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VMware bringing workflow app capabilities to Workspace One

At VMworld, VMware will unveil a new feature to help IT build mobile interfaces for complex business tasks. These workflow apps aim to solve organizations' development challenges.

VMware is working on new capabilities for mobilizing common business workflows. 

The company's workflow app feature is designed to let IT quickly build a unified user interface (UI) for tasks that require access to multiple applications and back-end systems. The technology, dubbed intelligent workflows, will be part of Workspace One, VMware's end-user computing platform.

VMware will show off intelligent workflows later this month in a session at its annual VMworld user conference. Attendees will learn how IT can use the feature to "build workflows from core apps to backend services such as Salesforce or Concur," according to the session description. VMware, which has not publicly announced intelligent workflows, will provide more information about the feature during the conference, a spokesperson said.

Workflow apps combine all the steps users need to complete a certain task into one front end, regardless of how many apps and back-end systems those steps rely on. To submit an expense report, for example, a worker might receive an email about a new credit card charge, use their smartphone's camera app to take a picture of a receipt and then file the report through the company's HR app. A workflow app could allow that person to complete that task within one UI instead of three.

Workflow apps follow mobile design principles -- they are task-specific, with a narrow feature set and intuitive UI -- but aren't necessarily exclusive to mobile devices. Some offerings make apps available through web browsers, which users can access on any device type.

They aim to address many of the mobile development challenges organizations face, including: a lack of qualified developers, inability to meet expectations set by consumer apps, and the resulting lack of user adoption.

"Anything you can do to make [app development] easier for companies is a good thing," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates in Northborough, Mass. "You don't really need highly skilled developers to do it."

VMware has been developing its offering for more than a year, according to a source with knowledge of the project's history. Other vendors that offer workflow app capabilities include Sapho, Capriza, PowWow Mobile and SkyGiraffe.

As enterprise mobility management -- a core component of Workspace One -- becomes commoditized, more vendors will get into app development as a way to differentiate themselves, Gold said. VMware made its initial foray into the market in May with its acquisition of Apteligent, an in-app analytics provider.

"This is the next logical step," Gold said.

Introducing Workspace One intelligent workflows to boost app adoption and productivity

For IT, connecting heterogeneous back ends is difficult; at best, there is not enough time and manpower to support the requests in a timely manner. This introduces shadow IT, where the business unit deploys a solution to meet user needs outside of IT's control. Learn how IT can take back control using Workspace One intelligent workflows to build workflows from core apps to backend services such as Salesforce or Concur. These workflows create what we call micro moments which provide an exceptional user experience, increasing productivity and app adoption while keeping corporate data secure.

Source: VMworld session description

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