Bring your own device (BYOD) might be a buzzword in corporate circles, but it is a daunting task for the IT departments of enterprises to keep track and support the myriad of devices and operating systems brought into the network by employees. While devices definitely help workers to be more productive, but they can put a strain on network capacity and IT departments as the flood of help desk calls and diversity of operating systems threaten to overwhelm them. Moreover, with the proliferation of smartphones and media tablets businesses are now looking for solutions that can balance the productivity, protection and security. This is what AirWatch makes possible.
US-based AirWatch is a leading player in enterprise solutions for mobile device management, mobile application management and mobile content management. It has more than 10,000 customers globally and over 1,600 employees across nine global offices, including over 150 customers and about 300 employees in India. After its acquisition by virtualisation and cloud infrastructure firm VMware in February 2014, it became a part of the end-user computing business unit of VMware but has largely operated as an independent entity. However, with strong data centre and end-user computing capabilities of VMware and enterprise mobility of AirWatch, both the companies are on an expansion spree and aiming to provide a broad set of capabilities to do businesses in the realm of enterprise mobile device management.
AirWatch has significant presence in India. Over 150 companies, including Oyo Rooms, Meru Cab and Zomato are using its platform to manage their mobile devices. “If you look at early adopters in India, it has been sales force automation; be it pharmaceuticals, insurance, banking or SMBs, they all are looking to automate their key parts of business such as sales force, human resources to improve productivity and security and we play critical role in enabling this,” AirWatch MD, Asia Pacific, Jeff Baum told FE. “In last one year, we have seen encouraging traction from BFSI, retail, manufacturing, aviation, and pharmaceutical sectors for our enterprise mobility solutions.”
In India, banks have already implemented technologies across different verticals of their operation and increasingly they are becoming IT-savvy. However, with the emergence of apps banking, banks are further looking to streamline their process and reduce the wait time for their services with the help of mobile devices and tablets. AirWatch is already working with some major banks and has seen significant growth for its platform among Indian banks.
Other than the private enterprise, AirWatch is also focusing on the government sector. The company is keen to be part of government’s Digital India and Smart Cities initiatives. “Digital India is likely to bring significant innovation in education with e-learning and in healthcare with e-health. To play defining role in these projects, we have a dedicated team to work on government projects. In countries like USA, UK and Australia, our mobility solution have already been applied by federal government to manage police, prison, parking etc. We are now eager to bring our global experience to Indian enterprises and government departments in India,” Baum said. “Globally, education is a huge sector for us. In the next five years, there will be massive digitisation in the education sector. Although in India, things are still getting organised under the new leadership, however we see huge potential, especially in the area of e-learning,” he added.
One of the key challenges for mobile device management companies, such as AirWatch, has been to replace the different software development kits (SDKs) tied to individual enterprise mobility management vendors with a common standard. To address this challenge, AirWatch, Box, Cisco, Workday and Xamarin recently joined hands to form a consortium of technology companies and launched the App Configuration for Enterprise (ACE) group, with the aim to develop common standards for enterprise apps so that they can more easily integrate with a number of commonly used enterprise mobility management (EMM) products.
On the proliferation of media devices and BYOD, Jeff pointed out that allowing different set of devices or BYOD “is not an IT project but a journey” for any organisation. It is important to have finance, HR and leadership commitment behind the project. Allowing employees to use the device, they are more comfortable with, can enhance the morale of the organisation but improper planning could turn BYOD into bring your own disaster,” he said.