Back in May, VMware blogged about Workspace One Send, an app that connects Workspace One apps to Intune MAM-enabled apps. There was a little bit of confusion about how it works, as well as how it compares to BlackBerry Bridge, a similar solution, so I talked to VMware for more details.
I’ve already spent a lot of time covering relevant background issues, including:
- App-based MAM frameworks (such as the Intune SDK or the Workspace One SDK) versus device-based MAM frameworks (such as Android Work Profiles or the managed app features in iOS MDM);
- Why we still need both types of MAM (there are still a lot of devices that can’t or won’t get enrolled in MDM); and,
- How ISVs can make things tricky (many, including Microsoft, don’t allow third-party EMM SDKs in their apps).
The bottom line is that a lot of customers want to connect the Office mobile apps (which use the Intune MAM SDK) to apps that use competing MAM SDKs. This is where Workspace One Send (as well as BlackBerry Bridge) comes in.
Workspace One Send operates entirely at the app level, with no MDM dependencies. It incorporates elements of the Workspace One SDK, as well as the publically available Intune MAM SDK, so it can operate both in the Workspace One container and the Intune container, allowing users to transfer documents back and forth without exposing them to the rest of the device. Send also supports Microsoft Information Rights Management and Azure Rights Management Service, as another option for protecting documents.
To use Send, you must be both a Workspace One and Intune customer. The Send app is available in Google Play and the Apple App Store. For now, VMware has artificially constrained it to just work with their Boxer email app, but this could easily be expanded to work with any Workspace One-enabled app.
When using the iOS version, users have to tap through several steps, bringing the Send app to the foreground in the process; the Android version has fewer steps, as Android allows the app to remain hidden in the background.
I haven’t precisely counted the number to taps it takes to get back and forth in Workspace One Send and compared it exactly to BlackBerry’s version—what matters more are the reasons why EMM vendors are compelled to make these types of apps in the first place. To quote from my previous article:
“Having to deploy a hub app between the two ecosystems seems like a bit of a kludge, [...] but of course in software, that’s just the way things are sometimes. And not to look a gift horse in the mouth—instead, this really underscores that the whole situation around proprietary MAM SDKs and app wrappers is quite challenging.”
Both Apple and Microsoft could do more to address this situation. Google gets a pass for now, as they have put an admirable amount of effort into making Work Profiles on Android enterprise the most BYOD-friendly device-based MAM framework we’ve seen yet.
On the Apple side, I’ve written multiple times that iOS MDM really needs to catch up with BYOD expectations in 2018. Enrolled devices can just use the existing managed open in frameworks that work with any app, skipping Send and Bridge.
Of course, there will still be devices that don’t get enrolled, or organizations that want multiple layers of protection. For this, Microsoft could do more to make Intune MAM and the Office apps more extensible.