InfoQuest and Citrix

Empowering people to use Microsoft Windows applications on any type of device – with full security.

For convenience and productivity, people today expect to use their mobile devices for business activities. As a result, businesses and IT face a big challenge: how to securely deliver Microsoft® Windows®-based business apps to tablets and smartphones. The sheer number of device types and mobile operating systems makes it inefficient and cost prohibitive to develop individual application strategies for every mobile device and platform.

Meeting these new requirements when IT teams are already resource constrained leaves many organizations wondering if there is a better approach. What if you could gain the benefits of a fully productive mobilized workforce, while at the same time simplifying the cost and complexity of traditional application management?

In a mobile world, the apps and devices matter the most

When people need to get work done, it’s all about the applications. In less mobile times, it was sufficient for IT to simply deploy business applications on corporate desktops and laptops to provide people with all the tools their productivity depended on. Now applications are only part of the picture – the devices people expect to use and where they use them from are equally important. The trend toward app-centric mobile workstyles has been accelerated by a number of business drivers including:

  • The increase in remote workers and people time-slicing the workday by choosing when and where to work means people expect equal access to applications from whatever device they choose to use.
  • People are accustomed to using powerful consumer devices to access email when they are away from the office. Now they also want to use these devices as primary tools to access business- critical apps.
  • Consumer cloud services, app stores and ubiquitous Internet access have created the expectation of immediate access to information from anywhere, anytime.

Like most businesses, you have invested vast resources into procuring and customizing Windows applications to support every unique aspect of your business. Now, as you think about addressing today’s demands for mobile access, you need a simple, efficient way to mobilize your business.

Rethink your mobile app strategy with hosted applications

Hosted applications, delivered by a Citrix Service Provider like InfoQuest and powered by Citrix XenAppTM, provide businesses with a simpler approach to accessing and supporting Windows-based business applications. For years, service providers have been using XenApp hosted applications to help businesses transform how they operate by enabling on-demand delivery of centrally managed applications to any computer. Now, as mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) introduce new requirements, hosted applications are helping businesses transform their application environment once more to let people access the applications they need on any type of device – including their own personal tablets and smartphones.

Instead of your organization installing and maintaining applications, service providers host the applications in their data center and deliver them as a secure, on-demand service. Your employees can access applications and data from any location, over any network (wired or wireless) on any device – Windows, Mac, tablet or smartphone. Centrally secured and delivered as a cloud service, hosted applications reduce the risk of data loss or intrusion no matter the device. User access remains secure, available and compliant, while intellectual property and sensitive private information stays safe, because data and applications reside in the service provider’s data center, not on the local device.

Hosted applications – a mobile app strategy IT and users will love

Mobilize Windows-based business applications

Hosted applications make it simple to mobilize Windows apps for use on smartphones and tablets. Instead of writing new mobile versions of your business applications, service providers use Citrix HDXTM mobile technologies to tweak your application interfaces to act like native mobile apps on mobile devices – without having to touch back-end code. An optimized mobile look and feel includes a touch interface, multitouch gestures, native menu controls, camera and GPS support. Mobile-friendly menus and a smaller subset of functions that fit mobile use cases more efficiently than the full-fledged desktop version make it easier for your employees to work with the apps on mobile devices. By using a single, centrally managed application to support users on any type of device – desktop, laptop, thin client, tablet or smartphone – you can dramatically reduce the time it takes to make new applications available in every usage scenario simultaneously.

Simplify application access on any device

For your workforce, hosted applications make accessing Windows applications on mobile devices as easy as it would be on a traditional computer. Citrix ReceiverTM provides a consistent point of access to every kind of application in your environment – Windows or native mobile – on any kind of device.

Secure sensitive data while allowing user flexibility

Instead of storing sensitive data on the device as many consumer mobile apps do, hosted applications provide secure remote access to centrally secured and hosted content. Although devices – and the people who use them – are mobile, the data itself stays secure and protected within the service provider’s data center.

Ensure a native-like user experience for mobilized Windows applications

Because XenApp-powered hosted applications run in the service provider’s data center, alongside your files and databases, the solution delivers better performance than a locally installed mobile app sending queries across mobile networks. Hosted applications further enhance the performance of Windows applications accessed on mobile devices by intelligently coping with the variability and packet loss of mobile networks and improving graphics and multimedia with hardware acceleration on tablets and smartphones.

The challenges of traditional application management in a mobile world

If your organization is considering using traditional application management approaches to app mobility, you may soon find that doing so is neither scalable nor cost-effective. The PC-era, one-size- fits-all method simply doesn’t work. The vast number of different types of apps, devices and mobile platforms to support could mean accepting a lot of usability, security and performance tradeoffs. In contrast, a custom strategy for each individual application, device and mobile platform is both time- consuming and expensive. Carefully consider the challenges you will face by taking a traditional approach toward solving mobile application requirements.

Customization and development

Customizing the huge number of Windows applications that run your business for a mobile world would be challenging enough if you only had to do it for one platform, but as BYOD becomes the norm, you need to ensure full compatibility with a proliferating variety of device types and mobile operating systems. To enable full productivity, you need to give people a native mobile-like experience with Windows applications, including touch-screen inputs and an interface optimized for smaller displays. You also need to ensure that the custom applications you develop in the future will be fully mobile, accessible and optimized for any-device productivity.

App delivery and access

Mobility is supposed to enable seamless, convenient access across devices and locations, not confuse people with multiple methods for accessing the latest apps depending on the type of application or device they’re using. IT needs a single, unified method for making the full range of applications available on any device people choose.

User experience

Windows applications were designed to run best in a traditional enterprise environment – not on mobile devices where packets may have to travel over mobile networks and connections of varying quality to reach the data center. Poor Windows application performance on mobile devices caused by inefficient data flows across your network and then the mobile carrier’s network can quickly disillusion users about the effectiveness of your mobility strategy.

Security

While some types of information may need to remain secure in the data center to meet compliance or risk management mandates, other types, such as email, project files or presentations, should be accessible from mobile devices – provided they can be accessed and stored securely. Your mobility strategy should provide the flexibility to handle different types of mobile data access and storage differently.

Conclusion

Hosted applications, delivered and managed by a Citrix Service Provider, transform your organization by supporting the mobile workstyles people rely on to get their work done wherever they can be most productive.

Your entire organization – business leaders, IT and employees – can immediately benefit from adopting a hosting application strategy. Business leaders are able to drive innovation, focus on growth and make their teams more responsive. IT decision makers are able to focus on bigger, more strategic IT projects instead of maintaining apps and devices. Finally, employees are able to access all of the applications and data from any device and location, boosting productivity and enabling a better work-life balance.