Wavelink Blog

Category: Mobile Application Management

Translating Wavelink’s Reporting Features For BI / Analytics

As everyone is aware by now, Big Data and BI / Analytics continues to be a significant part of Gartner’s top 10 priorities for CIOs for 2012 (see, for example: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1826214).  This makes it one of the top 10 priorities for supply chain managers as well.   What many supply chain organizations and their supporting partners may not be aware of, is that they have some unique data that can be added to the BI / Analytics toolkit via their already deployed Wavelink device management and device client applications.   All that is needed is a little effort to map the Wavelink reported statistics onto the enterprise’s other BI / Analytic framework.

Wavelink Avalanche provides a wealth of device management reporting to supply chain management operations.  Not only does it supply pre-configured, off-the-shelf reports, but the system is flexible enough to support creation of custom reports by the end-user or by a certified Wavelink partner.   Data provided in these reports would fall under the category of “Dashboarding”, “Advanced Analytics with Drill-down”, and/or, “Scorecarding and KPIs”, using the current vernacular of BI / Analytics (see, “Driving SMB Efficiency With Business Intelligence,” for example).   However, unlike those more general reports, Wavelink provided data adds an additional dimension to the reporting by focusing specifically on the mobile device assets used in real-time supply chain operations.   For customers using Wavelink’s Emulation Clients, (Telnet, or WIB), there are even more real-time statistics available for reporting, and would make an excellent input to “Exception Handling and Alerting”, functions of BI / Analytics applications.

So, how do supply chain managers take advantage of these features to support their CIO’s BI / Analytics functions?


The Risk Of Increasing Operational Cost (OPEX) By Doing MDM Backwards

We’re all aware of the explosion of new devices arriving in the marketplace.   From phones, to tablets, to bigger phones, to smaller tablets,…. And all of the new challenges and opportunities these devices bring with them.  Everyone is abuzz with the new terms of “device consumerization”, and “application containerization”, etc.,. etc.  The emergence of so many new devices, with so many different form factors is exploding the options for endpoint connectivity into enterprise business applications.  

However, what do all these new devices really mean in terms of providing enhanced value to today’s business processes?   And, what do these changes really imply in terms of mobility device management?   Is it possible, as is often the case with rapidly evolving technologies, that all the hype is really about a rather thin area of deployment, and is overlooking some, or possibly many, of the basic fundamentals?   If so, what does this imply about future costs?

Three prior articles shed some light on these questions.   Consider the following highlights.

  • According to Aberdeen Group’s Analyst Insight, “High Performance Organizations Empower Employees with Real-Time Mobile Analytics”, July, 2011
    • The adopters for Mobility Business Intelligence (MBI) on emerging mobile devices can be segmented as follows;
      • Enterprise Executives – The Board Room and other C-Level company stakeholders
        • These users are interested primarily in Dashboards that allow them to view the holistic health of the business from one central platform.
      • Field Sales – The road warriors and those dependent upon direct interface with the company’s customers
        • These users are primarily interested in real-time data to help close sales faster, (i.e. inventory stock data), as well as increase customer satisfaction, (i.e. trouble ticket response data).
      • Operations – Operations management including I/T
        • These users want to deploy Dashboards again, but focused solely on the health of their specific area of operation, (i.e. server uptime, etc). (more…)

Cutting to the Chase: Let’s Talk MDM

Everyday, I see updates and conversations on various sites and forums about MDM/BYOD/etc. Many are from LinkedIn forums, which usually contain some initially good discussions, before they turn into sales pitches for various providers. Nowadays, with all of the buzzwords surrounding the enterprise mobility space, it’s hard to weed through the murky stuff, and get to the bottom of what’s important about MDM: defining your mobile ecosystem.

Until your mobile ecosystem is defined, it’s hard to determine what the needs are, and ultimately, will delay your return on investment. As we’ve discussed in the past with many BYOD topics, it’s important to have a clear plan on what your unique needs are in the enterprise. What’s the landscape of devices like? Do you have all rugged devices, or do you also have smart devices you need to manage? What about network infrastructure? Do you need to manage the wireless access points in addition to the devices? Do you have one, or many locations you’ll need to have insight over?

The point is that every mobile ecosystem is different, and take caution when doing your research, as to not get caught up in the buzz and spin. The truth is that very few enterprises are alike, and being able to work with a trusted advisor to determine the best plan of action will lead to quicker implementation, faster ROI, and a more efficient enterprise.

As a side note, if you would like to join a LinkedIn group that avoids the jargon, we’re looking to get a solid group who are interested in discussing topics, not sales pitches, in our Mobile Ecosystem group. Check it out, and strike up a conversation!

Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 2

Good afternoon! Last week, in Questions to Ask About BYOD – Part 1, we discussed whether or not BYOD will save your company money.

Today, we will look at the second aspect of BYOD that needs to be considered, and is closely related to the IT cost benefits: What security challenges and risks will face your IT folks in a BYOD world? The IT and security challenges are complex and many. What happens when someone’s device is lost? What happens when a CEO becomes a victim of corporate espionage (this is not just paranoia, it actually does happen) and her device is stolen by the competition? How much control can the company have over employees’ devices? There’s obviously a myriad of other security questions that need to be addressed for BYOD security but you get the picture, it’s daunting.

Most experts agree that the single most important element in a BYOD environment is having explicit policies surrounding employee devices. In fact, in a recent article by Muneyb Minhazuddin of Australian-based Dynamicbusiness.com it’s as important as having a phone number or a quality Web site.

That being said, policies are only effective if they are adhered to and enforced. Penalties for infractions need to be clear, concise and, most importantly, enforced. Sometimes employees make mistakes; sometimes they are outright stupid. When rules are broken there needs to be a clear solution available to fix any problems the infraction may have caused and people need to be reprimanded accordingly.

Even with strong BYOD policies in place keep in mind that the human element tends to really mess things up. Look long and extremely hard before you enter the BYOD arena.


Questions to Ask About BYOD

BYOD. Today it seems everyone involved in any way with enterprise mobility management is constantly being barraged with the term. It’s a buzzword that just isn’t going away, at least not anytime in the foreseeable future. It seems like everyone in the industry has a different take on whether BYOD is a positive or a negative. There are definitely many cases for and against it, but I think most people considering BYOD don’t even ask the most important question: What is the real reason they want to implement BYOD?

BYOD in the Mobile Ecosystem

It sounds basic but this is something that’s almost always overlooked. Is an organization doing it to save money? Is a company looking to BYOD to help increase employee productivity? What IT and security challenges will implementing BYOD raise for a business? In regards to making a decision on BYOD a company needs to weigh both pros AND cons. It’s important that they don’t just jump on board because it’s the hot trending topic. It may be right for your organization or it may be entirely wrong.

In what will be a two-part series, we’re going to focus on two of the questions listed in the paragraph above: the cost of BYOD for a business and IT, and security challenges of implementing BYOD.


Myths of BYOD

If you ever visit one of the public food courts in Singapore, you’ll find that there are as many as 85 different food vendors and outdoor kitchens side-by-side. Most of these have exactly the same menu as the vendor next to them and they will proudly tell you that. When begin your decision process, the vendors move from talking about the food and how good they can make it taste, and move the sale to talking about why their chef is better than the rest, or why their customer service is a differentiator. From where I sit, BYOD and MDM may have started to morph into exactly that.

Now, I’m not trying to belittle or downplay the importance of the BYOD market, but there have been scores of new vendors that have popped up in the last couple of years, and they are starting to sound a bit like these food vendors by sharing the same features and capabilities. One thing we’ve noticed is that there are some myths that need a little debunking. We’re not saying this just to stir the pot, but most companies need to strongly consider if BYOD is really for them.

BYOD in the Enterprise

Is this really going to save me money?

This has been a huge topic, and there have been a number of studies into whether or not BYOD saves money for those who implement it.

Cisco, for instance, stated a 17-22 percent savings, but that’s not the norm. Tom Kaneshige points out that while hardware costs might be lower, and they no longer have to worry about acquisition cycles, there are hidden costs. A lot of the BYOD crowd is basing savings on workers bringing their own mobile devices to work – tablets, phones, etc. so there is a trade-off between acquisition costs and a number of aspects of control.

One place that costs creep back in is in service plans, and allowing workers to purchase their own vs a negotiated corporate agreement. An Aberdeen report indicates that a big corporate wireless plan breaks down to about $60 per person while the average reimbursement for a BYOD smartphone is $70. If you’re a big enterprise, that can add up really quickly. Kaneshige’s article goes on about other hidden costs, and what it surmises is sometimes you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Completely secure

We run up against this all the time. Companies will say that they have verbal and written policies in place. We have the firewall, a secure VPN, etc. but when you start to ask questions things begin to fall apart. A recent study asked workers about using their mobile devices remotely, only 29 percent of users have set passwords that would prevent their device from being used by a thief or co-worker.

While a stranger might not be able to get on the network, without a pass code on the phone, someone could surely access contact lists, to do lists, and company email to access and review a lot of data that companies don’t want other people view or have access.


This has been one of the biggest claims amongst those who are leading the BYOD charge. They claim that using a device they “know” will make them work faster and be more productive. They may be more familiar with their device reducing confusion about how the device works, but how much time are they spending playing Angry Birds, keeping up with Words with Friends, posting on Facebook, etc. that isn’t being or can’t be enforced by the company?

There’s no concrete evidence that this is going on, but if my friend, who is using his phone for work, is a test case, then I would suggest it’s more than his employer would like.


BYOD isn’t inherently bad or good. Whether it really works for you depends on how you do business, secure your enterprise, and manage your costs, employees, and infrastructure. I thought it might be useful to at least start talking about a few of the widely cited myths and panacea expectations that we encounter as we talk to potential enterprises considering allowing employees to use their personal devices and computers as part of enterprise working assets. BYOD can be useful and may make sense for you – clearly define your requirements, policies, and expectations moving forward. Make sure you understand how your workforce uses technology and the trade offs of personal freedom on productivity. With that said, you also need to know there are some rough, potentially sharp and harmful edges associated with employing BYOD. I didn’t even mention the potential headaches that accompanies managing BYOD, depending on whatever your definition of managing it might be. Bottom line, can you really control what you don’t own, or should that even be a realistic expectation?

The Present and Future of “Value” in Value Added Resellers

Supply chain customers and end-users have always relied on their I/T supplier companies to assist them by bringing the “Value” in Value Added Reseller.   Over the years, VARs have led the way by providing services and support that their supply chain customers rely on to run their own businesses.   However, as technology continues to evolve, VARs are working hard to keep up with creating new services and support that will help their customers adapt.   Far beyond the standard RF site survey, leading VARs today have to be focused on a myriad of  technologies and techniques in order to remain “Valuable”.   Here are just a few of the areas where VARs are advancing the state of the art.


BYOD Security in the Mobile Ecosystem

I was speaking with Kelly Ungs yesterday and he pointed me towards an interesting article over at the EMF.org about BYOD. The article makes a point about some of the liabilities around BYOD policies, and I thought it was worth sharing.

The article specifically references the recent info about IBM’s struggles with BYOD policies, and something jumped out at me that continues to be an issue in the BYOD space – security. The issue, of course, being that employee’s usually don’t mean to introduce risks into the enterprise, but sometimes do simply out of pure, accidental error.

“We found a tremendous lack of awareness as to what constitutes a risk,” says {Jeanette} Horan. So now, she says, “we’re trying to make people aware.”

Security is a huge issue, and it’s important that companies take it into consideration, regardless of it being tied to a BYOD policy or not. Further, it’s also important that companies can secure the network(s) that these devices are connecting to. Remember, it’s not just the information on the device that’s at risk. It’s also the information the device can tap into. Remember that factor, and check out the articles above. Let us know what you think about security and BYOD in the comments below, or start a new discussion in our LinkedIn group.

Mobile Ecosystem Predictions for the Rest of the Year

Hope you had a great 4th of July!

Now that we are half way through the year, I thought it’d be fun to throw out some predictions that I and some of my other colleagues see happening over the next six months and on.

First, expect to see continued consolidation in the MDM market, (which we have been lucky enough to participate in). This continues with companies combining their similar but disparate functionality to create more complete overall product offerings, e.g. LANDesk purchases Wavelink, and a few other notables in the fray. These consolidations along with further consolidations in the mobile device markets may muddy the MDM waters for some in the rugged space.

Under consolidation we have point 1.b. We are watching as hardware vendors consolidate their markets by purchasing other rugged vendors who also offer MDM products. As it turns out, they sometimes acquire companies with a preference for a management solution different from their own. Those who have been making a living with “special” functionality specific for their devices will end up with either some quick work to do to homogenize across their device platforms, or abandoning those special features until a later date for their acquired brand devices.

Next, I believe Microsoft Windows 8 will attempt to put a lock on the MDM market for Windows devices. Like the last time they tried this with SCMDM, they might find it difficult unless they can manage non-MS Windows devices including Android and iOS devices.

Finally, I expect to see more companies dip their toe in the water and try On Demand, cloud-based management. I am predicting they will find it to be a cost effective, refreshing change for the better. With that said, some of the more traditional in-premise wifi only devices will sadly never see the internet making this impossible. As long as there are wifi only devices, the need for “self-hosted” MDM systems will remain a requirement for management vendors.

These are only a few for you to think about, but I’d love to hear any predictions you have for the next 12-18 months! Post them in the comments below and let’s talk about them!

Tennessee, Tablets, and the DMV

Here’s one for the “Oh, now THAT’s a great idea” file. Tennessee has recently implemented tablet-based kiosks to reduce wait times in 26 of their DMV locations. Despite the “cool” factor associated with tablets, it also ensures a much smoother experience for motorists. It’s a perfect example of form meeting  function!

The Gizmodo write-up is pretty funny, but all of that aside, it’s a perfect example of the reach of the mobile ecosystem. Where else do you see that tablet kiosks could be useful?