Microsoft publishes an enormous amount of content from TechEd Europe 2014

In yet another gesture towards app developers and their stakeholders, Microsoft is rapidly publishing a very large amount of video content from its recently concluded TechEd Europe 2014 event. All of the content can be found on the Tech Ed Europe 2014 web site. As of the date of this post, Saturday, November 1, 2014, just a few of the webcasts available for public viewing included:

  1. Keynote Presentation by Joseph Belfiore, and Jason Zander
  2. Empowering Enterprise Mobility, led by Andrew Conway who plays a senior product marketing role for Microsoft’s Windows Server / System Center Business
  3. Microsoft Azure for Enterprises: What and Why, led by David Chappell a Principal at Chappell & Associates
  4. Azure Pack Roadmap and Ecosystem, led by Maurizio Portolani, and Robert Reynolds
  5. Microsoft IoT Platform: Architecture Overview, led by Uli Homann

Each of the above 5 webcasts are worth some commentary over the next few posts to this blog. The second, “Empowering Enterprise Mobility” is of interest for information it may add as to how Microsoft has designed its entry into the market for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) aka Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions. In this writer’s opinion enterprise business consumers are demonstrating a voracious appetite for EMM and/or MDM. The intensity of need makes sense; after all, with a majority of larger organizations supporting formal BYOD, BYOA and other policy structures to support personnel as they bring new devices, and systems into the internal computing realm. EMM and MDM, on paper, can provide central IT support organizations with the methods they need to permit this use while preserving control and making a best effort to safeguard company confidential information.

A lot has already been written about the fourth and the fifth webcasts. Azure Pack looks like the right set of components to transform Microsoft’s cloud, IaaS into something portable, the kind of solution Dell has brought to market in its recently announced “Cloud in a box” hardware device.

IoT is a subject of interest to this blog, so a presentation on Microsoft’s data communications architecture to support the billions of devices interacting under the IoT umbrella is a “must attend” event.

Readers should stay tuned.

Ira Michael Blonder

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


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


Enterprise Business Displays a Strong Appetite for Enterprise Mobile Management Applications

During a webcast titled The Impact of BYOD, which was led by David A. Willis, VP Distinguished Analyst of Gartner®, Gartner published data reflecting the results of a statistically representative survey of enterprise businesses. Eighty seven (87) percent of respondents indicated their intention to invest in a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution.

Certainly 87% is an important statistic. Mr. Willis identified several drivers for this collective appetite. The center of these being security issues (76% of respondents indicated “Security Issues” as a major impediment to MDM adoption). It is worth pointing to a second major obstacle, “Additional Support Complexity”, which attracted almost a matching number of respondents (73%). As Mr. Willis noted, complexity is an almost unavoidable result of implementing a BYOD policy for an enterprise. With security and complexity as powerful drivers, if Gartner’s data can be assumed to be accurate, a clear majority of enterprise business CIOs are evidently spending some sleepless nights grappling with how best to manage BYOD.

The market, as Mr. Willis also noted, is very contentious. There is no lack of solutions. But, despite the large number of players in the space, there is certainly room for ISVs to profit from the business. Truly useful MDM and EMM solutions are not mere commodities — at least not yet.

Mr. Willis announced Gartner’s plan to publish a Magic Quadrant on the MDM and Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) sometime during Q2 2014. The ISVs fortunate enough to have a spot in the Quadrant, and, better yet, those in the familiar upper left “Leaders” square, stand to benefit. Mr. Willis mentioned IBM as a contender in this market. I, myself, would add Blackberry to the list.

But will Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) be included in the Quadrant? Or does Blackberry have another application, one better suited to meet the functional requirements of a true EMM solution (Mr. Willis explained why EMM solutions look more likely to magnetize the interest of enterprise consumers than their MDM counterparts) for Gartner’s review? Unfortunately, there is scant information on this topic.

In my opinion John C. Chen’s plan to transform Blackberry into an ISV providing MDM/EMM solutions, if it is to produce any positive results in the near future, would certainly receive a major boost should Gartner include a Blackberry solution in the Quadrant.

Disclaimer: I’m long Blackberry. I do not have a present position with IBM. I have no affiliation with Gartner®.

Ira Michael Blonder

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