Q&A with Doug Lane of AppSense
VSM: AppSense recently announced the opening of AppSense Labs, the research arm of the AppSense global research and development group? Why AppSense Labs?
DL: We see a significant shift occurring in how people use technology, and it's more important than ever that we foster culture of innovation at AppSense. For example, we see cloud, tablet, and mobile technologies rising in strategic importance, but no one has really figured out the formula for unlocking their full potential or integrating them into the existing IT infrastructure in a cohesive way. We have a team of very technical and commercial talent here at AppSense, and Labs is really about giving them the freedom to innovate alongside the more structured and methodical development of our core enterprise products.
VSM: Where are the labs located? How is it being staffed?
DL: The core AppSense Labs team is split between our two principal R&D locations in the UK and Silicon Valley. However, contributions to Labs will come from all corners of the organization. Just as organizations like Google have empowered employees with concepts like "20 percent time," AppSense employees now have a vehicle to bring new ideas to life, even if the idea doesn't fit neatly into one of our traditional product areas.
VSM: What is the difference between traditional AppSense product development and the process for technologies developed in the labs?
DL: Some of the world's largest organizations rely on our enterprise products, so it's essential that we maintain the same level of rigor and customer focus we are known for when it comes to our primary development efforts. AppSense Labs gives us a separate, parallel product release vehicle where we can try new things and take risks in the name of innovation. There are no real boundaries on the types of things that AppSense Labs will look at and bring to market, though much of our early focus is centered on the blurring lines between personal and business computing and exploring how the consumerization of IT is empowering people to do amazing things. Another key difference you will see is that many of the products we release via AppSense Labs will actually be free. Part of our innovation strategy with Labs is to try new things and get them into the hands of users quickly. We don't expect everyone of them to be success, but we think running this more aggressive product release track will help us learn and put useful technology directly in the hands of users as quickly and often as possible.
VSM: AppSense labs recently released its first product, DataLocker. What can you tell me about DataLocker?
DL: The explosive growth of personal cloud services like Dropbox sends a clear message that computer, tablet and smartphone users greatly value synchronized data access across all of their devices. But many users struggle with the trade-offs between convenience and concern over the security of personal data stored in the cloud. DataLocker eliminates this concern by allowing users to easily encrypt sensitive information in cloud services like Dropbox without sacrificing the convenience of anywhere access.