As I began tracking and following the evolution of mobile-oriented solution providers and their channel relationships, I quickly recognized that co-opetition was a fact of life for many market participants. This has historically been the case for rapidly expanding high-tech market segments (just think back to the ecommerce and dot-com boom in the late 90’s). This trend is unmistakable in today’s rapidly expanding market for enterprise mobility solutions. I see competitors that are cooperating to integrate their solutions, collaborating to help set new industry standards, and/or even co-innovate to develop new solutions.
When considering both the current evolutionary stage of today’s IT organization and the state of the Fortune 1,000 supply chain, it is clear that mobile-oriented vendors increasingly will need to partner in order to reach these organizations – direct selling is essential, but is costly and not easily scaled. Today’s organizations are “more global”, they recognize IT as a differentiator, and are beginning to make meaningful investments to modernize their IT infrastructures – for forward thinking organizations, mobile solutions are playing a key role. Another important trend to be mindful of is that most large organizations are more than willing to outsource significant elements of their IT infrastructure and work with numerous channel partners. In summary, in order to capitalize on the opportunity in front of them, companies participating in the mobile ecosystem must partner – often with their competitors.
In this vein, we expect to see several important partnerships announced in the near term – both at RSA and at MWC. Key themes will be partnering for solution enhancement and better positioning to attack specific markets such as government and regulated industries. This has begun in earnest, with many more announcements to come next week.
For example, just yesterday, Fixmo announced partnerships with both AirWatch and MobileIron, and Air Patrol announced it was partnering with Fiberlink.
Looking forward to MWC next week – if you are making the trip, please stop by the AirWatch booth (Hall 3) to see my presentation on the future of mobile application management at AirWatch Connect!
Ping me on Twitter (@eakleiner) to meet at MWC next week ― I'll be in town until Thursday.