Good Technology exec sounds off on mobile acquisitions, legacy apps

One of the last major EMM vendors standing, Good Technology says market consolidation is a mixed bag for enterprise customers.

Despite all the recent mobile acquisitions by software giants, businesses still have some smaller vendors to choose from.

John Herrema John Herrema

One of their options is Good Technology, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company that helped bring mobile application management (MAM) mainstream. Its wrapped applications for email and other corporate software provide an alternative to mobile device management (MDM) and other traditional approaches to security.

John Herrema, Good's senior vice president, spoke to SearchConsumerization about the roles of MAM and MDM, the effects of enterprise mobility management market consolidation and other trends.

What do you see as the pros and cons of all this consolidation?

John Herrema: The primary pro certainly is the recognition … that mobility is a core aspect of how companies are going to do business and how they manage their infrastructure. Some of the cons might be a particular acquirer might have other motivations or platforms or architectures that they then might focus more on.

Each individual enterprise is going to have to look at the partner they're working with and ask themselves how well that model fits with what they're trying to accomplish.

Managing devices and ensuring security are not the same thing.

John Herrema,
senior vice president, Good Technology

Are you content to keep going it alone?

Herrema: Over the course of our history, we've actually been a fairly acquisitive company, so we certainly will continue to do what we've been doing, which is build and integrate solutions that we think our customers need to meet their needs. We've been very successful with that, and as long as we continue to focus on our customers and what they're trying to achieve, we're pretty sure that we're going to have a very important place in the industry.

How should IT handle legacy Windows apps that can be very difficult to adapt to mobile?

Herrema: It's less about trying to take forward the Windows application per se, and it's really a lot more about enabling the business processes. Can I make the process more customer-friendly, more friendly for my employees? And can I achieve a better business result by essentially looking at the use case from a mobile perspective first?

If you have an existing business process or workflow that actually requires a keyboard, a mouse, two large screens and somebody to be stationary, it's broken already. And it's broken in your desktop environment as much as it's broken in the mobile environment. It's just that the mobile environment makes some of these things that much more obvious.

Does it still make sense to manage mobile separately from the desktop?

Herrema: There are aspects of mobility that are very unique. Focusing on mobile versus lumping it under the desktop, if you had to pick, I would say keep it separate. If you're limiting yourself to the traditional thinking around VPN and virtualization and desktop, you're really looking at a small part of the overall puzzle.

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Do you still have to do a lot of customer education around mobile application management?

Herrema: It varies by the customer. There is still more education to do, but we're seeing that easily half of our customers, particularly the larger enterprises that have more to gain, they are really embracing the notion of mobile applications.

The primary limitation we see with mobile device management is that managing devices and ensuring security are not the same thing. There are too many use cases where you simply won't and really shouldn't be trying to own or manage or control the device.

Apple's building some application management features directly into the operating system. How do you see that affecting what you do?

Herrema: We like when there are more platform security controls that we can take advantage of.

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