Good Exchange NYC: Good Technology on the Offensive

by David Krebs | 06/03/2014

Good Technology hosted its inaugural Good Exchange in NYC on June 3, 2014, an event I had the pleasure of attending. Good has a long and often colorful history in the enterprise mobility market. Perhaps best known for its secure email solutions, the company has evolved considerably as it sets itself up for an IPO. Acquisitions have played prominently with Good acquiring BoxTone in early 2014, a pioneer in the mobile service management space, bookended by today’s announced acquisition Fixmo, a leading provider of mobile security and device integrity solutions. Buttressing these acquisitions include a series of new launches including a secure mobile collaboration app and a trusted authentication framework, consisting of APIs that can be used with two-factor, single sign-on biometric and smartcard authentication modes. Early partners supporting this initiative include EyeVerify, Biometrics Associates, Intercede, Mi-Token and Precise Biometrics. Rounding this out includes a application and a much needed new interface for Good for Enterprise. This is clearly a sign that Christy Wyatt and her executive team are taking the new market dynamics to heart and are on their way to integrating the necessary pieces to deliver a much needed secure and trusted mobile management and development service.

So what does this all mean? Ever since VMware’s monster acquisition of AirWatch, IBM’s acquisition of Fiberlink and Citrix’s greater push into mobile device management, the mobile landscape – including the rules of engagement – has changed dramatically. Not to mention that BlackBerry – its renewed enterprise focus notwithstanding – continues to lose customers as Apple expands its enterprise support capabilities and Google recently announced its acquisition of Divide. Good is attempting to plug the void that BlackBerry is leaving in the market and has most of the assets to do so. However, as evidenced by their recent IPO filing, Good needs to dramatically scale to hit key financial benchmarks. Key considerations for Good in achieving these goals:

  • User experience. In Christy’s keynote at the event, she attested that “Good has always built applications with end business users in mind”. While that may be true, the prior execution translated into an extremely challenging user experience. The demos at Good Exchange proved that the company has taken this criticism to heart and has substantially improved the user experience, especially for processes like user activation.
  • Samsung relationship could be critical for Good. While Android devices account for the lion’s share of smartphone shipments and now also lead tablet shipments, when it comes to devices supported/managed in the enterprise, iOS remains king. Although Good customers are using their platform to manage many of these iOS devices, for Good to succeed and to scale substantially, Android needs to succeed in the enterprise. “We are huge fans of KNOX!” proclaimed Christy during a brief fireside chat with Dr. InJong Rhee. With Samsung and secure Android solutions, Good has a real opportunity to differentiate itself from its competitors.
  • With its acquisition of BoxTone, Good addressed a key gap for the company around end to end mobile service management. Enterprises today are ill equipped both from a resource and also skill-set perspective to effectively manage the influx of mobile devices. Providing service capabilities that simplify support – from the carrier to the end user – and offer self service and user training capabilities are essential and also provides Good an opportunity to differentiate among its EMM peers.

However, at the end of the day, it is all about the apps. Today the majority of Good customers are relatively basic when it comes to their current mobile status. A primarily BYOD-influenced MDM investment is perhaps an apt characterization. However, Good, and the market, wins only when mobility becomes more strategic in how a salesforce engages with customers, how service technicians manage assets, how nurses care for their patients. It is when mobility becomes truly transformational that Good can elevate its status within customer organizations. Put another way, all the security capabilities Good is building out are only useful if there are apps available for them to protect. While Good is enabling its customers and partners through Good Dynamics to develop and deploy secure applications, today Good has only limited mindshare and cache among developers. Good is working on building out its app eco-system as evidenced by its relationship and is talking about White Labeling its platform to carriers and managed service providers to extend its reach to smaller organizations. This will be a substantial initiative for Good, requiring significant marketing investments and also a more consultative approach to their sales engagement.