Microsoft Shakes Up Leadership: Now What?

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella overhauled the company’s leadership today. There is little surprise to the timing or makeup of the changes.

Microsoft typically makes changes just ahead of the start of its fiscal year. And the new alignment underscores the Microsoft’s objective to focus on three key areas: cloud, personal computing and enterprise applications.

But two big questions weigh heavy on my mind. How does will these changes drive new revenue and profits? How will these changes affect how CIO’s relate to Microsoft, especially as regards mobility where the company efforts have been largely a swing and a miss.

I think that Nadella is clearly bringing some new magic to the way the company thinks, a renewed innovative spirit and a broader vision for the company. Today, Nadella affirmed his decisiveness to execute against his strategy.

Stephen Elop, the former device head is out, along with his second in command Jo Harlow. In a vote of confidence Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Windows chief will lead a new team: the Windows and Devices Group (WDG). Myerson’s new team combines all of the hardware and software engineering talent into one entity – a move that is overdue, as I have said before.

But the biggest question is now what – especially when it comes to how Microsoft will compete and profit in mobile?  Microsoft warned in April that may take a write down on the Nokia investment. While much of that business was shuttered last year, the device business, in general, has found profits and market share elusive. More importantly, however, the group has largely been misaligned with the requirements of Microsoft’s key customers. All this has lead to mobile efforts to lack the internal influence at Microsoft to get things done. The one immediate benefit that comes with Myerson is his political strength at Microsoft.  Of course that means little to customers.

Today the mobile market presents two dominant choices. Apple’s closed ecosystem and Google’s Android, which operates under the guise of being open. The question for Microsoft’s Myerson is how will he mount a challenge that can divide and counter these two extremes?

A version of this post was originally posted as my Forbes column here:


Google’s Android For Work Isn’t a Slam Dunk


Android for Work (AFW) is a game changer. It offers a new set of applications, online services and industry partnerships specifically designed to ease the two chronic concerns –security and fragmentation –that have hamstrung Android in the enterprise and left its business and innovation potential largely untapped.

But, as much as I like Android for Work and recognize that it has leveled the playing field between the Android and Apple IoS ecosystems, I do have to offer a few words of caution to CIOs and IT.

Android for Work is not a slam-dunk. Before adopting Android for Work, you’re going to have to make sure you:

  1. Look over your company apps to make sure they’re compatible.

    Google’s approach allows Android owners to create two user profiles –one for work life and one for personal life. To distinguish between the two, each work app icon will have an orange badge labeled “Work Mail” or “Work Chrome,” referring to Google’s Web browser. But, if a user tries to move info from an app that isn’t badged (say, DropBox) into a badged app (like one for work email), then there’s a risk the app will crash.

Recommendation: Take inventory of all your apps –the ones you’ve built, the ones you’ve bought and the ones you’re planning –to make sure they’re compatible with Android for Work’s standard API.

  1. Recognize that Android for Work is made possible by the multi-user support and SELinux security features introduced in Android 5.0 “Lollipop.”

    Although Google is offering an Android for Work app that offers similar profile-separation capabilities for pre-Lollipop devices, I wouldn’t risk the shortcut. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the most opportune moment to update devices, it’s time to take action.

Recommendation: Update all devices to Android V5 Lollipop or replace older devices, ideally with those that are based on ARMv8 architecture.

  1. Turn on encryption.

    Despite Google’s claim that Lollipop will encrypt smartphone and tablet data by default “out of the box,” encryption is not being enforced on all devices running Android 5. Why not? Because of multiple reasons related to whether or not encryption happens in software or hardware and how it impacts performance.

Recommendation: Use ARMv8-based Android devices.

  1. Appreciate that industry dynamics are shifting.

    With Android for Work, Google gives businesses more control over the apps and data that employees store on their handheld devices. It also offers a new level of security that, as I said months ago, is “Knox-like, but not Knox.” While Android for Work positions Google in a dead-heat with Apple for enterprise users it is a new untested at scale scheme. And remember It’s not just a platform; it’s an ecosystem.

Recommendation: Check with your Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM), Application and Handset suppliers about when they’ll be ready to support of Android for Work and what specific actions are needed by your organization. Also, as with all new major software rollouts, test and verify through a reasonable size beta before adopting Android for Work commercially enterprise-wide.

Android for Work is widely regarded as a huge step forward for Android users who want to use their devices at work. I agree. But don’t be misled; it’s not a free ride. Before adopting Android for Work, think it through. With a little forethought, you can ensure your workforce is able to take advantage of all the benefits, without suffering the potential pitfalls.

This note was originally publish on Bob Egan’s Things Mobile Blog at

Six requirements to mobilize your workforce successfully


We talk a lot about how to mobilize our workforce, but the disturbing truth is that we as enterprise leaders hold on to our desktop behaviors—and beliefs—way too much.

Getting beyond the “desktop first, mobile sometimes” mindset

Around 2000, I first wrote about the need for delivering the “right-time experience” to mobile devices. Back then, mobile devices sported underpowered processors, graphically inept screens, proprietary operating systems with few if any application programming interfaces (APIs) and little or no user-accessible onboard storage. Carrier wireless networks were slow. GPS was a road to nowhere. Wi-Fi access was anemic, insecure and slow. Bluetooth was an enigma.

As I look back on those days now, I think the concept of the right-time experience was and remains as much about how to save the desktop experience as it is about how to extend or create a useable—and valuable—experience using a mobile device. By necessity, we lived in a desktop first, mobile sometimes world

Fast forward to 2015.

Continue reading Six requirements to mobilize your workforce successfully

An Insiders Take: 7 Mobile Imperatives for IT and Business Leaders


Mobile is transforming infrastructure and business processes, amplifying the attention needed to meet new mandates for customer experience. I part 2 of this series we outline the last of our Seven Mobile Imperatives for IT and Business Leaders

In Part I of this two-part series,I introduced you to Catherine Courage, the senior vice president of customer experience at Citrix, and I outlined the first four of seven imperatives to help IT and line of business leaders bridge the gap between product development and customer experience.

Today, I’ll finish the list, and share Courage’s insights about what success looks like in these areas.

Those first four imperatives are:

  • Evolve your definition of brand experience.
  • Understand that mobility is key.
  • Step up to compete with the consumer world.
  • Don’t Own Stuff (DOS).

Here are the next three:

Continue reading An Insiders Take: 7 Mobile Imperatives for IT and Business Leaders

Bridging The Gap Between Mobile Product Development And Customer Experience


So far, enterprise mobility has been a big fail. Even though employees are unabashedly devoted to their mobile devices, companies have spent billions doing little more than investing in device defense management solutions to mobilize email. As remarkable as it sounds, most enterprises offer only three or fewer mobile work apps beyond the usual email, calendar and contacts management. Contrast that with the hundreds of work apps typically seeded on desktops, and you’ll begin to understand magnitude of the business imperative. And the opportunity being squandered is enormous. Top companies who have successfully committed to enterprise mobile see up to 20 percent higher revenue growth on average and report more than twice the revenue per employee.

Why are mobile apps so effective –and popular? Essentially, it boils down to the experience. A great mobile app is purposeful, easy-to-use and fun. That’s one of the main reasons customer experience design topics are among the fastest growing interest areas by our clients. After all, today’s empowered consumers are more discerning and have more choices than ever before. Any company that wants to maintain a competitive edge and deliver a customer experience that drives revenue needs to better connect its product and its brand promise. Or course, that’s simple to say… but difficult to execute.

Continue reading Bridging The Gap Between Mobile Product Development And Customer Experience

BlackBerry’s New Passport is Cool and Sexy. Is This The Beginning of a ComeBack?

BlackBerry Passport Photo via Photo Courtesy: Lucas Atkins from
Photo Courtesy: Lucas Atkins from

BlackBerry’s new Passport is eye-catching. Women call it “sexy.” Men say it’s “cool.” And once they use it, iPhone owners apologetically concede that they “only have an iPhone.”

But does that mean BlackBerry is poised to regain a dominant share of the mass handset market?

Hold that thought. I’ll come back to answer that question in a minute.

I have to admit, when I saw the Passport for the first time a few months ago, I was skeptical. “A big, fat, square device? What? Didn’t BlackBerry say it was all but getting out of the device business?”

Now, I know better. BlackBerry has several new devices in the design/release queue.

Granted, the Passport may look like a misfit in a sea of norms, but that’s precisely what makes it such an elegant, modern conversation starter. I even conducted an informal experiment to prove it. After I received a Passport to use nearly three weeks ago, I tried it out, and then I shared it with random people so I could hear their opinions, too.

Continue reading BlackBerry’s New Passport is Cool and Sexy. Is This The Beginning of a ComeBack?

Mobile Strategy: 10 Crucial Best Practices




Building a Mobile Strategy and incorporating Cloud solutions are topics that are driving a long overdue paradigm shift in the way CIO’s and their IT leadership build and execute strategic plans and investments.

When it comes to mobile, many organizations are caught between the reactive impact of consumer mobile realities on their organization and critical needs to build long-term strategic enterprise class solutions. We outline 10 best practices.

Continue reading Mobile Strategy: 10 Crucial Best Practices

Apple: Will Size Really Matter?

In a nutshell, the long anticipated day of the Apple iPhone 6 announcement has arrived. Long in that today’s die was cast at Apple way back in 1980.

If rumors turn out to be correct, Apple will announce its highly anticipated iPhone 6 incorporating much larger screens: 4.7 and 5.5 inches. Apple may also announce something rumored to be called the iWatch, which is also expected to come in two screen sizes. Frankly, Apple needs to make these moves in response to in-market products that are made by Samsung and Microsoft.

During my 20+ years as an industry pundit, I have praised, or even stood up for Apple when they have deserved it. I have also hammered on Apple when it seems they were just begging me to.

But, there was always one constant. I had to keep reminding myself:
Apple builds bicycles.

Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, pointed me to a vintage Steve Jobs video from 1980 via Twitter (Thanks, Marc!). The video is here – if you have not seen it – do yourself a favor and watch it. In the video Jobs talks about his bicycle building theory applied to building computers.

The Apple strategy is brilliant because of its simplicity. And it’s a strategy that many companies in the mobile industry should think about long and hard, in product planning cycles.

It goes like this:

1. Build products to serve the one on one relationship of people.
2. Chew up the hardware horsepower to smooth out and serve that one on one relationship.
3. Use no hardware before its time.
4. Ask yourself whether you are amplifying human capability building something different just because you can.

Many fault Apple because the company has done little to massively rejuvenate its user interface in years, or to revamp its OS for true multi-threaded / multi-tasking capability. Others will say that Apple dropped the ball when the company decided not to incorporate NFC in the iPhone 5.

But the facts are that Apple continues to tweak the center of gravity, the design of its seats, the weight and the color schemes of its “bikes,” while making sure that their bikes always have two wheels, brakes and pedals where you expect them to be, and let people go faster and ride longer more easily.

In my opinion companies like Google and the rest of the Android ecosystem are a poster child for violating rule four above.

And I may happen to think BlackBerry’s BB10 is a much better operating system than iOS. But when the company launched its Z10 nearly two years ago, BlackBerry asked its loyal base to learn how to ride a unicycle.

While, Microsoft with Windows 8, RT and Windows Phone OS’s are transitioning from its experiment with a bicycle built for three.

Yes, while Apple is likely to launch bigger phones, its also adding a new faster A8 processor, NFC for payments, as well as Qualcomm’s MDM9625 LTE modem, which supports speeds of up to 150 MBPS with support for next-generation LTE-Advanced networks. Apple is also likely to support the new ultra-fast 802.11 AC Wi-Fi.

These improvements in hardware and the new features in its iOS 8 software are big.
In the end, I think Apple is keeping true to its legacy staged as far back as 1980.

Will you like a larger iPhone?
For several months now, I have been alternating between using a Microsoft / Nokia 1520 with its 6in and a BlackBerry Z30 – a 5in device and an older Samsung Note 2. At first I was hesitant to use such large screen devices. Now I find myself hard pressed to think about going back to a smaller screens. I bet you will too.

I think the market is ripe for Apple to ship a new 5.5” device, and they’re going to sell a ton of them….

Size does matter.

BYOD As We Know It Is Dead

“Cell phones” at work are not new. Nor are smart phones. Many credit Blackberry for inventing the concept, but few would argue that Apple with its iPhone, more than other device created this explosive phenomena called BYOD – Bring Your Own Device to work.

Most of what BYOD seems to represent so far is an unbalanced equation in favor of employees. Employees may be happier because they can carry their favorite device to get company email, but it is not clear that employers are happy with the results. Keep in mind, that 90%+ of BYOD activities are email, calendar, personal banking, news, family life coordination, Twitter and Facebook FB +2.01%, but little else.

In my conversations with business and technology leaders, many organizations are asking themselves if the fully loaded costs of ~$5.50/month/employee, in addition to any device or services subsidy, is worth it to the company.

If BYOD 1.0 is about employees, what might a BYOD 2.0 look like?

What are enterprises looking to get out of BYOD going forward? With this in mind, I have been asking a lot of CIO’s, Directors of IT and other smart people what they think.

Everyone has been talking about BYOD, which should be more than bringing their devices to work and then putting them to the side and saying, “Hey, stay quiet. Don’t disturb me. I’ve got a lot of work to do.” And they go to their laptops and do most of their work.

Business leaders are looking for change. The mobile enterprise and BYOD 2.0 is not about bringing devices to work; it is about using devices for work. How does business turn these shiny new toys into business tools? That means allowing employees to work with customers, review contracts, write blog posts – do real work on mobile devices.”

Is BYOD a good idea in a practical sense? BYOD essentially means freedom of choice. Today’s IT professionals recognize the need to work with users rather than impose procedures and systems on them. BYOD is an expression of our world, which is becoming more democratic and more engaging.”

We’ve gotten stuck on the infrastructure side of things. It is true that mobile brings a lot of questions about security. What happens if I lose my device? What happens if an employee leaves the company with sensitive records on his mobile device? We need to address these issues and then we need to move beyond them.

We have to continually ask ourselves what are the key business drivers for how enterprise should invest in BYOD 2.0? I think the primary business driver is getting work done. Business users do not want to compromise. The want convenience. They want to be able to do the work without being tethered to their laptops. People deserve and demand a great user experience.

There are other drivers too. There are growing worries about the high costs of data leakage and redundant licenses caused when business users ‘go rogue’. Employee use of unsanctioned IT resources that are outside the supervision of corporate IT is rampant. I worry a lot about the potential for U.S. businesses facing billions in cleanup costs caused by unintentional data leakage. Something I call the digital exhaust”. Let’s not forget the hundreds of millions more in redundant licenses that are likely to become more visible over time. It should be common sense that employees are going to use whatever they need to do to get work done. This will not change until IT and the business leaders sort out how to make enterprise collaboration services easily mobile accessible.

The cloud is essential to the mobile enterprise. Documents are still the foundation of business: spreadsheets, presentations, documents where I put my thoughts down or write business proposals. So we need to enable document collaboration at the office and on-the-go. Microsoft MSFT +1.11% with Office 365 has done a terrific job of creating an office-enabled cloud, and are brining full feature native Office 365 and SharePoint access to multiple devices – iPads, iOS devices and Blackberry.”

It is important that we think aboutI mobility is not about introducing new tools that users many not be comfortable using. A lot of people are not ready to give up on Excel. Let’s face it. Some might like it; some might hate it – but can you live without it? Sometimes we end up switching between the means and the purpose. The purpose is getting things complete, not learning new tools.
Business leaders should consider three best practices that we see continually used in companies who I consider are establishing leadership in deployment mobile for employees.

#1 – The trend is about thinking beyond the device and much more about using mobile to get real work done that drives revenue for a company and improves customer satisfaction.

#2 – IT needs to switch from being a gatekeeper to being a technology opener. It is not about chief information officer. It is about chief innovation officer.

#3 – Do not confuse innovation and disruption. Provide an innovation that is easily absorbable by your mainstream business users.

Business users do not care about IT – and that is something that IT folks tend to forget. The last thing they care about is a name. They do not care if it comes from Microsoft or Box or Java, or from IBM, or Google. They care that they want to get their jobs done so that they can get home to do other things. The Enterprise IT has yet to deliver.”

Wrapping Up.

If BYOD 1.0 has been responding to the needs of the employee, BYOD 2.0 efforts will focus more on the needs of where the enterprise and the employee intersect. Perhaps the most valuable key attribute of BYOD 2.0 will be to provide right- time experience (user interface + user experience) to the systems, solutions and points of collaboration that are mutually relevant to the company and to the employee.



2014 Copyright – All Rights Reserved
Reprints Available
Please Call 508-444-2600




Is BlackBerry Being Smart Buying Secursmart?

As BlackBerry searches for its escape velocity, we need to keep an eye on one key question: Will BlackBerry be smart in the way the company applies its capital to acquisitions and how?

BlackBerry is making its second major investment under its new management. BlackBerry is buying Secursmart, a German company who is well known for securing mobile VoIP (Voice over IP) calls. The terms of the deal are not disclosed.

This looks smart deal for four of reasons:

1) It aligns with Blackberry current customers and prospects. Secursmart is known for it is in high-security voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping solutions for government organizations, highly regulated enterprises and telecommunications service providers. These are all key customer segments for BlackBerry.

2) The solution is platform agnostic. Secursmart has solutions for Android, iOS, BlackBerry and its announced intent to support Windows Phone. Secursmart has solutions for mobile to mobile as well as PBX interfaces. While I think that BlackBerry under its new management may have an idea to become the solution of record for securing the mess that is Android security, the company must be platform agnostic – simply because its customers are, if nothing else.

3) Secursmart, like BlackBerry, is not U.S. based. While I am an absolute patriot of the U.S., it is equally quite clear that many of my domestic and international clients are growing increasingly worried over the NSA fiasco. This purchase may be a welcome relief and a solution to ongoing eavesdropping and data security worries on the minds of many CIO’s.

4) BlackBerry and Secursmart already know how to dance together.

BlackBerry buying Secursmart also signals three proof points if nothing else, that we should all keep in mind as we bear witness to whether BlackBerry can complete its intended transformation:

1. BlackBerry continues to follow through on its promise to raise the stakes against all who vie for a share of the mobile security market by building or buying the necessary assets the company believes it must have to grow share.

2. Blackberry buying Secursmart is a second indicator of how un-magical Gartner’s ranking system is by failing to gauge ( or perhaps even consider) whether a company has both the management quality and capital structure to execute against an effective vision.

3. That BlackBerry intends to reassume its place on the mantel where CIO’s shop for scalable and layered, strong security and identity management platform with confidence, and without getting fired.

During BlackBerry’s security event held in New York City this week, I heard something I have not heard publicly or privately from a single client of any vendor. Not One. Ever. The statement was bold and seems unrehearsed.

Peter Lesser, Director of Global Technology for New York Law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom said that its corporate clients that have strict compliance routinely audit his firms technology and process on securing data. Lesser said that when the question of mobile security comes up and he answers; “BlackBerry, there are never follow up questions.” He said it was quite clear that the auditors see BlackBerry as the gold standard. Perhaps relevant but not disclosed during the event, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Torys LLP are both BlackBerry customers an serve as legal advisors to the company.

What I tell my clients is that mobile device security is easy. They need to think beyond the device, and the app. Securing end-to-end data and identity in mobile are the two hard problems. These are make or break items for IoT, M-Heath, M-Payments and across the energy sector. These are also issues related to the overall thesis of consumer privacy as this topic continues to become more visible as a nations security issue being driven by mobile, cloud and big data.

My sense is that these are the two areas where BlackBerry is focusing its energy, its investments and where they intend to lead the conversation. Time will tell. BlackBerry has the capital and new smart management who realize that devices are an-end-to-the-means, not a means to end. In the end, it is all about how well BlackBerry maintains its focus and how well it can execute.




2014 Copyright – All Rights Reserved
Reprints Available
Please Call 508-444-2600 for more information