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Inside Looking Out: An Executive View on Enterprise Mobility With Julie Palen (revisited)

Welcome back to the latest edition of Inside Looking Out.  Last week I got to sit down once again with Julie Palen.  Julie is the Sr. VP for Mobile Device Management at Tangoe.  Much like another recent interview, I wanted to sit down once again with Julie to see how she felt our world of enterprise mobility had changed since we had last spoken.

Enterprise Mobility Foundation: Welcome back to Inside Looking Out, Julie.  Looking back on our discussion ~15 months ago, what stands out to you the most in hindsight?

Julie Palen: It’s nice to be here.  Without a doubt, the biggest thing I don’t think we really predicted was all the new Pad Technology. It seems all the device manufacturers are rushing to get there and at the end of the day Google may be the big winner and the PC manufacturers may really feel the pain. These devices are fantastic for consuming information. It will be interesting to see what all the extras will be that will make it easier to create content.

EMF: CES just occurred a couple of weeks ago, and all the rage was tablets and smartpads. How important will they be in the workplace?

JP: It will be HUGE!! It is really the first smart device that can truly transform the way “non professionals” do their job. By that I mean factory workers, hospital works, line of business people. It isn’t just about executives. The form factor takes the device well beyond e-mail.

EMF: So does this mean tablets will replace smartphones?

JP: No I don’t believe tablets will replace smartphones, but I do believe they will replace the PC. I believe for the next 18 months we will see folks with a smartphone, a smartpad and a notebook…and overtime the notebook will be phased out.

EMF: OK – Well, if people are going to be bringing in their tablets AND their smartphones to the workplace, is the IL/CL debate over?

JP: It isn’t over, but it is a different conversation. I believe that regardless of who paid for the phone or who is paying the bill – the user has a personal connection to the device and “assumes” it is theirs and will use it for personal tasks – phone calls, games, pictures – in addition to work. I also believe that regardless of who paid for the device or the carrier plan – the data and the security configuration is owned and controlled by the corporation. The data belongs to the enterprise – no matter what. If everyone can get their heads around that, it will all work great. There are still a lot of financial reasons why a company will have corporate liable devices – but who owns the data shouldn’t be one of them.

EMF: Let’s shift gears if you don’t mind. Microsoft has filed a complaint against Apple’s attempt to trademark the term “App Store.” Obviously, that’s in part because mobile apps are exploding. How does that play out for the workplace?

JP: Well, I believe this is a great opportunity for the “consumer” app stores that Apple, Google and RIM have all brought to market, but they are consumer stores. They are not enterprise application stores and that is really what the workplace will be focused on. I believe both consumer stores and enterprise stores will need to work side by side to meet everyone’s needs. The big challenge will be – what happens when I buy an app from a consumer store that the enterprise wants to disallow. There is a lot of thought that needs to be put into how this will all work together.

EMF: But with all these applications being downloaded outside of the control of the IT department, my knee jerk concern is security. How are IT departments going to deal with all this?

JP: I think it is kind of funny how concerned everyone is. Way more concerned than they have ever been about users having personal data or applications on their PCs. Or concern over how much IP is walking out the door on a flash drive. I believe the most important aspect is awareness – The IT department needs to know what is there – in case an application is shown to create a security breach or other problem – so it can quickly be removed. IT needs to approach this the same way they do with the PC and not overreact because of the volume of devices.

EMF: Julie, we started today’s discussion by looking 12-15 months back. What’s the hottest issue you expect to see in enterprise mobility in the coming 12-15 months?

JP: This is such a tough questions because there has been so much change in the past 15 months. Personally owned devices are here to stay and IT organization are going to have to decide how they are going to manage them – they aren’t going to be able to say no. The most exciting thing for me – since I have been in the MDM space for 11 years – is that with all the different devices, platforms and change – enterprises are finally realizing they can’t make it all work without a MDM solution. MDM is so much bigger than anyone thought it was going to be and it is finally here.

And that’s a wrap.  Thanks Julie for taking the time once again to chat with me about your views on enterprise mobility. Do you know anyone who should be a guest here on Inside Looking Out?  Drop us a line.

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