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CA licenses SAP Afaria to offer mobile device management, will add DropBox-style capability

22 Apr 2013
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CA Technologies unveiled its enterprise mobility roadmap on Monday, along with the first product in the family, CA Mobile Device Management (MDM).

CA MDM is designed to let firms manage the smartphones and tablets in their bring your own device (BYOD) schemes. It is available as software-as-a-service or on-premise.

Ram Varadarajan, general manager, New Business Innovation at CA Technologies told V3 that with CA MDM, firms can take a device from being unmanaged to managed within 90 seconds. All mobile platforms are supported, including Windows Phone 8 and Android.

The technology also features an app store, which firms can use to publish corporate apps for staff to download, or can push them out to a multitude of devices.

Rather than developing its own MDM product, or acquiring a specialist player, as CA has often done in the past, the firm decided to license SAP’s existing Afaria mobile management technology.

“We could have spent six months to a year developing our own product and bringing it to the market, but by partnering with SAP we can take it straight out,” Varadarajan explained.

“We have a long history with SAP, and we have the source code rights and can modify Afaria as necessary.”

The MDM product will be added to over the next year with three more offerings: mobile application management to embed security and support into unmanaged mobile apps; mobile content management to allow secure access and collaboration across mobile devices; and mobile services management, which will bring consumer behaviour into the enterprise mobile experience.
 
Varadarajan said that CA views mobile as much more than just the device, hence its plans for a comprehensive management approach.

“Mobile means social and the ability to access data on the go as well,” he noted.

“It’s about keeping employees happy and making them more productive, letting your IT team improve their services via mobile, for example attending to alerts on the train, and leveraging mobile to grow the business. We’re starting with device management and will quickly add the other pieces by a year from now.”

As part of the content piece, CA is also working on a DropBox-style enterprise storage product for mobile access and sharing, which will be available later this year.

“No enterprise is going to move terabytes of data into Box.net. They want an enterprise DropBox,” Varadarajan said.

“We’ll leave the data in the enterprise, and offer a secure place to share documents if you need to access them between your phone and iPad and desktop.”

Clive Longbottom, founder of analyst firm Quocirca, said he would have preferred to see CA taking an information rather than device approach to mobile security.

“It’s more important to make the information secure than the device,” he said.

“If BlackBerry brings out the Z12, for example, and it has a completely different operating system, I have to wait for you as CA to catch up with that.”

Longbottom also felt that the decision to partner with SAP for mobile did not reflect CA’s desire to be viewed as an innovative engineering firm.

“Current CA customers say the firm is slow, sure and conservative. Potential customers will see it as too slow, too sure and too conservative. SAP is a far more modern company than it used to be, but it’s not seen as the most futuristic company when it comes to mobile,” he said.

“I’d have preferred CA had a different partner up on stage with them for mobile.”

CA MDM is available now. The product was unveiled at the CA World user event in Las Vegas, where the firm also shed light on its future plans around SaaS and innovation.

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Madeline Bennett
About

Madeline Bennett is editor of V3 and The INQUIRER. Previously, she was editor of IT Week. Prior to becoming a journalist, Madeline was an English teacher at a London secondary school. Madeline is a regular technology commentator on TV and radio, including Sky, BBC and CNN. 

View Madeline's Google+ profile

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