Most companies who say they’ve delivered enterprise mobility to their workforce haven’t even come close.

So said Noah Wasmer, VP of Product Management at VMware, in an interview with CMSWire last week. He argued that 80 percent of the enterprises that think they’ve enabled their employees to thrive in a mobile-first, cloud-first world haven’t even begun to do so.

“Mobility in business doesn’t equate to secure email and accessibility to applications via a browser on a smartphone,” he said. “Real mobility will transform the way we work and live."

VMware’s Big Guns Talk Mobility

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and Sanjay Poonen, VMware's EVP and General Manager, End-User Computing, laid out their vision for mobility in the mobile-cloud era before a select group of journalists and analysts in San Francisco last night.

They explained that mobility, as they see it, is about truly reorienting businesses around mobile innovation, apps and services rather than simply taking client server business applications and making them accessible via a mobile device.

The message: Companies that don’t adapt to that way of working will fail to thrive.

For enterprises this means providing workers with consumer-like experiences using business applications — anywhere, any time through any device.

While this is a necessity for employees, it presents risks to the business if not managed properly. Why? Because IT managers have little if any control over some endpoints.

The Problem

The mobility challenge, according to VMware looks like this:

  • To employees, it means having a unified experience across all devices, along with ubiquitous access to all of their applications, content and services
  • To businesses (and lines of business), it means environments that can do more than enhance individual productivity
  • To IT organizations, it means that the requirements for security, management and networking are changing. Identity and device management must come together

To meet the challenge, Identity Management is a must — and it can’t be a hassle for workers or they’ll simply find a way to work around it.

If they do, then three kinds of risks emerge.

  1. Employees might resort to doing their jobs in less secure ways endangering company information
  2. They might delay doing part of their work until a more convenient and secure access point is in proximity.
  3. They’ll waste valuable time with bad experiences that diminishes productivity.

Solving the Problem

To solve the problem VMware has created the VMware Identity Manager.

Wasmer called it the industry’s first Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) offering. It marries enterprise-class mobility management with security without sacrificing the end user experience.

From a worker’s point of view this means secure, single-touch access to web, mobile and virtualized windows applications.

Learning Opportunities

VMware Identity Manager is available as a cloud service or as an on-premises solution.

It not only empowers employees to become productive quickly with a self-service app store but also provides IT with a central place from which to manage end-user provisioning, access and compliance, enterprise-class directory integration, identity federation and user analytics.

It works with other VMware products ranging from VMware vCloud Air to VMware vRealize Suite delivering seamless single sign-on for administrators to easily work across various management interfaces.

Key features and capabilities of VMware Identity Manager include:

  • Single-touch Single Sign On from any device to web, SaaS, native mobile and Windows applications helps to streamline access
  • Unique Adaptive Access is delivered by a tight integration between VMware Identity Manager and AirWatch Mobility Management. This integration provides an additional factor of authentication from enrolled devices that is both stronger and easier to use than passwords, while also maintaining conditional access policies between managed and unmanaged devices
  • A Customizable and Context Aware HTML5 Application Portal empowers employees with a simple on-boarding experience and secure application access across any device
  • Enterprise-class Infrastructure that is reliable and secure, running in the cloud or on-premises, and federates existing on-premises Microsoft Active Directory infrastructures to centralize end-user management

Commitment to Apple and iOS

 VMware’s goal is to provide products and services across all commonly used enterprise endpoints. But for now its focus is on Apple and iOS.

Wasmer said VMware would continue to develop application configuration templates and vertical solutions in industries like healthcare, airlines, education and others.

The idea is to provide users with a “single-touch” configured solution for a wide variety of apps, and facilitate faster on-boarding of mobile devices in the enterprise.

Will ACE Be Key?

Wasmer also reported that 15 new partners have committed to ACE, a standard for Enterprise apps.

They include bigtincan, Deputy, Docusign, Dropbox, Everbridge, Imprivata, Kony, Lua, Microstrategy, OnBase, ScrollMotion, ServiceMax, Showpad, Syncplicity by EMC and Webalo. AirWatch by VMware, Box, Cisco, Salesforce, Workday and Xamarin were previously announced as founding members.

That’s certainly the plan and it’s unlikely that Gelsinger, Poonen or Wasmer will settle for anything less. Enterprise mobility is a high stakes game not only for VMware’s customers but also for VMware itself.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  Title image by FaceMePLS.