Enterprise mobility, as the business-end of handset manufacturing at Nokia is known, is a minefield. The needs of business users, who love devices with consumer features, and business managers, who don’t as a rule (especially if they are picking up the tab), are complex.
And, with the explosion in mobile email and the data revenues attached to it, theirs are needs that must be met.
Nokia executive vice president and general manager of enterprise solutions Mary McDowell knows Nokia has to please all the people, all the time.
“We have three distinct sets of people to satisfy – the end user who cares most about plain aesthetics, the IT guy who asks a lot of questions about security and device management, and the business owner who is more concerned with productivity and return on investment. It just means we have three masters to serve with every device and every solution we launch.”
McDowell’s Enterprise Solutions Group takes charge of the Eseries device portfolio, as well as device management solutions and Nokia’s security business. Security is a big issue.
Increasingly, mobile handsets are used for both business and personal reasons. The worry for businesses is that, come 5.30pm, handsets containing important work information will go missing, either stolen or left on the back seat of a cab after a night on the tiles.
Says McDowell: “Some of it is about having the right capabilities for accessing coroprate applications either via an inherently secure mobile VPN (virtual private network) that is unlikely to be used in a consumer setting.
Applications like salesforce.com will only work with specific clients. We believe that sets corporate and consumer applications apart, even if they sit on the same device.”
And if everything does go wrong, McDowell points out Nokia’s enterprise solution devices can be locked, wiped and re-imaged remotely.
“It’s one thing to take care of any security issues if a phone is lost. Another issue is to get the individual up and running again as soon as possible. We’ve developed systems that take care of that, without having to involve the end user,” she says.
McDowell is talking about features found on Nokia’s Intellisync Call Connect. Intellisync offers a consistent user experience across mobile and wireless LAN. Software and upgrades can be provisioned by IT managers over the air and policies changed without involving the end user.
And Intellisync works across both Nokia and competitor devices.
Says McDowell: “If you’re an IT manager and you want the facilities Intellisync offers, you don’t have to worry about the heterogeneity of the device population of your employees. The Nokia solution takes care of it and is equally at home on a Sony Ericsson device. The IT world is all about interoperability.”
So is there a de facto mobile IT interoperability standard already in existance? “It depends what area you’re talking about,” says McDowell. “For communication, I think some variant of SIP will ultimately be adopted. When you talk about integrating with the PBX there are a lot of vendor specific features.”
Indeed, Nokia’s Intellisync Call Connect enables interoperability between Cisco and Alcatel IP PBXs. That said, neither combination has achieved the Holy Grail: the seamless handover of a Wi-Fi to mobile whilst a call is in progress.
Nokia’s enterprise mobility initiative should spell opportunity for B2B resellers. How does the manufacturer propose to help them sell convergent products?
Explains McDowell: “Last year we rolled out the Nokia for Business channel programme to enrol and work with partners beyond the core operator base. Dealers can join up at basic or expert level and there are various co-marketing and training modules within it.”
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