MobileIron expands UK channel focus

MobileIron app seen on the Apple AppStore
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

MobileIron, a developer of mobile device management platforms has announced a major expansion of its UK channel coinciding with a trio of new product features. The vendor has signed heavy hitters including HP, Capita, CSC and SCC as well as landing flagship customers including a huge retail chain in a year that saw it land 260 UK customers.

“There has been a fundamental change over the last year,” explains Ojas Rege, VP of strategy at MobileIron. “It’s not just a better way to do email, [mobile devices] are a true computing platform.” The exec believes the next 12 to 18 months will see organisations turn to mobile apps as a better way to conduct critical business, and will turn to the channel for information on the challenges involved.

MobileIron is launching three new product areas that the exec believes will address many of the challenges. The first is mobile application delivery. Through a partnership with Akamai, the firm is launching an Application Delivery Network (ADN) which it claims is the industry’s first solution for scalable app provisioning in the enterprise. The ADN offloads the actual app downloads, patches and upgrades via a secure Akamai VPN and will be part of the MobileIron Apps@Work private app storefront for distributing enterprise apps.

The second issue is the insecurity of many of these mobile end points when they interact with documents, normally sent via email. The firm’s new Docs@Work offering provides secure transport, viewing, local storage, and data wiping with email attachments encrypted by MobileIron before they reach the device. The system manages the underlying infrastructure which means that third party secure transfer specialists like Accellion can still provide policy control without interference.

The last issue the vendor hopes to tackle is application security and portability, a problem Rege highlights as prevalent within Android due to its wide range of disparate operating system builds. This “fragmentation” he believes is one of the reasons for slower adoption of Android as an enterprise platform compared to the more controlled Apple IOS.

To counter this issue, the vendor has launched MobileIron App Connect for Android which effectively creates a secure sandbox on the device from which enterprises can develop and deploy applications. The technology Rege claims will help control enterprise data on Android without forcing end users to change their behaviour or limit themselves to particular devices. The Application Delivery Network is available now but both the Apps@Work and App Connect for Android features will launch over the next two quarters.

In the UK, the vendor has found particular success in the signing of 15 NHS customers in just two months, and a growing channel of VARs and service providers including new European agreements with parts of the Deutsche Telecom (T-Mobile) and France Telecom (Orange) empires. However, Rege believes that service providers and VARs both have a significant role to play, citing data from Gartner that suggests 85 percent of deals are still on premise. The majority of these implementations are delivered with the assistance of local or specialist system integrators.

Rege is also adamant that it will stick to its 100 percent channel model and its new product portfolio will also offer the same margin on software and recurring revenue on subscription sales and maintenance contracts.

Channel Pro comment

MobileIron is a rising star based on technology capability and customer adoption. The firm has gone via the channel from day one and has not wavered in spite of the potential to cherry pick some very lucrative deals. The recent magic quadrant from Gartner places them in a dominant position while the vision expressed by the senior exec focuses on significant issues and long-term strategy. While rivals ponder simple malware security and basic DLP; MobileIron is clearly on a different plane.

However, the firm is still in the start-up phase, although securing funding has been a breeze and based on the size of the addressable market and its staggering growth, the start-up tag is likely to be shed within the next calendar year. If I were a betting man, some of the bigger vendors in this space will be surely be sniffing around the Sunnyvale innovator.