Android for Work

Author

Michael DeFranco, Contributor

March 10, 2015

Google Arrives at the Enterprise Party With Android For Work

With the recent announcement of Android for Work, Google has joined Apple and Samsung in recognizing enterprise administrators’ need for mobile software that is both user-friendly and easily deployed through the enterprise. As more businesses scale up their enterprise mobility policies, through BYOD or other versions of mobile device policies, the need to create an OS-agnostic, enterprise-specific environment is greater than ever, and it’s exciting to see that Google is taking this next step in Android’s expansion in the workplace.

Google’s path to Android for Work

One of the persistent dismissals of Android for the enterprise has been its fragmented and insecure reputation. It’s not been seen as  reliable in a mobile workplace. Google first addressed this concern by acquiring Divide, a cloud-based, mobile device management platform, in May of 2014. Lollipop’s release at the end of last year provided Android with additional security features and new APIs for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) providers. These developments all paved the way for the recent Android for Work announcement. There is one important thing to note: all Android for Work capabilities will be delivered through existing EMM providers such as Citrix, MobileIron, and Airwatch.

With iPhone in Business and Samsung for Enterprise already providing businesses with ways to separate work and personal data on their respective devices, the arrival of Android for Work is a critical piece of the puzzle that allows enterprises to securely open their internal networks to all of their employees prefered devices, regardless of OS. Google’s push into the enterprise shows what Apple and Samsung have already realized: the enterprise mobility market is here to stay.

Employees should not be bogged down by mobile app stability

Prior to Android for Work and the release of Lollipop, management of work-approved apps required IT professionals to use workarounds from EMM providers without access to official Android APIs. This had a tendency to make business apps buggy and unstable, and added an additional level of user frustration as users were required to update and remove apps on their own.

These issues can make business productivity tools the opposite of what they were meant to achieve, as frustrated employees spend more time troubleshooting than using them to address business needs. In fact, issues with business productivity tools can frustrate an employee a great deal more than issues with other categories of software: the problems impact them exactly when they need to get things done. Imagine having trouble with emailing your colleagues right when you’re scrambling to resolve a customer complaint internally. Wouldn’t you be infinitely more frustrated with the software?

Android for Work greatly simplifies the process for providing users with business apps.  Through EMM systems, IT professionals can silently push and configure business apps, wipe enterprise data, and access a host of other capabilities. MobileIron has provided a great summary of Android at Work’s management features.

I previously wrote about how enterprises might end up supporting multi-OS systems instead of a single OS for all employees. With Android joining the other OSes in making it easier for administrators to deploy and manage enterprise apps, this becomes even more of a reality.

We at Lua have always believed this, and that’s the reason why we’ve built native apps on multiple OSes, and also on the Web. Workers want to be able to work efficiently from wherever they are. Enterprises need secure tools that separate business data from personal data. With Android and Apple nearly splitting the US marketplace it’s critical to be able to centrally, and easily, manage devices regardless of the OS. The Android for Work announcement is definitely a big step in the right direction. I can’t wait to see what else Android and Google have in store for the enterprise mobility market.

This article was written by Michael DeFranco from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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