2
Sep

MobileIron Promotional Content Depicts a Mobile First World

Perhaps Microsoft’s CEO was not far off when he articulated a new vision of a Mobile First Cloud First world back on March 27, 2014. This writer paid a visit to MobileIron’s website and found very similar themes running through a short promotional video exposed on the site, which provides an overview of the imperatives driving MobileIron solutions.

MobileIron offers a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. This MDM solution has been included in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for MDM. Most recently, Tiernan Ray of Barrons reported on analyst comments about MobileIron, which were attributed to Karl Kierstead of Deutsche Bank. According to Ray’s report, the availability of MobileIron, together with Apple’s next release of iOS (iOS 8, rumored to make its debut in September of this year), spells trouble for BlackBerry, and may hasten the pace at which large organizations migrate out of Blackberry’s BES.

A number of posts to this blog have been concerned with BlackBerry’s BES and the enterprise market for MDM solutions.

Readers interested in important technology themes running through the marketing communications efforts of ISVs should make special note of how Nadella first articulated a number of themes now carried forward by Microsoft competitors. Microsoft is a recent entry to the MDM market place via its Enterprise Mobility Suite. Perhaps it makes sense for MobileIron to address the same themes in its video. If nothing else, the reverberations point to the credibility of the points Nadella made back in March of this year.

During its recent IO event for 2014, Google added further credibility to Nadella’s presentation during a segment speaking to productivity. The same claims Nadella made for Microsoft software, and its objective to empower its customers with the most efficient methods of attaining optimum productivity, were made for the Android platform.

The reverberations are not, in and of themselves, particularly important. What is important is how they affirm the relevance of these themes for consumer and business computing in 2014. “Mobile First, Cloud First World” is not only a sophisticated juxtaposition, in rhetoric, of images and the “world”. It should now be considered an accurate portrayal of how consumers and business users accomplish their computing tasks.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

14
Aug

BlackBerry BES wins at U.S. Defense Information Services Agency

On August 6, 2014, Blackberry announced the U.S. Defense Information Services Agency (DISA) had approved its Secure Workspace for iOS(R) and Android(tm) solution at the level of DISA’s Security Technical Implementation Guide (STIG).

In this writer’s opinion this win is notable for three reasons:

  1. The win demonstrates the strength of an entrenched device and its supporting platform for enterprise businesses and comparably sized organizations (such as DISA) in the public and not-for-profit sectors
  2. Despite BlackBerry’s position in the “Niche” quadrant of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management (MDM), DISA opted to approve this solution, apparently unconcerned about the position of this platform, relative to its competitors in the market place. DISA’s decision may include important clues about how U.S. Federal agencies may buy technology solutions in the future
  3. The win is, perhaps, a blow to Samsung’s Knox Enterprise Mobility Management. Given the role Google apparently intends Knox to play in its efforts to repackage Android for enterprise consumers, this win for BlackBerry may have implications across a wider range of enterprise opportunities

1) It is very difficult to unseat an entrenched incumbent

The BlackBerry press release about this win does not include specific detail about how DISA decided to approve BlackBerry’s solution, but it is likely safe to surmise the large installed base of BlackBerry 10 mobile phones played some kind of role. On the other hand, the press release does mention BlackBerry’s Global Enterprise Services group. So the win may be emblematic of the quality of customer account management this group has achieved as it has worked with DISA

2) The Magic Quadrant May Not Be What It Seems When It Comes Down to Costs

Enterprise computing is highly complex, with a rich set of influential factors. As mentioned above, without further detail, it is no more than pure conjecture to posit answers to questions as to how DISA went about making its decision to approve BlackBerry’s solution. But it is likely cost had something to do with it, as is often the case. Perhaps the cost of implementing a best-of-breed solution for Mobile Device Management (MDM) far exceeded the cost of consulting with BlackBerry to bring its solution up to compliance with STIG. Bottom line: this win demonstrates how vulnerable an argument built on no more than authority (meaning pointing to the position of a couple of products in a market study like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant) can be when long standing customers weigh the pros and cons of making a platform change and funds are tightly controlled.

3) Samsung’s Knox is, perhaps, not as formidable as its namesake

As written in several older posts to this blog, Google’s I/O event for 2014 included the presentation of what this writer took to be a serious effort to repackage Android into a platform more worthy of serious consideration by enterprise IT organizations. A segment of the enterprise presentation at this event included an announcement of Samsung’s decision to make Knox available to the entire Android developer community. So this win by BlackBerry may put a damper on the enthusiasm driving this enterprise IT initiative for the Android developer community.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

5
May

Is Blackberry’s Freemium Strategy the Right Approach to Gain Share in the EMM Market?

Last week Gartner hosted a short, free-of-charge webcast on BYOD. The webcast was led by David A. Willis, a Senior Research Analyst at Gartner. The material presented in the webcast was collected from the responses of a sample of enterprise businesses to a series of questions about BYOD. A substantial majority of respondents (more than 85%) indicated a decision to invest in an Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) solution.

As Mr. Willis noted, enterprise consumers of EMM solutions have a lot of choices. A number of ISVs (including IBM) compete in the market. In fact, Mr. Willis announced Gartner’s plan to publish a Magic Quadrant on this market sometime during the second quarter of 2014, which, one may argue, indicates the promise of the market as well as the intensity of competition for a share within it. Presumably, Blackberry® Enterprise Service 10 (BES10) is a contender in this market.

But does Blackberry’s EZ Pass campaign, which offers enterprise customers a “free pass to secure multi-platform Enterprise Mobility Management” make sense, especially for a company with an announced intention to transition from a revenue model built on hardware sales, to one built around enterprise software? In contrast, the online promotional content on IBM’s MobileFirst Managed Mobility Service neither includes any pricing information, nor a free offer, nor, finally, anything similar to these promotional tactics. The page, on the other hand, is used to present viewers with more traditional choices: white paper downloads, free research on the topics (BYOD and EMM), etc.

Blackberry’s “freemium” approach, in my opinion, would be the right tactic to use if EMM market prospects either have little familiarity with BYOD (and the related management requirements to successfully implement it for an enterprise business), or if EMM market prospects are displaying a lack of interest in Blackberry’s own offer. Based on Gartner’s results, it is safe to say a large section of likely consumers of a solution like BES10 are familiar with the drivers underpinning the EMM market.

So I am left to conclude Blackberry is facing a lot of resistance to BES10 and, therefore, is heavily promoting the BES10 giveaway. I do not consider this strategy a positive indicator of success for Mr. John C. Chen’s plan to transition from hardware sales to enterprise software sales. I expect the intensity of the “freemium” campaign will increase as Gartner gets closer to publishing the Magic Quadrant I mentioned above.

Disclaimer: I’m long Blackberry, with no present position in IBM and no affiliation to Gartner

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

27
Mar

The White House is Evaluating Samsung and LG Phones, But is this really a blow to Blackberry?

On March 20, 2014, Will Connors published an article on the Wall Street Journal Online titled BlackBerry Suffers Blow as White House Tests Samsung, LG Phones. As the title plainly states, Connors considers this review of competitive smart phones to be a negative for Blackberry. But is this a really accurate read of this news?

I found neither any mention in Connor’s article of any apparent interest, on the part of the White House in any alternative to Blackberry® Enterprise Services (BES), nor in Blackberry Secure Work Space (BSWS) for iOS® and Android. Unless and until there is mention of the White House seriously considering a move off of these software platforms, I don’t see news about the White House evaluating new smart phones as a blow to Blackberry.

On March 26, 2014, Blackberry announced its achievement of ” . . . Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2″ for both of the above mentioned secure messaging platforms. Readers can review the entire press release, titled BlackBerry Advances Security of its Multi-Platform Mobility Portfolio with New Cryptography Certification. BES and BSWS operate entirely correctly on any Android devices, including the Samsung and LG smart phones currently under review by the White House. With specific regard to the LG smart phone line, on December 18, 2013, Blackberry published a press release, titled BBM To Come Preinstalled On LG SmartPhones. So the LG G Pro Lite runs the Blackberry Messaging Platform, native, right out of the box. The White House statement, however, does not specifically mention this LG smart phone as under specific consideration.

Readers should also carefully consider a December 20, 2013 announcement: Blackberry and Foxconn Agree a Five-Year Deal. Is Blackberry really deeply committed to the smart phone handset manufacturing business? Or is this interest on the part of the White House merely an indicator of Blackberry successfully transitioning over to the enterprise software revenue model John Chen, CEO has made clear is its near term future?

BES and BSWS win any way the White House decides to proceed — Android smart phones from Samsung, or LG, or new Blackberry handsets manufactured by Foxconn.

Disclaimer: I’m long Blackberry

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved