This last week Good for enterprise was released onto the Windows Phone 7 platform. As I’ve a Windows Phone device and we’ve had Good in place for email in our firm for a while (for those on iOS and Android at least), I decided to download the app and take it for a test drive.
So what were my thoughts?
First off for those unfamiliar with Good, it “is a suite of powerful mobile device management tools that bring military-grade security, end-to-end data loss prevention”. Basically for me as an end user, this means the firm can deliver my work email to my own personal device, knowing that its fully encrypted at all times and can be remotely removed if required. So from a control point of view, firms IT and risk depts don’t lose control of the data even though it’s not on a firms device.
And from an end user point of view, I do get access to all my work emails, contacts and calendar on my own personal device.
The downside for me was that I’d already experienced Exchange email being linked natively to a Windows Phone via Acticesync. And the experience of that from an end user point of view was SO much better. I have my phone setup with 3 personal email accounts already (don’t ask!!) and Windows Phone like most smartphones combines these into one set of contacts, one calendar and (if I want) one inbox. So using Activesync my work email just blended into this environment (I ended up keeping a separate inbox for email, but the joined calendar and contacts was perfect). All my world in one joined up interface. The Good experience wasn’t, well, as good!
At the end of the week I had an excellent twitter discussion with Simon Dandy, Jeffrey Brandt, Charles Christian and Ryan Alban about BYOD (bring your own device) and the balance between security and usability. We concluded “So it’s simple. All we need is a native interface, feature rich, data bifurcating Good on steroids ”. Basically what you’d want is a separate store of data that’s encrypted (what Good does well) but delivered through the devices integrated native interface.
As I can’t utilise the Activesync option at work I’ve stuck with the Good app. And to be fair it does work well. I takes a while to get everything set up (on start up it has to synchronise the encrypted store with my inbox at work, which can take a while if I haven’t launched Good for some time), but once things are up and running it works as you’d expect any email/calendar app to work. But I can’t help feeling that the need to go into a separate app to look at my emails seems a bit clunky (I mean in Windows Phone I don’t even have to do that for Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, all this is integrated into the UI!). Overall it just isn’t quite as usable as having the emails pushed straight into the devices native email interface!