Earlier this year Dell Software launched their cloud-based enterprise mobility management, which is part of a wide-ranging end user computing suite built from past acquisitions.
Today they’re announcing an update centered around their mobile workspace app, which will now include built-in voice calling through a partnership with Vonage.
Dell’s mobile workspace app has all of the functions you’d expect in a main EMM app—there’s an email client, a browser, VPN connectivity, and management controls for sharing, remote wipe, and so on. However, the new version is extending that farther with file syncing from Box and voice calling and messaging from Vonage Business Solutions. In addition, Dell is offering optional email hosting through Office 365.
The clients for Vonage and Box are built directly into the Dell workspace app, so everything is delivered as a single binary. That makes it technically easier to securely move data in between components, since there’s no jumping through hoops to get apps to talk to each other. (More on this integrated experience later.)
While this sounds like a lot of different cloud services to deal with, Dell is offering everything bundled together, so there’s no need to go separately to Box, Vonage, and Microsoft. Dell provides a single portal and federates all the necessary information over to the other service provides.
There are other updates to Dell EMM, too: Dell has now integrated identity management from Quest, bringing new options for federated identity into Dell EMM and other services. They’ve also improved the policy engine to enable more granular, context-aware policies.
The full bundle of cloud services isn’t going to be for everyone, but that’s okay. Remember Dell also has MDM, and you can get the Box, Vonage, and Office 365 services à la carte or just leave them out entirely, so there are a lot of different ways you could put together your EMM deployment. In a lot of other situations, though, having everything together—and including the phone service in the app—could be quite attractive. It’s like a turn-key, “do all of your mobility at once,” solution.
Taking a closer look at the Vonage integration, I’m surprised that there haven’t been more close EMM and VoIP/unified communications collaborations like this already. It just makes a lot of sense. Personally, I already do this on my own using a Google Voice number for work and having it forward to my cell phone. There’s only one phone number on my business card, so people don’t have to decide whether to call my office desk phone or my cell phone; and then I don’t have to give out my cell number and I can send `work calls straight to voicemail on the weekends. After using this arrangement for the last few years, I can definitely say that Dell and Vonage have a smart solution on their hands.
There are still a few things we’re waiting on from Dell. They don’t yet have a mobile app management SDK to secure other apps on the device and let them communicate with the workspace app, though it is on the road map. (Using device-level policy like the iOS “open in” control is an alternative.) That’s probably okay for now, though, since arguably most companies haven’t gotten to that point in their mobile-enablement efforts yet. That’s also consistent with what I said the last time I wrote about Dell EMM, which is that they’re taking a pragmatic, long-term approach to EMM.