The App Culture That’s Affecting Today’s Business Environment

 The use of smartphone apps by enterprise employees is not an isolated or passing trend. Overall, the rising app culture is seen as good news, but how do you avoid the pitfalls and what does the phenomenon presage for the future of work?

Consumerization of corporate IT is having a profound impact on workplace culture and business models. Employees are energized by greater freedom and flexibility while enterprises are rewarded with efficiencies and enhanced services. While this new app culture brings security risks, privacy issues and employee productivity concerns to address, by and large, it’s regarded as a positive shift.

How The New Normal Is Changing The Conventional Workplace

In fact, according to a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, four out of five organizations believe app culture will have a net positive effect on their business, although the adoption of app culture is far from uniform.

Read the report to learn what sets the early adopters apart, why the C-suite are the chief cheerleaders for app culture, and what this cultural shift could mean for your business.

Read the complete report at AT&T’s Networking Exchange Blog.

This is a sponsored post from AT&T. 

Is Your Mobile Site Too Slow?

doug sillars at&t networking exchangeDoug Sillars is a Sr. Product Development Engineer at AT&T. You can find more blog content from Doug and other experts on emerging technologies on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

AT&T Networking Exchange

Performance, Perception, And What Speed Really Means To Your Brand

We’ve all done it.  Clicked a link on our mobile device, but loading the link takes forever, we click back to the app we were using, and never go back.  Or, we’ve visited a webpage, but all of the links take too long to load, and you go on to your next task.  What happens when your site is slow?

A recent survey by SOASTA shows that it is more important for the site to always work (72%), be fast (62%), and perform as expected (53%) than it is for the site to be fun (38%).  Even more telling is that when your site is under-performing, 88% associate a negative feeling with your brand!  Obviously, performance is growing in importance for your mobile brand.

So we know how slow sites feel to us as an end user, and we know perceptions of the end user to slow sites.  How do we make sure that OUR customers do not behave this way with OUR content?

I think the first step is to understand what “forever” or “too long” means to users.  A review of website load times from 2004 shows that once you hit one second of load time, there is a perception of delay, but no effect on user habits.  If your site does not load before 10 seconds, you have lost the attention of your customers and they are not likely to continue (or return to your site).  So it appears that our goal is to hit 1 second (or really darn close) to load our site.

In addition improving the speed of your site, there is a perception of speed.  Steve Souders points out that making your page/app appear to load faster will keep users around for a longer time.  By adding progress bars, or spinners, you can keep your users engaged, and more forgiving of the long load time.

In conclusion, slow websites can cause your customers to curse (23%) or throw (4%) their phone.  Make sure that your mobile presence keeps your users engaged, and their screen in one piece.

Have you considered how long it takes your website to load? Have you taken steps to improve performance or the perception of speed?


How to Use One Smartphone for Work and Play With AT&T Toggle

AT&T ToggleDo you carry two phones, one for work and one for personal use? Or do you find that work stuff is crowding out the fun stuff on your smartphone? Anyone who’s using mobile devices to stay constantly connected inevitably ends up needing access to work and personal at all times…it’s just not always very convenient.

Enter AT&T Toggle, a new program designed to let you use one device for everything. Essentially, Toggle has 2 modes (business and personal) that you can switch between, depending on what you’re doing. They are 2 different environments with different apps, settings, etc., and they’re also completely separate from each other, so you don’t have to worry about personal photos accidentally showing up in a REALLY wrong place at a really wrong time! In business mode, users can access all their work contacts, email, and calendars, just like a regular corporate-issued device. Personal mode is the same experience you’ve gotten used to on your device, complete with fun stuff.

It’s also really great for small business owners and IT managers who have security concerns, but also have employees who want to use their own devices. Using the AT&T Toggle Hub, IT managers can control what a user’s “business mode” looks like. There’s a web interface to manage what apps business mode includes, as well as manage access to files and resources, and remotely wipe the device if it’s lost or if the employee leaves the organization. Managers can even “lock” work mode to keep an employee out…sounds like a good way to make sure people actually relax on their vacation!

Plus, AT&T Toggle works on smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android, and is available on most major wireless carriers. That makes it easy to accomodate employees in a professional world where bring-your-own-device is becoming more and more common. Click here for more information on how to use AT&T Toggle to streamline your small business’s mobile use.

Small Businesses Create Customer Intimacy with SaaS: Improving Productivity and Competitiveness with Software-as-a-Service Applications

Ed Lucente is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at AT&T. You can find more blog content from Ed and other experts on emerging technologies on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

Software-as-a-Service in the CloudBefore the advent of cloud services, IT was managed ad hoc by small businesses (less than 250 PCs). This included tasks like on-premise server installations and maintenance, software upgrades, database administration, network management, and backups. Small businesses faced difficult IT challenges related to increasing operating expenses, unending complexity, and a lack of trained resources. IT management and costs distracted small businesses from focusing on building better solutions for customers. Fortunately though, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications have changed this malaise. Today, SaaS services are allowing small businesses to increase productivity and competitiveness, reduce IT costs, and develop solutions that create customer intimacy.

Productivity and Competitiveness

A survey commissioned by Microsoft showed that of the small businesses that use the cloud, 41% said they were able to employ more staff in roles that directly benefit sales or business growth, 39% invest in more product development or innovation, and 37% experienced improved agility and competitiveness. The cloud has made it easier for small businesses to scale their business to explore new markets, according to 42% of respondents. And 52% said that using the cloud enabled them to add new solutions and services that benefit their business more quickly and securely.  Read More

Nexus Remote Service Keeps Your Docs in the Cloud

Nexus Remote ServiceDropbox, Box, Microsoft SkyDrive, SugarSync, and Google Drive have been getting all the consumer cloud storage love as of late. The services are uber-popular, but may not be the best option for the enterprise due to the simple fact sensitive documents/files stop being sensitive once they are downloaded onto personal mobile devices. Nexus by ionGrid is a solution that lets users access and modify files from an iPad while they file stay protected by company IT policy.

Nexus is composed of two parts: the server portion and the mobile app for iPad. Nexus Server gives the Nexus app access to any SharePoint documents or Windows file shares. The app acts as a portal to these files, giving the user full access to files via a data connection. According to ionGrid, “The combination of the client and server software gives you access to your work files, even when you’re out on the road, and the best quality, pixel perfect rendering of documents that you can find.”  Read More

BlackBerry Mobile Fusion Launched – Multiple Platform Mobile Device Management

BB Bold and PlayBook

The term BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) can be a nightmare for your companies’ IT guy who has to ensure that sensitive information being passed around via employee-owned mobile devices stays secure. On the flip-side, allowing employees to use their own gadgets for business keeps hardware and voice/data plan costs down while keeping employee morale high as they get to use the device they want.

Now that RIM has announced plans to “focus on its strengths” (a.k.a. the enterprise), look for RIM to offer more options to aid large corporations and small businesses alike with their mobile device solutions. Case in point, BlackBerry Mobile Fusion – A mobile device management solution built on renowned BlackBerry Enterprise Server technology that allows IT departments to manage company & employee-owned BlackBerry, Android, and iOS devices under a unified web-based console.

BlackBerry Enterprise Server is one of RIM’s crown jewels, so companies interested in deploying BB Mobile Fusion can do so knowing that their data is protected under the same BES 256-bit AES encrypted technology, as well as easy over-the-air app and installation capabilities for BlackBerry devices. Read More

What’s Good? Mobile Device Management Tools with Military-Grade Security

In case you’ve been under a rock, modern mobilty is all about being productive everywhere.  As we also know, one of the greatest concerns in any business is security.  It’s obvious that these two forces work against each other in some ways.  Empowering your staff to be productive while on the go means the increased potential of exposing your company secrets.

For a long time, RIM’s Blackberry had a stranglehold on this market segment.  If you wanted secure email on the go, Blackberry was the answer.  However, the Canadian mobile maker has lagged behind the tech curve, and it looks like the market is finally catching up with them.  Increasingly, employees want to use their personal device for mobile productivity, but using personal devices for work presents a security risk for the business.  So, how can employees stay secure without having to carry a bunch of devices around with them, doing tasks based on which device can get the job done?

Enter Good for Enterprise.  Good for Enterprise is a suite of mobile device management tools with military-grade security for data loss prevention. Their collaboration features for iOS, Android, and Windows phone enable productivity without keeping your IT team up at night. Read More

AT&T’s Cloud Architect Is A Bold Step Into Public IaaS

Ed Lucente is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at AT&T. You can find more blog content from Ed and other experts on emerging technologies on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

IT professionals like selecting computer or storage resources in the cloud using an intuitive, self-service portal and convenient configuration aids. AT&T’s Cloud Architect is a good example that appears to have addressed these two primary features.

This wide array of configuration options is what I think IT professionals and others will find most striking about Cloud Architect. It is important to have the structure to support all major hypervisors, including VMware, Citrix and Microsoft. A multitude of operating systems are supported, like CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu Linux. Deployment models cover public, private, dedicated and “bare metal” servers.

Perhaps most intriguing is how rapidly applications can be deployed. Within five minutes, deployment for public or private instances and bare metal servers can occur. Dedicated servers deploy within two-to-four hours. Read More