In much simpler times there was only one OS. But times have changed and we now live in a multi-OS world.
With Android L, iOS 8 and Windows 8.1, all three major OS vendors have demonstrated just how serious they are about enterprise mobility.
This is welcome news for enterprises as all three OS updates focus heavily on empowering IT, enhancing management capabilities while enhancing the user experience.
That said, deciding which OS to embrace can be daunting and challenging – so bring on the channel advisers.
For example, organisations need to understand the potential security implications and threats as well as the enterprise management capabilities.
Android Work is one of the key features from Google's L Android OS. Android Work promises to deliver enterprise security and management features when released in autumn, in addition to a containerisation feature to separate business and personal data and apps.
This means organisations may prevent corporate data leaks without intruding on personal apps and data and compromising the user experience.
Other features include support for BYOD and corporate-owned devices, granular control of business apps and a new method of distributing apps so IT admins can automatically update corporate apps.
Apple's iOS 8 features simplified IT administration and enhanced security and device management capabilities that give IT more granular control over mobile devices, apps and content.
These include mobile device management tools that can set device names remotely and prevent users adding their own restrictions or erasing devices.
Also included are enterprise-grade security technologies, which improve data security by extending data encryption to calendar, contacts, reminders, notes and messages, making mobile device management easier and more transparent for users.
Apple is also ensuring that purpose-built mobile apps for the enterprise become a must-have for organisations, by improving inter-app communication and empowering application development.
Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 delivers 10 times the management and security APIs as the previous version, for options such as device and Wi-Fi configuration, VPN provisioning, remote assistance and application whitelisting and blacklisting.
These new enterprise-focused features from Apple, Microsoft and Google show that mobile in the enterprise is being taken seriously. Channel partners should therefore be able to provide insight on all the new features and capabilities and give details of the benefits they can bring to an organisation.
Channel partners should sit down with key stakeholders in the business to understand current business processes, compliance needs, business objectives, employee demands, and so on, all of which will shape the mobile strategy.
Working with key stakeholders and IT, the channel can map the benefits of mobile working as well as threats and risk, then develop a strategy that ensures the organisation is compliant and ready to take advantage of the newest and most powerful technologies.
The strategy should also outline how to unlock the features and capabilities of the OS of choice, and recommend OSes for each task. The most likely outcome is a multi-OS environment; rarely does one device or OS fit all requirements.
Channel partners can work with enterprise-mobile-management providers to create tool kits, insight reports and data sheets that provide organisations with the right guidance and support.
Afterwards, maintain relations with the customer organisation, ensuring all departments – including IT, HR, finance, and legal – are satisfied with the OS of choice.
Nigel Hawthorn is EMEA marketing director at MobileIron
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