SAP will ship by year's end a new release of its Afaria mobile device management (MDM) software, offering more application management capabilities and tighter integration with corporate IT systems to help businesses manage the perplexing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) dilemma.
The new Afaria release also provides enhanced support for iOS and Android mobile devices. But support for Windows 8 devices will have to wait for the next edition sometime in the first half of 2013.
As many as two-thirds of employees who use smartphones and tablets for work choose their own devices, according to studies by Forrester Research. Managing and securing those disparate devices and the applications that run on them is proving to be a major challenge for IT executives.
[Related: How To Offset Your Customers' BYOD Risks]
SAP Afaria is one of a number of MDM products on the market, competing with MDM systems from such major companies as IBM and Symantec, as well as smaller vendors such as AirWatch, Fiberlink, MobileIron and Zenprise.
While many Afaria sales are direct, SAP partners -- especially systems integrators and hosting service providers -- are an increasingly important component of the company's go-to-market strategy, said Bryan Whitmarsh, senior director of solution management at SAP's Sybase subsidiary, in an interview with CRN.
"SAP Afaria supports a simple, self-service model that serves as the underpinning of our mobile platform-as-a-service [mPaaS], which includes mobile security and mobile app management," said Alex Bausch, CEO of VeliQ, an SAP "managed mobility" partner, in a statement. He said the new Afaria release would help VeliQ "further evolve our mPaaS offering, which will include creating new, innovative services spawned from the integration of mobile, cloud and big data."
The new Afaria release has an enhanced self-service portal that workers use to access applications and manage their devices. It also provides a new application programming interface (API) and new application policy features that managers use to deploy applications to users' devices.
On the enterprise side the new Afaria release is more tightly integrated with multiple, disparate directories that IT managers use for authentication and assignment tasks. It's also integrated with SAP's HANA in-memory database system. Expanded PKI certificate management improves mobile device security. And other enhancements improve email access control and device remediation.
PUBLISHED DEC. 27, 2012