updates is the right solution to take. However, this is not a good solution because firstly, you are going against your users – they want to update to maximize their device usage. You are also interested in updated devices, because it usually solves security issues.

Secondly, this action is also very difficult to implement, merely because there are no simple ways to block iOS updates. You will probably not even be able do that to managed devices, using MDM software.

The few solutions that currently exist to block updates are kind of hacks. For example, blocking specific addresses and port on the firewall or installing some unnecessary configuration profiles.

Other companies just ask their users to delay the upgrade until they ensure that all apps are ready. This is the most common solution today, but many users just don’t follow this, especially if this is their personal device.

The Virtualization Approach

Luckily, now there is a solution that can help you support future versions with no effort at all. With Mobile App Virtualization, the apps are running in the datacenter and the users are accessing them with a thin client app. We make sure we test and update this thin client with any new OS version, long before your users need to perform any updates.

The apps themselves are running all in one OS version in the server and don’t need to be updated, according to the users or vendors desires. You have the full control when to update the virtual environment version and you also have ample time to plan such upgrade way in advance. App virtualization also has additional benefits such as the ability to enhance security, reduce development time and also provide support for un-managed devices.

Bottom line: Do not be a slave to OS updates – check out how virtualization can make your work simpler, improve the uptime of your apps and most importantly – make your users happier.

David Abbou

Technology hasn’t just changed the way consumers purchase and engage with products and services, it’s also profoundly changed both the skill set and mindset required from many different management and executive roles in order for them to be effective and collectively lead their organization towards a successful future. Of these roles, perhaps no executive has experienced more change in recent years than the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

CIOs today are expected to be as in tune with the business vision and goals of their organizations as they are with the information and technology they manage. And there’s also a very critical and strategic cultural component to driving changes to business process as and how these are accepted and utilized by an organization’s business and operations management. Therefore the CIO is expected to wear many strategic hats and bridging these once disparate and now very interconnected worlds will likely spell the difference between success and failure moving forward. For CIOs to make sure they end up on the right side of this equation, the key is outlining and focusing on their top strategic priorities:

1. Use technology to transform and manage business processes

This transformation of the CIO’s role isn’t a new phenomenon but the evolution is fully expected to continue and accelerate into the future. CIO recently published its State of the CIO: 2015 survey findings and they reveal that the percentage of CIOs of large businesses focused on strategic business activities has climbed from 18 to 34 percent in the past five years. These business processes include traditionally taking physical processes online as well combining customer online behavior with physical customer service and support functions. Making sure that the customer experience is the focal point of these new digital business processes is paramount if they are to be adopted and ultimately succeed.

2. Turn data into more innovative products and services

Just as enterprises have come to prioritize data as the most valuable asset that must be secured, so too is turning this data into value in the form innovation. With more CIOs than ever before advising the CEO on long-term strategy and holding a seat at Executive Management Committees, turning technological know-how into shareholder returns now comes with the territory. CIOs must lead the way in creating and monetizing new products and service offerings based on collected data.

3. Integrate actionable Business Intelligence into staff operations

Use the same approach of turning data analytics to unlock customer calls to action with your employees and not just for management. Front-line sales and customer service staff should be armed with the type of data to increase efficiency and improve customer experience and satisfaction. One major area of focus is and must continue to be app provisioning, be it CRM, ERP and enterprise-centric apps that make it easy to save time and money as well as provide and provide a more seamless experience for customers.

With all of the challenges CIO’s will face in 2015 and beyond, it’s clear that organizations still regard them as leaders with the vision to see past the hurdles and help keep the business on the right track well into the future.