Save Time: Use Blue Cedar Workflow Builder for Mobile App Deployments

Nikfar Khaleeli | Jul 25, 2022


Use Blue Cedar for No Charge

Our recent announcement that BlackBerry customers can use the Blue Cedar platform free of charge means that the barriers to rapidly delivering mobile apps secured with BlackBerry Dynamics have effectively been removed.

Blue Cedar’s Enhance with BlackBerry service, which is part of the Blue Cedar Platform, adds the BlackBerry Dynamics app protection and mobile app management (MAM) features that customers want without requiring code to be written. Companies using BlackBerry UEM can now easily increase the number of BlackBerry Dynamics-enabled apps in their mobile app portfolio, ensuring control over sensitive business information used on mobile devices for all the important use cases: bring your own device (BYOD), choose your own device (CYOD), company-owned personally enabled (COPE) devices, and company-owned business-only (COBO) devices.

Mobile App Deployments Are Challenging

But companies can realize significantly more efficiencies by using the Blue Cedar Platform for mobile app deployment, beyond those efficiencies enabled by use of the Enhance with BlackBerry service.

That is because the last mile of mobile app deployment is not straightforward. It encompasses the set of activities that a company must complete in order to make a mobile app available to its end users. For companies with digital transformation initiatives, ensuring app-level security for mobile apps is a key activity. The reason that companies make mobile apps available to their end users—employees, and maybe contractors and consultants—is to boost productivity. These apps will access sensitive business information, so the company must have control over that data, regardless of the mobile device on which it will be used (COPE, BYOD, etc.).

A logical choice is for companies to require that these mobile apps have the app security offered by their chosen UEM vendor as it then simplifies management for IT operation teams, who end up being responsible for device and app management.

Mobile apps can come from multiple sources. They can be developed internally or they can be obtained from an ISV. This means that ensuring app-level security is challenging. Source code for third-party ISV apps is understandably incredibly difficult to get. Even if that hurdle is overcome, IT operations teams typically do not have developers on staff. Getting time from developers in other parts of their company to write any modification code, re-sign the app and push it to the desired distribution channel is near impossible. Hiring external developers is just as challenging, as it first requires budget negotiations and then finding developers with the requisite skills. 

And let’s not forget that this isn’t a one time activity. This last mile has to be repeated multiple times: change to the app’s code, changes to libraries used in the apps, changes to the OS, changes to the UEM’s app security SDK.

Blue Cedar Enables Deployment Efficiencies

That’s where the Blue Cedar Platform can help companies realize significantly more efficiencies.

The Blue Cedar Platform integrates with CI/CD pipelines and can be configured to provide notifications to kick off a mobile app deployment workflow when the development team is done with a mobile app, or a new version of that mobile app, and commits the changes to a GitHub and GitLab code repository.

Blue Cedar Workflow Builder

And that’s when the magic happens. Blue Cedar’s workflow builder makes it possible to codify the set of steps that a company requires prior to deploying an app to its end users. Say a company wants to add BlackBerry Dynamics to an app that has been developed by a third party and has obtained permission from that ISV to modify the binary and distribute the modified app to employees. Blue Cedar’s workflow builder can be used to create a recipe something like this.

  1. Import the app binary from GitHub
  2. Enhance the app with BlackBerry dynamics
  3. Sign the app
  4. Push the app out to a select of users for testing (i.e, user acceptance testing or UAT)
  5. Make any modifications necessary from feedback collected during UAT
  6. Sign the app again (since it was modified)
  7. Push the app to BlackBerry UEM for production

We have a great video that showcases an example BlackBerry workflow in action on the Blue Cedar Platform.

See BlackBerry Workflow

Once that deployment “recipe” has been created it can be used again and again for changes that require redeployment of that app. OS update? Just run the workflow. Changes to the app’s source code? Just run the workflow. Changes to the BlackBerry Dynamics SDK? Just run the workflow. In every case, Blue Cedar pulls in the app and your end users get the updated app through BlackBerry UEM.

Support Multiple UEMs

Sometimes a company may need to maintain two UEMs. Perhaps it is because they acquired another company that is using a different UEM or perhaps the company is in the process of transitioning from one UEM to another. Blue Cedar can help companies realize efficiencies in these situations too.

Assume that the second UEM that the company has to maintain is from Microsoft. All that needs to be done is to create a new Blue Cedar workflow that would look something like this:

  1. Import the app binary from the same GitHub repository that was used for the BlackBerry workflow
  2. Enhance the app with Microsoft Intune
  3. Sign the app
  4. Push the app out for UAT
  5. Make any modifications due to UAT feedback
  6. Sign the app again
  7. Push the app to Microsoft Endpoint Manager

We also have a video that showcases an example Microsoft workflow in action on the Blue Cedar Platform.

See Microsoft Workflow

One app going to two workflows allows the company to easily support two UEMs. Codifying the deployment activities into workflows means that efficiencies are realized with every change that requires a redeployment of the app, time that IT operations teams can use elsewhere.

Try Blue Cedar for Free

And it’s free to try. Any company can use all features of the Blue Cedar Platform for no charge for non-production deployment of mobile apps. No setup needed. Upload an app, configure the new features to add, and click to sign and deploy a modified app through your distribution channel. It’s that simple.

I encourage you to try it out now.

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