Some time ago, HP’s software team was challenged with a task to manage up to 100,000+ mobile devices for a company. These devices needed secure access to business data and it’s apps, and allow the company to remotely wipe the device without affecting personal data. A significant challenge, and one that the group was not going to back down on. The customer? HP. Their own internal IT department needed a better way to manage mobile devices.
The solution is a common one. Build a container on the phone, and block any access from native applications to the business applications. The implementation is different. HP Anywhere, the mobility app, is an enterprise-grade app meant to deploy and access business apps. Built into the framework is a workflow and collaboration system that allows apps to notify you and to build approve and reject actions, among others.
During Discover 2013 Las Vegas, The HP Bloggers had a coffee talk discussion with John Jeremiah, Sr Product Marketing Manager, and Kobi Eisenberg, Product Manager of HP Anywhere. While the discussion kept taking tangents to other HP Software projects, I wanted to learn more about HP Anywhere. Mobility is on EVERYONE’s mind, and I wanted to know what HP is doing. Especially after Citrix announced XenMobile this year. I asked Kobi to give me a demo of the app outside of the talk, and he walked me through an Expense Report app.
I’ll admit, the collaboration features of the app really put you in your “virtual office” far better than other offerings. You can be more responsive and make decisions faster while mobile. After the XenMobile announcement, Citrix also has a mobile offering. The largest difference is that HP Anywhere is an SDK that requires developers, whereas XenMobile is a consumerized container utilizing native apps. No, HP Anywhere does not protect or “wrap” native IOS/Android apps from the store. It can launch them, but it doesn’t protect them. XenMobile does. I also could not see any support for Windows phones.
It’s worth noting, that because “HP Anywhere”, is itself, an app, the apps that you build into the app, is of course, under your control. You don’t have to publish individual apps into the “Store” for Apple or Google. Publishing more apps is simply nothing more than downloading an updated version of the HP Anywhere app.
HP Anywhere is an “enterprise-grade” mobile offering. In other words, it does not offer any self-registration or onboarding. All of it is handled from inside the company infrastructure. You must use your normal lines of communication to your IT Services team to request access and applications. This puts the control purely on IT. Doing so, protects your apps and data better, but could cause long delays and extra work for the service team. Overall, you choose what’s best for your business.
You can learn more about HP Anywhere from HP’s website, but there isn’t anything there with any real ‘meat’ to it. If you like marketing, then you’ll love it. I found you can get much more data from the developer site, than from the main site. The coffee talk did not mention, nor do I see it on the site, on how IT can manage these devices, or a support matrix of what devices are, or are not supported.
It will be interesting to see where HP takes this from here.