A look at MobileIron’s Zimperium partnership and IoT plans

The Zimperium deal is deeper than typical mobile threat defense/EMM partnerships; in IoT, MobileIron will focus on devices that can be managed with EMM.

After MobileIron changed CEOs last month, I wanted to dig deep into their Q3 earnings call. (Press release | Transcript) There were several comments that stood out, including mentions of their Zimperium partnership and IoT plans. I had a call with Ojas Rege to learn more—let’s take a look.

Zimperium

In prepared remarks, new CEO Simon Biddiscombe cited MobileIron’s partnership with mobile threat defense vendor Zimperium as a large opportunity to upsell in their existing customers.

There are key advantages that come with integrating mobile threat defense and EMM, and there have been a ton of partnership announcements over the last 12 months. As I result, I didn’t look closely at the Zimperium/MobileIron announcement when it came out in October.

As it turns out, this one goes deeper than most of those other announcements. First, MobileIron is integration Zimperium technology directly into their EMM agent, so there’s no need to install a separate agent. (This also gives more options for local policy execution without making the round trip back to the server-side integration.) Second, customers will be able to purchase the Zimperium service directly from MobileIron.

Adoption of mobile threat defense is still low, but the technology is has gotten a significantly-higher profile in the enterprise mobility space in the last year. MobileIron is banking that having a one-stop shop and no extra agent to install could help a lot of customers adopt it. (IBM MaaS360 offers a similar upsell with their integrated IBM Trusteer capabilities, and I’m told they’ve gotten a good bit of traction, so MobileIron should find success here, too.)

Internet of Things

Back in February, MobileIron announced a new Internet of Things division and said that products would be in market by the end of the year.

They haven’t made any more formal announcements since then, but in response to a question on the earnings call, Simon said that there IoT plans have changed, and that their go-to-market plan is to go after use cases that they can serve with their existing product set.

MobileIron looked into scenarios like managing IoT gateways and sensors, but they found that there was a lot of custom services work to be done for potential customers. They don’t want to be in the systems integration business, so for now they’ll pursue use cases that involve devices that can be managed with EMM. Examples include wearables like smart glasses; devices with human interfaces; kiosks; and devices used by field workers. These are all on the rise right now, so there’s certainly plenty of business for MobileIron to find without delving into the currently very fragmented world of lower-level devices.

With this change, they've folded the IoT division back into the core of MobileIron; Santhosh Nair, who was hired to lead the division, is no longer with the company. I was curious if Barry Mainz’s departure had anything to do with this change, as he came from an IoT background, but I was told that the two events were not related.

Other topics

There were a few other things that stood out:

  • MobileIron has a new SVP of worldwide sales, Greg Randolph, who comes from CA. There was a lot of discussion about sales execution and predictability on the call; hopefully this will finally smooth out.
  • MobileIron Access also got a big callout as a huge growth opportunity. It had $2 million in Q3 billings from 12 customers, and they see an opportunity to sell it into many more. (Here’s my recent update on Access.)
  • Windows 10 management didn’t come up until one of the analysts on the call asked about it. Of course, they still see it as a significant opportunity, but it’s going to take a bit longer for customers to roll out. Simon referenced the recent SCCM and Windows 10 co-management changes as an opportunity. Mac management did get a mention in the prepared remarks, though.

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