The future of mobile management is holistic, argues prize-winning vendor
Heat Software achieved a Highly Commended accolade in the Mobile Management category at the 2016 Computing Vendor Excellence Awards for its LANrev management software, in a victory LANrev sales manager Margreet Fortuné describes as a "very positive" result and one that shows the company is "going in the right direction".
"I think it's important for Heat, when you consider where we're coming from. We acquired the mobile management solution last October from Absolute Software [when Heat bought Absolute Manage and Absolute Service]. Since then, we have integrated customers and partners into the Heat ecosystem and we have launched several new versions since the acquisition, and so this result in the Vendor Excellence Awards is very positive and shows that we're going in the right direction. So we feel pretty good about that," she says.
Fortuné explains that the acquisition of Absolute was designed "to strengthen Heat Software's unified endpoint management solution portfolio, and complete the portfolio from a mobile device management point of view".
Heat Software believes its holistic approach to mobile management is what separates it from its rivals.
"If we purely look at the solution itself, it's been developed from the ground up to manage not just mobile devices, but also the more traditional platforms such as those running Windows and OS X," says Fortuné.
"If we look at the trends in today's workforces, they've become more and more mobile. As well as using tablets and smartphones while on the road, they're still using laptops. They are becoming more and more multiplatform, as well as less and less connected to the corporate network, and as such, devices still need to be managed and secured, no matter where these people are or how they're connected. That's why we differ from other solutions in our space; the ability with one solution to manage this breadth of form factors and platforms, from Windows to Mac to iOS, Android and Windows Phone."
Heat prides itself on being able to handle the increasingly wide variety of mobile form factors on the market, but it's a constant challenge, says Fortuné.
"If I'm using a hybrid tablet device like a Microsoft Surface, that's usually running Windows - either 8.1 or a flavour of 10," says Fortuné. "That form factor, if we look at that device, is a tablet, but it still needs to be managed in the same way as a Windows 10 desktop or traditional laptop. But nevertheless, it's a mobile device.
"And so a VP of sales travelling around Europe with a MacBook Air in their pocket - with sensitive data - they have chosen it because of its mobility, but it still needs to be managed and patched in the very same way as the 21-inch iMac that's used by the graphic designer in the marketing department - it runs exactly the same operating system."
Fortuné believes Heat is unique in this ability to work across a range of systems.
"We need to balance between manageability, security, and enabling and empowering the workforce," she says.
"One size fits all is not something that's working in today's world, and every organisation is different, and we need to consider them as such. We can attach ourselves to ‘best practice', but at the end of the day, the tool you provide needs to integrate into the processes of the company and adapt to them, and I think the same is true for all our solutions.
"We take this holistic view of all devices and build it in one solution. And this is why we're building that unified endpoint management vision that's further down the road for Heat Software."
Fortuné points out that the number of connected devices around the world is expected to explode to over 20 billion in the next five years.
"If we see that the enterprise mobility market is driven by growing numbers of mobile phone users, we also see emerging markets literally exploding. When we look at the concept of BYOD, no matter what you think about it and how you want to implement it, it comes from consumerisation of IT, and shadow IT - those are facts. So as a services and endpoint management company we will need to respond to that and adapt to that," she says.
"So our vision for the future is to bring all of our endpoint management and security solutions under one unified platform," says Fortuné.
"Obviously, that's not happening tomorrow, but our development and engineering teams are very well positioned today to get that going relatively quickly."
So what smart devices and the Internet of Things. Do they feature in Heat's plans?
"I think it's a more open area, and one where there's a lot of innovation... It depends a little bit on how corporates and the public sector embrace this IoT type of thing.
You get the sense that Fortuné has yet to be convinced by all the hype surrounding IoT.
"Two or three years ago we were talking about what Google Glass could do for IT, but now we don't see that trend coming up much today," Fortuné says.
"Still, we need to be ready for it, and make sure that if this is something that's going to be important for IT management and wider aspects of the business, we need to keep more than a close eye on it."
But for now, giving enterprises the means to boost endpoint security is Heat's primary concern, she says.
"There's already a lot to do for businesses to get security under control, and only nine per cent of IT budget is spent on endpoint security today," says Fortuné.
Empowering the worker
If Heat Software were to sum up its mission, Fortuné says, it's to empower the worker in a way other vendors - not to mention IT management - can easily forget:
"What is important to me is we go beyond managing and controlling endpoints," says Fortuné.
"I think the IT department today is coming from a very different approach of ‘We manage, we have control, we make sure the devices run, and we don't really think about how to empower the worker'.
"And today, with consumerisation and all of these apps - which basically have driven all this - and these devices being used at home with your children, compared to using them in the workspace, there's a big shift taking place.
"If we look at the young generation that's about to come from school, they already have been using these devices during their studies, and they have certain expectations.
"It's all about empowering the mobile workforce, it's about looking at workers in a different way and in a customer way, and how IT can really embrace this and be able to link in with these expectations and make sure they're delivered."
A clear mission statement from a company with a huge regard for the end user. Many congratulations to Heat Software for a well-earned Highly Commended in the 2016 Computing Vendor Excellence Awards.