What does the MobileIron and Google Orbitera partnership mean?

Orbitera provides white-label cloud marketplace selling and billing; MobileIron will help customers manage and secure the services.

Last week MobileIron was in the news after they announced a partnership with Google Orbitera to provide a combined cloud marketplace offering.

There were a lot of headlines about MobileIron and Google from major publications like CNBC, but I wanted to go deeper, so I got on the phone with MobileIron’s Ojas Rege and Kevin White.

Oritera and cloud marketplaces

Cloud service marketplaces—such as the Azure Marketplace, the AWS Marketplace, and Google Cloud Launcher—are becoming a common way for companies to buy, pay for, optimize, and generally keep track of all of their services.

Google Orbitera is a commerce platform for cloud marketplaces. This might sounds super buzzwordy, but all it means is that it’s software that helps process selling and billing between cloud service providers and end customers. Orbitera also offers a catalogue interface, integration with service providers, and a mechanism to manage product test drives.

Orbitera was founded in 2011, acquired by Google in August 2016, and is part of Google Cloud Platform, which rolls up to Diane Greene and is something we should all be paying attention to.

Their go-to-market is as a white-label offering, and they work with multiple clouds, not just GCP. (Though GCP does seem to be leveraging Orbitera tech in other ways, like for trials.) Orbitera is generally sold to operators, ISVs, distributors/resellers, MSPs, SIs, etc., who in turn use it to get in on the cloud marketplace trend and sell services to their own customers.

MobileIron and Google Orbitera

This brings us to the MobileIron partnership announced last week.

Orbitera will offer its products bundled with MobileIron, which will take care of securing and managing access to services as well as provide analytics. Ojas couldn’t share the contractual details, but the idea is that this will be marketed as integrated offering.

Here’s how it will work: When an end customer buys a service from a cloud marketplace, (i.e. from the ISV, operator, distributor, etc., that has itself bought the combined solution from MobileIron and Google Orbitera) MobileIron will spin up in instance of MobileIron Cloud to help manage it. While the Orbitera components will be white labeled, the MobileIron Cloud instance will not be.

The MobileIron Cloud instance will pull the end customer’s relevant license data from Orbitera, and then administrators can see all the service offerings they have purchased, allocate apps, integrate with their identity platform, and see analytics (such as how many users are using which apps at which times, etc.).

How exactly end customers use MobileIron’s services depends on a few factors: Is the customer an enterprise or SMB? Do they have an IDaaS provider, or just AD or another directory? Do they have EMM, and if so, are they a MobileIron customer? There are a lot of ways that this could be consumed—identity providers could be federated, customers could use MobileIron to push client apps, and so on. This will leverage the work that MobileIron has put into MobileIron Access. (Catch up on that here.) MobileIron should have some demos ready around Mobile World Congress, which is in less than a month, so I’ll check back in soon.

Bottom line

With efforts like this and MobileIron Access, MobileIron is continuing to widen their product line beyond MDM and MAM. MobileIron sees Access as big opportunity to sell more into existing accounts, but this is a much broader opportunity. They will have the customers that are white labeling the combined Orbitera offering, as well exposure to the end customers that are buying from them. MobileIron’s 2017 Q4 earnings call is on Thursday, so I’ll be listening to see what they say about this deal for 2018.

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