The Citrix Worx App Gallery is now live, but the mobile app management terrain is shifting

Yesterday the Citrix Ready Worx App Gallery-Citrix's mobile app management partner showroom-went live. However, with iOS 7 on its way, the mobile app management terrain will soon be different from what it was when Citrix first announced their partner program last year.

Yesterday the Citrix Ready Worx App Gallery—Citrix’s mobile app management partner showroom—went live. However, with iOS 7 on its way, the mobile app management terrain will soon be different from what it was when Citrix first announced their partner program last year.

What is the Worx App Gallery?

If you’ve been following the enterprise mobility management space, you know that that many vendors have been working to find a way to apply granular management policies to corporate mobile apps without affecting users’ personal apps. This is something that mobile device management (MDM) traditionally hasn’t been very good at, so for the last year or two vendors have been working to build management features directly into mobile apps themselves (creating MAM). With this technique, apps have to be specifically built or modified to work with a particular vendor’s management platform. There are several different ways to get these apps, such as gathering an ecosystem of partner ISVs. This is what Citrix has done to create the Worx App Gallery. Citrix is doing well on this front—their partner app ecosystem is significantly larger than that of any other vendor.

How does the Worx App Gallery work?

Here’s how the Worx App Gallery works: Citrix’s ISV partners incorporate the Citrix mobile app management SDK into their apps, and then submit their apps to the Apple App Store or Google Play. These are just like any other app app—the MAM functionality lies dormant until needed. (This is different from other MAM vendors’ partner programs—some of them will have ISVs create a separate edition of their ap. On one hand this can make them partner apps easier to find, but on the other hand it can be confusing for users, and the “MAM-edition” of an app might not get updated at the same time as the normal version.)

The Worx App Gallery is essentially a list of all of the apps that are built with Citrix’s MAM SDK. XenMobile admins can use the gallery to find apps and provision links to them to their users, who then use the Worx Home app to browse to these apps (which remember are really just links provided by IT). When they select an app and tap on the icon, the links send them to the Apple App Store or Google Play. The app is then installed just like any other user-installed app, except of course these apps also have functionality that allows them to be managed by XenMobile.

Now of course since these apps are in public app stores, users can always go and find them on their own, and really so can anybody else. But again a random person downloading the app isn’t going to notice any of the XenMobile functionality. One more thing—if IT is using XenMobile MDM to manage the device, they can also push required apps (both public apps and private, enterprise-signed apps) to the device.

What about iOS 7?

Here’s where things get interesting. iOS 7 is going to take some of the mobile app management features that currently have to be implemented directly in apps (such as all those Worx apps) and make them available through the operating system.

This changes the mobile app management terrain quite a bit. In fact, your first reaction might be, “Whoa, so we don’t need to mess around with all these special partner apps anymore?” But while it’s true that iOS 7 will provide many of the same management features that are currently only available in specially-created apps (i.e. Citrix Worx App Gallery Apps), we have to remember that there are also inherent differences between OS-enabled MAM and third-party MAM that’s built into apps. There will a place for both technologies moving forwards. This is just one of several new issues that come up with iOS 7, and I’m going to dig into this more in tomorrow’s article.

Yesterday’s announcement from Citrix didn’t mention iOS 7, but considering the relevance of the topic, I asked them what they could share for right now. Many of the details of iOS 7 are still under NDA, so they couldn’t give us any specifics. (Here’s what we know for now.) However, they emphasized that their mobile app management capabilities will complement what iOS 7 will provide, and they still see plenty of use cases for third-party MAM that does not rely on the iOS MAM capabilities.

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Regarding the use of iOS 7 for enterprises, we created a handy list of Dos’ and Don’ts in our infographic – check it out here.


corporateserver.cortado.com/.../infographics.aspx


Henning Volkmer


Cortado Inc


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@Jack Can you please help clarify something. Can I have two copies of an app? Here's an example. Application "Fred" is Worx enabled. However I do to a public app store and download it. I want it for personal use only. I now got to work that has a Citrix app store. Does that mean my employer can now control my personal app without my permission? If not, how can I use this same app for work and personal use? I'm confused...help!


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Appdetective, that's the million dollar question, and right now it seems the answer is no. Since all these Citrix Worx apps just have a single version in the public store with the latent SDK, you definitely only get one copy, so that means if you want to use one of these for work and personal, you're out of luck.


The way that I've heard Brian Katz describe MIM might help out here—a single app that could respect both work managed content and personal content. Think something maybe like Evernote for a use case. That would be awesome, too bad it doesn't exist.


Or maybe just assume as data and apps get more inextricably linked—which Brian Madden has written about—then the chances of having an app that you want to use for both work and personal is less? But that's probably another far off concept, and there will probably always be apps that we want to use for both.


Any examples of apps you'd use for both or have problems with?


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If I'm out of luck this is a failing proposition. The MIM thing I think is very hard to do in reality, I've heard Katz talk about it, but there are no real solutions. Also I am not sure it will ever work as it makes lot's of assumptions of apps honoring data etc. Pipe dream for broad use IMO.


Apps, well Evernote for sure, but Adode reader, QuickOffice, LogMeIn, DropBox, Personal mail apps, Document viewers.


However as I think about this, I can also make an argument that the number of apps that I will use for work and play is probably small, so this may be ok for boring work apps.


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MDX wrapped apps and App Store apps can both be installed on a single device. For example, I have both the public app store version of ShareFile installed and the MDX wrapped version controlled by our MAM policy engine. 2 separate installs.


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@Dan doesn't this take away the benefits of a single instance vs. other ISV solutions as @Jack wrote-


"(This is different from other MAM vendors’ partner programs—some of them will have ISVs create a separate edition of their ap. On one hand this can make them partner apps easier to find, but on the other hand it can be confusing for users, and the “MAM-edition” of an app might not get updated at the same time as the normal version.)"


@Jack you may want to update your article once you have confirmed this.


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@Henning That info graphic is a nice piece of propaganda that doesn't mean much - I see Cortado's product doesn't actually control many settings, you prefer to "monitor". No wonder you don't want customers committing to 3rd party container systems, they might discover what your solution doesn't do.


The reality of the iOS 7 app controls is that they are still piecemeal. There is no copy/paste control for example, so anyone that wants to secure the data in a particular app, or avoid the need for a device passcode, will still want a proper MAM solution. Move along, not much to see.


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Hi Tim,


sure the info graphics shows our point of view. We have never believed in 3rd party containers or app wrapping. That's why we don't have this functionality.


3rd party containers ruin the user experience and drive users to find their own solutions. App wrapping, if you are not using a SDK, causes lot's of headaches (legal, stability etc.).


We strongly believe, that app management has to built into the OS and we are more than happy that Apple agrees with our point of view. The additional features (if they would really work for a wider range of apps) of 3rd party MAM will not outweigh the downsides of app wrapping.


We see 3rd party MAM disappear in the next years and it remains to be seen if Apple will still allow wrapped apps in the AppStore once iOS7 is released.


Of course, you are free to continue to invest in App Wrapping, but our advice is not to do so.


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