BriForum 2015 wrapped up last Wednesday in Denver, and my mind has been buzzing with all sorts of thoughts from it.
That’s par for the course with BriForum, but something feels different this year. It could be because instead of doing a typical session on enterprise mobility management, this year I did two sessions on related topics: virtual mobile infrastructure and identity and access management. It could also be because we’re truly at an interesting time with enterprise mobility, identity, Windows 10, enterprise mobile apps, wearable devices, and more.
So for today, I want to briefly share my post-BriForum thoughts on all of these topics.
Virtual Mobile Infrastructure
My main session at BriForum was about virtual mobile infrastructure. Now I’ve given this session before at BriForum London and at Citrix Synergy, and we’ve been writing about VMI in general for over a year now, but BriForum Denver was different for a few reasons. Last week we actually had three different VMI vendors—Hypori, Remotium, and Nubo—all onsite. (And sitting in on my session. No pressure!) That meant that not only could attendees learn what VMI is, they could have a lot more in-depth discussions with the people that are actually making it happen. Brian Katz even recorded a podcast with all three vendors at once, and I got to enjoy being a guest co-host. (Watch for that to be published soon at podcast.themobilecast.com.)
One thing that becomes apparent is that there’s actually quite a bit of diversity in how different VMI vendors approach technical and philosophical issues. There are still challenges, but they’re steadily being solved. (I’ll go more in-depth when I write the article version of my session.) The vendors are also reporting that many pilots are in progress.
From the attendee side, once most people learn what VMI is, they can see how it can fit within enterprise mobility. The important thing is also be aware of what’s going on in the rest of the EMM space, to put VMI in the right context.
One of the questions I got most often this week was “How do you like your Apple Watch?” I wrote about my initial impressions after using it for two weeks, now it’s been two months: The verdict? I still like it and I’m still wearing it every day. I’m also seeing many more of them out in the wild. (The rush of being an early adopter was fun while it lasted, though!)
Enrolling devices in EMM
A few times I heard people say that they wouldn’t want to enroll their personal device in MDM, or that they would have a hard time getting their users agree to management. This underscores a few points: Even though it’s 2015 and we’ve had EMM for a few years now, there are still diverse and evolving attitudes about it. Technical approaches to BYOD are still debated, and no matter what EMM has to give value to the end user. Also it’s important to be prepared to support different types of mobile app management as well as understand the ramifications of different techniques.
We’ve been writing a lot about this, and it was a big topic onsite. (The conversation was also helped along by the presence of Reddo, StarMobile, and hopTo.) There’s a lot of enthusiasm for app transformation, but we also want to be able to combine it with off the shelf apps, mobile app development platforms, native development, and desktop virtualization, so we can always have the right tool for the job. Again, it’s all about understanding the context of the entire mobile space.
Windows 10 will introduce EMM concepts to the rank and file desktop world. As I’ve written, the big question isn’t when companies will move to Windows 10, it’s when they’ll start using MDM to manage it.
Identity and access management
My other session at BriForum was a 15-minute lightning round about identity and access management and how it relates to enterprise mobility management. Several products are now combining EMM and IAM directly, including Centrify, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite, Okta, and VMware Identity Manager.
In the new mobile / cloud world, EMM and IAM will be central to end user computing. Brian and I talked about this on two recent podcasts (here and here). Going forward, at some point these won’t be specialty products, they’ll just be the way we do EUC.
Of course what make BriForum great is seeing old friends, making new ones, learning from each other, and exchanging ideas. A huge thanks to everybody who was a part of it!