06/25/2015

How Microsoft can Gain Relevance in Enterprise Mobility

Microsoft has had fits and starts since releasing its first modern mobile OS in Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft has long been aware that mobile enablement has taken root within its customer base. While Microsoft has had the opportunity to leverage its cloud and software development capabilities and position them for the future, the company has struggled, and has seen little traction for its enterprise mobility related solutions. Since establishing its Enterprise Client & Mobility (ECM) team, Microsoft has been able to incorporate a broad portfolio of assets and products, namely: Windows Server, System Center, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Microsoft Azure RemoteApp, Active Directory, Azure Active Directory, Remote Desktop Services, and security. Though small, the ECM team has quickly become a key pillar of Nadella’s vision for a Mobile-First, Cloud-First focus. The team has been working hard on elevating the messaging around Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), which has Microsoft Azure AD Premium, Azure Rights Management Services (RMS), and Microsoft Intune at its core. The key will be to deliver on the value proposition that Microsoft has been leading with around its EMS suite — one vendor, one contract, one SKU.

Source_Microsoft2

Simplifying the EMM Procurement Process is Difficult

Microsoft’s messaging for its EMS suite is spot on. The company has correctly identified a major pain point that has historically plagued IT decision makers — licensing, contracts, and renewals. To compete and succeed, Microsoft must continue to work on educating its channel on the value play it has assembled in EMS as it has the right solution components in place for success. Microsoft has put together bundled pricing for EMS, which makes the product attractive for channel partners (at $7.50 per user/per month, EMS is aggressively priced — roughly half of what it would cost to acquire, Intune, Azure AD Premium & RMS separately. The company also plans to add Advanced Threat Analytics to its EMS suite in Q3 (via the technology it acquired from Aorata in Q4 of last year).

Microsoft has the right vision going forward (see below), but executing on it could prove challenging due to the intensifying competition in the market. Prominent EMM vendors such as AirWatch, Good, MobileIron, and SOTI have worked hard at streamlining and simplifying their pricing plans. Additionally, these vendors are working well with the mobile ecosystem as it evolves (for example every prominent mobile-first EMM vendors has integrated with Google’s Android for Work program [with the exception of Good]. Integrating with this program is critical to provide enterprise security for Android deployments going forward (there are alternatives such as Samsung’s Knox that provide the requisite containerization that is core to the Android for Work program, but even Samsung is now begun to support the program itself). Microsoft chosen not to participate in the program for very deliberate reasons — it wants to leverage the built-in MDM functionality it offers with Office 365 to lure customers away from their existing vendor. This makes sense, as Microsoft has chosen to not permit third-party integration with competing EMM vendors to its Office applications and doesn’t support standard iOS and Android APIs for its applications.

Easy Migration Provides an Opportunity

While many of Microsoft’s customers are likely to already be using a competing EMM vendors’ products, the migration process has also been streamlined; this has made it easy enough to switch over to Microsoft products (EMM vendors are still capitalizing on migrations away from BlackBerry’s platform). It seems as though customers are open to evaluating Microsoft’s EMS solutions as a means of consolidating disparate tools used to manage devices and applications. Identity is also being reevaluated as more companies mix cloud and on-premises software services. Intune does an adequate job in providing secure access to email and other Office 365 offerings on a wide-range of devices and operating systems. Azure RMS provides data protection, and hybrid Identity and Access Management (IAM) is anchored by Azure AD Premium, a service that nearly every company uses to authenticate its users. The emphasis on hybrid here it to highlight its importance of Microsoft's distinction of Hybrid Identity as the new "control plane." This is demonstrative of the company’s recognition of empowering mobile users on their device of choice while enabling IT with visibility into who is trying to access data and apps and providing a means of validating and authorizing the appropriate personnel.

Source_Microsoft

Source: Microsoft

So What Does Success in Enterprise Mobility Look Like for Microsoft?

The firm’s recent restructuring (Nokia’s ex-CEO, Stephen Elop, along with Kirill Tatarinov, Eric Rudder and Mark Penn have been edged out of the company, and Terry Myerson has been elevated to lead the new Windows and Devices Group going forward) and the increasing emphasis on Windows 10 signals Microsoft’s desire to position itself as a cross-platform productivity solutions company and could potentially signify a de-emphasis of the company’s Windows Phone strategy. Instead, VDC expects that Microsoft will compete with its operating system and attract corporate interest through the OS’s ability to function across all Windows devices (computers, tablets, and phones). Indeed, Microsoft appears to be trying to make Windows 10 look and act more like iOS and Android and create an opportunity to port iOS and Android apps to the Windows 10 OS. If these apps are able to retain their look and feel, Microsoft may see more uptake with its Surface products.

Microsoft has made notable progress in augmenting and integrating its disparate product lines into a true enterprise-grade mobility management platform. However, the vendor has yet to prove it is making progress with real customers and needs to get some wins under its belt. Suffice it to say, Windows 10 will be a critical release for the company.

With Matthew Hopkins, Research Associate

06/16/2015

VMware ups Security Ante and Shows its Ready for the Post-PC Era

C-Suite representation at the company's business mobility event shows that VMware has much bigger aspirations for its EUC division.

VMware did a masterful job in drawing attention to its business mobility event earlier this week in San Francisco. While we thought that a key partnership similar to the Apple/IBM tie up last summer might be announced, the company did make several important announcements. The primary news was the launch of an entirely new identity management solution (simply named: VMware Identity Manager) which offers integrated single sign-on (SSO) functionality with AirWatch's EMM platform. The fact that 15 new ISV partners have joined the App Configuration for Enterprise (ACE) program was also notable; VMware has correctly identified an opportunity to differentiate going forward via app curation. Sanjay Poonen made it clear that he envisions the ACE program extending much further than its current roster of 21 ISVs. Considering that the program is just 3 months old, and the strong brands/footprints in the enterprise of participating ISVs, they are off to a great start. However, the market will still require some education to understand the true value proposition of ACE.

Vm_5

Plenty of vendors (startups such as Centrify, Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity and Symflified are the most prominent) have developed important enhanced security solutions (all are centered around automating authentication) and have increasingly turned their focus toward enterprise mobility. Then of course there are heavies such as IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle who have tenured Identity Management solutions. VMware's entry here isn't about displacing these vendors — the move shows that they are aware that their customers are looking for ways to improve their competitiveness, agility, and compliance — and that their customers are going mobile. Offering an Identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) solution is a smart, as it will enable VMware to offer sophisticated security (by combining secure cloud SSO, strong authentication, and sophisticated identity lifecycle management) while preventing their customers from going elsewhere for these types of services.

What's most impressive is VMware's ability to blend enhanced security technologies that were intended for traditional client-server environments with modern mobile platforms (and infrastructure). Case in point, the merging of its NSX solution with AirWatch's EMM platform; by using what VMware calls "network micro-segmentation", they are effectively bringing very granular virtual network policy controls (at the application level) which allows users or groups to access only the specific applications within the data center to which they are authorized. This type of technology has not existed until now, although containerization solutions such as Docker seem to be moving in this direction.

use of network micro-segmentation
use of network micro-segmentation
use of network micro-segmentation

VDC sees these solutions as gaining in importance as the theft of credentials has become a persistent barrier for secure mobile enablement. Implementing more robust security mechanism typically comes with a cost; solutions typically introduce more complexity and negatively impact the user experience. From what VMware is showing, they seemed to have nailed this. However, it feels as though others will be able to replicate this seamless (and secure) method of mobile application delivery.

Keys to success for all of the participating vendors in enhance security will be to deliver solutions that are able to preserve the user experience while delivering robust mobile solutions that aren’t cumbersome and are designed to accommodate the way mobile users want to operate. New entrants must demonstrate that their approach is differentiated to compete against large and established security vendors. While mobile authentication is niche, the market is crowded, and visibility will be critical to establish the right partnerships and channel relationships. VMware seems to be coming out of the gate quickly.

* Side note: VMware also announced it will be working more closely (and presumable integrating more deeply) with Apple going forward; not coincidentally, key rival MobileIron was able to interject its partnership with Apple on its OneTouch solution into the news cycle on the same day of VMware business mobility event. I'm waiting to learn more about the details on the depth of both of these partnerships.

06/11/2015

WWDC: Enterprise Recap

While the themes at WWDC were consumer oriented, there actually were some key enterprise elements.

Apple’s highly anticipated annual Worldwide Developers Conference occurred on Monday at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. As expected, many of the developments revolved around consumer products, namely the Apple Watch and a new music streaming service, Apple Music. However, enterprise enhancements were also present, as Apple looks to increase its presence in corporate environments.

In keeping with recent tradition, Apple announced its new operating systems: iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan, which allow for greater integration among devices. The new OS X does not include many new features, but iOS 9 provides some new improvements that enhance the competitiveness of the iPhone and iPad in both consumer and enterprise markets. The new iOS features a battery saving mode which Apple claims will add three additional hours of battery life.  The company is late in incorporating this feature, which consumers clearly have been asking for - other prominent OEMs such as Samsung, Huawei and HTC have offered this capability for some time now. iPads have become more business friendly under the new operating system as new multitasking features were implemented. In particular, the new split screen feature similar to that present in Windows and some Android tablets will allow users to use separate apps simultaneously. In addition, the iPad will include a trackpad feature allowing for greater control and quick typing. These enhancements should allow for increased user-productivity, and illustrate Apple’s attempt to further outfit the iPad as a hybrid- laptop replacement similar to Microsoft’s Surface tablet.

Despite the changes mentioned above, the WWDC did not entail any significant developments or changes that will affect Apple’s overall trajectory. The new operating system for the Apple Watch and the new music streaming service may increase consumer support for Apple products; however, the innovations relating to enterprise will likely not significantly increase corporate demand. The changes to the iPad amount to Apple merely catching up to Microsoft and Samsung by incorporating a true multitasking feature. This new development takes the place of an old feature claimed by Apple to be multitasking, but in reality was more akin to app-switching. New security features, such as the addition of a six-digit passcode and the option to force enable passcodes on corporate owned devices, will certainly garner support among those in the corporate world looking to protect their corporate information from what appear to be endless data breaches. This enhancement also follows in part from Microsoft’s emphasis on security, as exemplified by Windows 10’s sophisticated containerization capabilities.

Apple has also made clear on its website that several features important to the business community will be made available in the near feature. Promised improvements in networking and device management have the ability to greatly improve business processes through increased functionality. Unfortunately, Apple does not provide any information regarding these enhancements on their website so their usefulness remains a mystery. These are critical enterprise elements to iOS 9; to date Apple has done a great job at augmenting the EMM elements of its OS, and we look forward hearing more about these key features.

 

Apple image

A key advantage for Apple remains its App store, which for the past year has included Microsoft Office as one of its offerings. The prevalence of the App store is exemplified by the fact that 98 percent of Fortune 500 companies feature an app in the Apple App Store. Furthermore, the new spotlight search feature should allow for greater efficiency in the utilization of applications, seeing as the search results will include information present in older apps that may have been forgotten. The unification of multiple platforms working and interacting together may allow for efficiency gains as employees work more frequently outside the office. Microsoft has followed Apple’s lead in attempting to develop a similar network across devices with its new operating system, Windows 10. However, while both these companies appear to have an eye on the future, the gains of such forward thinking may be farther off as companies will need time to realize the productivity and monetary gains from such integration. In essence, the WWDC highlighted Apple’s continued efforts to cater to its strong consumer base while augmenting its enterprise feature set.  Balancing consumer and enterprise demands is a challenge faced by all OEMs and begs the question- who will be the first to offer a business edition phone (a la BlackBerry)?

06/01/2015

VMware Teases Special "Seminal Announcement" on June 16th

VMware's EVP and GM of End User Computing Sanjay Poonen took to Twitter to announce that both he and the company's CEO Pat Gelsinger would be holding a "special event" on June 16th to announce several important enterprise mobility oriented initiatives.

Sanjay_wmware

Public companies don't often promise "seminal announcements" — unless they have something truly important to share. In this vein, this should make for an interesting reveal. There have not been any notable acquisitions in the mobility space for some time now (arguably, since VMware acquired AirWatch back in early 2014). While announcing an acquisition is by no means certain/imminent, it seems likely. Another possibility would be an exclusive partnership with a high profile partner (similar to the summer '14 Apple/IBM announcement).

Following VMware's acquisition of Desktone in October 2013 (and AirWatch shortly thereafter), the company has added Imidio, and CloudVolumes to its roster. These have been nicely integrated into the company's increasingly broad Horizon Suite in a relatively short period of time and have enabled VMware to separate itself from its reliance on certain key rivals such as Citrix. Prior to acquiring AirWatch, it was becoming clear that VMware's organic efforts in enterprise mobility would not be sufficient to compete against the likes of Citrix, Good Technology, IBM, Microsoft, MobileIron and SOTI (and others). While it has been just over a year since AirWatch was acquired, VMware has reported >50% YoY business mobility license bookings (however, it is not clear which elements are being counted); regardless, these are good numbers compared to other competitors. The company's EUC Division definitely is operating with a post-PC mindset — this can be evidenced from the company's vision that it articulated during its recent "What's New at VMware EUC" conference call.

Vmware_bridge

On paper, the Horizon Suite seems to be a viable platform to play a meaningful role as this transition intensifies. While integration work remains, as articulated during the conference call on May 20th, customers are beginning see the value of the combined Horizon Suite and AirWatch platforms.

It's fun to speculate, particularly now that "event season" has drawn to a close and the typical summer slowdown (from a news perspective) is quickly approaching. In my view, teasing out this announcement is brilliant marketing — VMware's already cut a YouTube video and will likely continue to promote the event up until the 16th.

Here's a link to register for the event if you haven't done so already.

With Kathryn Nassberg, Analyst

05/19/2015

Event Recap – Citrix Synergy

Citrix succeeded in demonstrating it can innovate on application delivery and customer service

Synergy_2015
I had the pleasure of attending Citrix's Synergy customer event this past week in Orlando Florida. The event was well attended (about 7.5K on-prem, and roughly 5K remote attendees) and featured a nice mix of vendors on the show floor that ranged from small startups to heavies such as Cisco, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. After narrowly missing its Q1 numbers a few weeks ago, Citrix needed to demonstrate that its recent restructuring and organizational changes were positives; and that they were helping to transition the business to its next phase of growth. The company's GM and CSO for Workspace Services Geir Ramleth summed it up nicely when he said: "This is a new Citrix we're moving in a more cohesive way." Citrix was successful in this vein, Synergy provided a big opportunity to showcase a robust innovation pipeline in front of the company's most important customers.

The Suite Always Wins (right?)

If you've been tracking the evolution of mobile enablement in the enterprise, you know that many vendors are vying to deliver "holistic" or "end-to-end" mobility solutions (suites). The goal is certainly a noble one, but it is not very realistic. Most large firms are working with several EMM and complementary security vendors, as well as with a variety of application development platform and tool vendors; while this is not ideal, it is a fact of life (today at least). However, as Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft continue to refine their mobility solutions, vendors like Citrix will need to focus on helping businesses simplify application delivery and provide them with tools that can help with implementing best practices and with  mobile architecture and security policies. Bottom line, differentiating is going to get tougher. From what I heard at Synergy, Citrix gets it, and is working hard on developing new products and services that will enable businesses to move beyond thinking about which devices to provision and support by offering device and network agnostic solutions that can manage modern mobile applications while enabling them to move legacy applications to a cloud environment via a single control plane.

The "suite approach" isn't going away (IBM, Oracle and SAP have proved that), but it is changing. Opening up platforms is critical moving forward; customers don't want to be "locked in", and need the flexibility to run the applications of their choosing. While Citrix maintains a broad portfolio of products: XenApp, XenDesktop and XenServer to secure data via virtualization, NetScaler and CloudBridge to secure the network, and XenMobile, WorxApps and ShareFile (and now Workspace Cloud) to provide a containerized environment for productivity applications, to share content and provision applications, it is a stretch to call these a "suite". However, the range of these solutions shows how many elements are needed in a modern enterprise. Not to mention important partners that vendors like Citrix must integrate with that can help deliver capabilities for streamlining app development, enhanced security, secure messaging, and user experience reporting/monitoring. Bottom line, suites sound good to customers, but require complementary solutions. While the vision and approach that Citrix is pursuing to enable their customers to seamlessly manage and provision modern mobile applications while helping them move to the cloud is the right one; others have moved in this direction too.

Feud Continues — Enzo and Beyond the Horizon

The fact the VMware unveiled its project "Enzo" the day before Citrix's Synergy event wasn't surprising (after all, Citirix announced key enhancements to XenApp and Xen Desktop the day before VMworld kicked off last summer). Regardless, both Enzo and Citrix's Workspace Cloud share a similar goal and  make use of a control plane to enable customers to deliver a comprehensive mobile workspace to their end users; with the aim of better orchestration between apps, physical resources and the cloud. I plan on digging deeper to learn more about the technical differences between these competing solutions; suffice it to say that these are complex and have the potential to disrupt how end user computing services are delivered. Both Citrix and VMware have robust solutions; however they both are challenged by the strong interdependencies that exist between their various solution components  not to mention limited backwards compatibility as they update their platforms.

One Final Thing ...

One_final_thing

The big reveal at Synergy was Dynamic Containerization (DC) which appears to bypass the need to access and modify an app's source code (a cumbersome and very limiting process). DC brings the ability to containerize any publicly available app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. I had the opportunity to speak with several key stakeholders that were involved in developing DC; there is no question that Citrix has proved they can deliver this capability (I've saw a demo), however, I'm skeptical as to whether the method/IP is in violation of the TOS of both Apple and Google. End users would love this capability and have been asking for it; however this will be a wait and see as the product matures.

The #UNCEO

Templeton_on_the_show_floor
Mark Templeton has been with Citrix from the beginning, he's plain-spoken, down-to-earth and is the epitome of the #UNCEO. CEO's like John Legere and Marc Benioff may be the most prominent #UNCEO's, but Templeton should be right there with them (credit to my friend @bobeagan for mentioning this at the event). Not only does he pull off this vest, but Templeton made it a priority to visit with many of his company's partners on the show floor (even the smallest vendors).


Ping Mark and encourage him to be more active on Twitter - it's not too late. After all, Obama just joined this week!

Wrap

This blog didn't cover several of the important initiatives that were revealed at Synergy; namely: WorkspaceHub (a dongle which incorporates both BLE and WiFi and features with VGA and HDMI inputs) that leverages Octoblu (a Citrix cloud platform) to manage M2M interaction between devices by using sensors and wireless connectivity. The demo of this tech wowed the audience as it showed how a workspace could be seamlessly "moved" from one device to another. The integration with Amazon's Echo was the most impressive element as it enabled voice-control in the workplace. Concierge: which enables real-time customer service and support directly from within a mobile application (great use of #WebRTC). Citrix also showed off CubeFree: a modern version of the WiFi finder mobile app but for finding reliable workspaces (cool concept).

Upon leaving the event, it was clear that the company's key executives and product owner/managers had been busy working on the technology that was showcased. Citrix's vision is a good one, but it will definitely take time for companies to make a meaningful move in the direction that the company is moving in. There are a variety of factors that have placed CIOs in a holding pattern when it comes to extending mobile applications to their workforce. These range from the acknowledgment of not being properly equipped to support mobile platforms (from an IT and resource perspective) to being unable to successfully articulate the value proposition and ROI from mobile enablement to corporate leaders. But from what I'm seeing in the market, it will only be a matter of time ...

 

05/11/2015

Event Recap ― SAP SAPPHIRE (Mobile Perspective)

2014 proved that SAP can play "in the cloud", but they still need to get their mobile house in order ...

S/4HANA's Big Roll out

To no one's surprise, this past week's SAPPHIRE conference was all about S/4HANA, the next-generation ERP suite that SAP launched this past February. The company's CEO Bill McDermott spoke with conviction about the importance of digitization and customer centricity, and made it clear that S/4HANA was going to deliver on the "simple promise" and help businesses become both data-driven and seamless.

Sapphire_may_2015

S/4HANA is definitely a big deal, as it has a notably reduced footprint which will reduce complexity and simplify migration. But the speed of the platform is what will be the most appealing (3-7x the throughput and up to 1,800 times faster analytics, according to SAP). It remains to be seen how quickly the company will be able to capitalize from its robust and cloud-optimized business suite. SAP did a superb job this year in getting key prominent customers to participate on stage at SAPPHIRE — of course, the risk is that the spokesperson goes "off script" — this seemed to happen when Walmart's EVP and CIO Karenann Terrel proclaimed "I hope to see S4/HANA delivered in my lifetime ... it’s on my bucket list." Ouch. SAP needs to quickly prove that migration can be simple and beneficial. Progress is being made (the company revised its Q1 S/4HANA customer count to 400+ (from 370), but the bet on S/4HANA is so large, that the pace will need to increase quickly.

Google and Facebook

McDermott provided some new details on the future of his company's partnership with Google, saying that it will "make work easier for people". Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (via video) described it as "a great day", and explained how SAP software integration with Google for Work was a priority for the company. Schmidt went on to say: "What's great about this first step, with all the big customers that we jointly have, is that we are now able to show the power of web and mobile computing and the power of all that data and computation that SAP has been producing for years."

There were no real new details pertaining to the partnership with Facebook; however it is clear that the companies have been collaborating together since last summer. It appears as thought they have made progress by leveraging S/4HANA to enable businesses to build on-the-fly social media marketing promotions and target Facebook users with customized advertisements.

There were other notable announcements at the event, including a new CRM digital for customer engagement (DCE) application (initial 30-day free trial then $29/user/month), as well as some clear progress on the IoT front — however, the remainder of this post will focus on what we learned about the company's progress in augmenting its Mobile Secure product portfolio.

Rick is Running

SAP snagged a true mobility veteran in Rick Costanzo who has been running the company's global mobility BU for just over a year. Costanzo also is responsible for the company's Telco business (a recent reorganization called for the two BUs to merge) — however, the reorg. along with the departure of several key mobile executives, raised some eyebrows. After meeting with several key mobility executives (including Rick Costanzo), the party line was that the BUs were not only similar in size, but were better together. Could be. But, SAP needs the newly consolidated Telco and Mobility business units to enhance its delivery scale, increase agility, generate portfolio synergy and improve profitability. This is precisely what seems to be in the works, with a realigned go-to-market strategy, and a dedicated enterprise mobility sales organization. This is good progress considering Costanzo's short tenure. 

Mobile Secure, Apps and Key Partners

SAP is hinting at further integration of its development platform (SMP) with its Mobile Secure solution — this makes sense, and seems to be direction that others are moving in as well. The company also announced partnerships with Innovapptive and Sitrion to complement its custom mobile app platform; both offer prepackaged mobile apps and leverage S/4HANA's mobile services. SAP continues to benefit from its partnership with Mocana, and alluded to new synergistic partners that will likely be revealed in Q3. SAP continues to de-emphasize its Afaria brand (smart), and is leading with the right messaging: security. However, differentiation is becoming increasingly difficult for all enterprise mobility vendors — in this vein, SAP should be more aggressive with showing its customers that has been successful in unifying its disparate development platforms (SUP, Syclo, Mobilizer) and showcase its content and application management capabilities.

One last take away — key SAP mobility executives seem to be working well with key ecosystem partners such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft. In my view, the company's customer footprint in the enterprise is more valuable than it realizes; this puts SAP in a excellent negotiating position with these larger and highly sought after partners.

Off to Citrix Synergy!

05/01/2015

Following Record Q2 Earnings, Apple Turns to Partnerships to Bolster Enterprise Ambitions

This week, Apple made headlines with record earnings in Q2, mostly on the back of iPhone 6 sales, while iPad sales continue to slip. In an effort to maintain the tablet’s relevance, Apple is redoubling its efforts in the enterprise, where the iPad has gained considerable traction. To that, CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple is working with an increased number of partners to expand its reach into the enterprise and change how people work. The partnership goes well beyond IBM to include app developers like Box, bigtincan, Docusign, ServiceMax, Revel, MicroStrategy and Workato to expand Apple’s reach well into the enterprise ecosystem. While OEMs partnering with ISVs is not new within the enterprise – we have only to look to both BlackBerry and Samsung’s teaming up with SAP as a counterexample – it nevertheless represents a continuation of Cook’s vision to firmly plant Apple in the enterprise. With Windows 10 looming on the horizon, growing Surface 3 and Surface 3 Pro sales and a stagnating market for consumer tablets, the pressure for Apple to establish itself as not only a viable competitor, but the competitor to beat in an increasingly competitive market.

Consumer devices still hold considerable influence

While iPad sales have stalled in the consumer market, their influence continues to grow within the enterprise, as a growing number of companies are looking to mobilize their workforce. SVP and CFO Luca Maestri cited a survey in Monday’s earning call in which 77% of corporate buyers looking to buy tablets within the next six months plan to purchase iPads. VDC estimates that in 2013, nearly 6 million devices were deployed into enterprise and government applications, accounting for nearly half the market of consumer grade tablets in the enterprise – a number that is sure to grow. The power of the brand and the familiarity of the user interface have made the tablet nearly the de facto choice for non-rugged deployments in the enterprise. In a world in which “tablet” and “iPad” are synonymous for many, particularly in an enterprise purchasing position, Apple’s potential is enormous. The groundwork Cook laid in opening up Apple and iOS to outside partnerships in previous year, particularly in making a decisive break with the company’s Jobsian roots in partnering with IBM for enterprise solutions, is providing a strong foundation upon which Apple can build.

In the land of enterprise mobility, user experience is king

However, to be successful in the enterprise, Apple needs to ensure the strength of its partnerships and its app ecosystem. Tuesday’s headlines of dozens of American Airlines flights being grounded due to an enterprise iPad app glitch is a glaring reminder as to the vulnerabilities that abound in the push to mobilize. Even when the stakes are not quite as high, there need nevertheless remains to ensure an integrated experience that functions in conjunction with robust security. While Apple is partnering with major ISVs, many smaller, best of breed names on the list will have the opportunity to bring their capabilities to the forefront on a much larger stage. Companies like bigtincan are looking to bring seamless functionality to the forefront, particularly in working with Apple’s Handoff technology to enable users to work with content across all form factors, as well as using other iOS features like TouchID and the ability to add external content from iOS8 enabled apps. Meanwhile, ISV Workato is partnering with Apple to provide an even deeper level of app integration that enables end users to enable workflows across applications without the need to app-swap. By opening itself up to such a broad spectrum of partners, Apple could shore up its position even further in the enterprise space, especially if it can provide the user experience enterprise consumers have come to expect through their personal devices.

Partnerships are bringing enterprise to all platforms

While much of the enterprise attention is focused on the iPad, given its commercial potential despite the rapid maturation of the form factor, another enterprise foothold could be the newly launched Apple Watch. Although much of the media attention has been dedicated to consumer adoption rates and applications, VDC has already looked at the potential for the wearable to pave the way for smartwatches to become a more integral part of enterprise mobility. Regardless of form factor, though, Apple has nurtured a healthy ecosystem of third-party applications and peripheral devices that are empowering enterprise across industry verticals that solidify the company’s capabilities beyond personal consumption. Moving forward, however, one concern Apple will need to address is the breadth of its services beyond its partnership with IBM, particularly as companies like Samsung have moved to expand its enterprise presence through a comprehensive services solution. The challenge now that it has donned the mantle of enterprise competitor will be to ensure that Apple can bring these partnerships to fruition and gain the necessary traction to successfully compete against the likes of Microsoft and Samsung in a world where services, user experience, and seamless integration are paramount. 

04/27/2015

MobileIron's Miss

"Standing Alone" increasingly challenging for mobile-first EMM ISVs

Larry Dignan's article over at ZDNet this past week was a shot across the bow for the EMM market. In case you missed it, MobileIron announced that their CFO was departing, and issued a profit warning in their pre-announcement of their Q1 earnings (the company's Q1 earning call is scheduled for this Thursday). In their pre-announcement, MobileIron said that its Q1 non-GAAP revenue will be between $32M-$33M (down from its previous outlook of $34M-$37M). Gross billings (between $35.5M-$37M) were also lower than the $40M-$42M that they had expected. MobileIron's CEO Bob Tinker attributed the miss to several large deals not closing in Q1. Tinker also argued that the company's customers were moving toward monthly subscriptions and that the trend was cutting into revenue (reasonable).

What MOBL's Miss Means for the Broader Market

The EMM space is the most visible of the "segments" of the enterprise mobility ecosystem: not only have there been notable acquisitions (AirWatch, BoxTone, Fiberlink, and Zenprise), but participating vendors have demonstrated that they can win large deals, and attract key partners in the channel. However, being one of the two (Tangoe is the other) public "pure-play" mobile-first EMM ISVs is a challenge, as every move is "under the microscope". While EMM vendors are enjoying success in the market, the market is shifting beneath their feet. "Standing alone" as several prominent vendors currently are (e.g., Globo, Good Technology, MobileIron and SOTI) will be increasingly challenging moving forward as global channel expansion and substantial R&D investments that ensure continual product enhancements will be required not to mention the growing footprint of large and established vendors who have recently entered / plan to enter this market (e.g., Accelerite, CA, Dell, Microsoft, and Oracle).

Pivot!

I wrote about the "EMM Pivot" I was expecting this past March  and recent discussions I’ve had with several prominent EMM vendors has revealed an interesting approach on how they intend to evolve and differentiate their platforms moving forward. Key initiatives that are in development and on most road maps include:

  • Split billing
  • Unified Endpoint Management
  • Enhanced email clients
  • Secure Messaging
  • IoT and Wearable Strategies      
  • Architecture enhancements (moving away from "rack and stack")
  • UX / Console optimization

If you participate in this market, I'm still taking briefings to discuss the evolution of EMM and the pivot that I anticipate.

04/23/2015

Xplore Technologies and Motion Computing: Austin Neighbors Get Cozy

The news that Motion Computing was acquired did not come as much of a surprise, nor the fact that it was acquired by the ever-opportunistic Xplore Technologies. What was striking, however, were the terms of the deal - $9 million cash and assumption of $7 million of Motion Computing’s liabilities. Motion’s struggles with profitability have been widely rumored within the industry, with uneven performance resulting in substantial market share erosion. Motion's share of the growing rugged tablet market shrank by nearly one half over the past 4 years to the low teens in 2014. However, the extent to which it was leveraged and its narrowing margin for error – resulting in such an abrupt deal – came as a shock. Thus, the impact of the Hydis plant closure (Hydis was Motion’s single source supplier for daylight viewable displays) was a critical blow that stopped the company in its tracks as it was unable to fulfill orders for a large share of demand, especially its released - and increasingly popular - R12. With no inventory on hand or opportunity to place a “final order” (as plant workers immediately went on strike following the announcement that the plant was being shuttered), this was ultimately crushing to Motion.

VDC analysts explore the ramifications of this deal and the impact of the consolidating rugged mobile vendor landscape in a recently published VDC View. VDC clients can access the document here

 

Mobility is Driving Enterprise Collaboration Innovation

Long a bandied-about buzzword, collaboration has gotten an enterprise makeover in recent years in integrating chat and content sharing. The market has emerged from its roots in consumer-grade social networks like Facebook and Twitter to incorporate established enterprise players like IBM, Oracle and SAP, especially after Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer in 2012. Since then, enterprise-specific social networking products have transformed from more consumer styled chat tools to fully fledged business collaboration platforms that have the potential to replace not only intranets, but knowledge management systems and corporate portals as their features and functionalities continue to expand. The main driving force behind this explosion in innovation has been mobility, both on the consumer and the enterprise front, as the impact of mobile-native millennials entering the workforce grows.

Differentiation in a crowded market

Companies are increasingly coming to understand the value of employee collaboration and of enterprise social networks (ESN), particularly as social media becomes a more integrated part of professional and personal daily life. However, the low barrier to entry has meant that there is an abundance of options available, ranging from consumer-grade chat options to Tier-1 solutions and everything in between. The result is a crowded market with considerable overlap, making it difficult for vendors to differentiate themselves. Although many companies faced with a plethora of options turn to existing solutions providers like IBM, Oracle and Salesforce, there has been room for innovators to disrupt the marketplace. These include companies like Atlassian, Slack and Zimbra, who offer a streamlined, mobile-first approach to collaboration. The sheer number of market players and the stratospheric levels of funding mean that the playing field is wide open with no apparent winners, which in turn is putting pressure on big name vendors to bring powerful collaboration tools to the table.

Appealing to a workforce that spans multiple generations

While the millennial generation has proved to be a significant driving force behind the adoption of more consumer-like collaboration tools in the enterprise, there is a challenge in getting older employees to adapt their work habits to embrace a more fluid approach to work and collaboration. For companies like Tangoe, considering the requirements of an inter-generational workforce has been central to the design and development of their product. In order to overcome resistance to new work processes and collaboration tools, vendors have the ability to introduce adaptive elements that can learn from end-users’ habits, although this presents privacy and security issues that would need to be addressed by the vendor.

Seamless integration is key

There is definite value in areas like user-defined contact preference, one-on-one and group chats, and content sharing, particularly when combined with a mobile-first, device-agnostic approach. This is increasingly becoming the norm across enterprise productivity applications and products. However, to be truly powerful, these solutions must be able to provide a user experience that meets the high expectations of a user base accustomed to consumer products and seamless integration. In an era where many longstanding productivity applications like email are undergoing significant revamps, a lack of integration could lead to a glut of programs and unnecessary app-switching, which is inefficient and cumbersome. Any shortcomings in either category can result in a lack of employee buy-in, or worse, employees resorting to workarounds using consumer-grade programs that lack the necessary security features and risk data leakage. Major players like Microsoft, Salesforce and SAP have done well in integrating their collaboration tools into their portfolio, but the bar has been set high to meet expectations. Given the growing market for enterprise collaboration, however, it is a challenge that a growing number of vendors are willing to accept.

with Kathryn Nassberg, Analyst

 

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