Today Good Technology is announcing two new options to help companies pay for the data used by corporate apps on personal devices. First, they’re introducing a new “sponsored data” option intended to make split billing easier. Second, there will be a new license for the Good Secure Collaboration App (that’s their main email app, a.k.a. Good for Enterprise) that also covers the data it uses. Here’s what you need to know.
Split billing via “sponsored data”
There’s a pretty long history of telecom expense management vendors figuring out how to separate billing and payments for work and personal usage, both with and without the aid of mobile device management and mobile app management. These vendors can report on and analyze usage, interface with carriers, and help deal with payments and stipends.
In Good’s case, they can easily measure the amount of data consumed by any Good Dynamics-enabled app. This includes Good’s own apps, apps from ISV partners, and in-house apps built using the Good Dynamics framework. From there they can enable companies to pay the bill for that data directly to carriers. For BYOD devices and plans, that data usage and the associated charges never even shows up on the users’ personal phone bills at all.
This arrangement requires that Good have special agreements with the individual carriers. While they haven’t made any specific announcements about this yet, they did announce that they were working with DataMi, a “new telecom startup specializing in solutions that help consumers and enterprises get more out of their data.”
As I mentioned, there are dozens of telecom expense management vendors out there. Multiply that with all the different carriers and their enterprise plans and you can see that there are lots of options for dealing with billing. Good is simply bringing another one to the table. It is unique, though, in that most of the other major EMM vendors leave telecom expense management up to third parties and have varying levels of integration.
Good Secure Collaboration App + bundled data
Then there’s the announcement about bundled data. To be clear, what this means is that a company can just buy a license for this new SKU, the user installs the Good email app on their phone, and assuming the user’s carrier is part of the program, neither the user nor the company ever sees the bill for data used by the app—it’s all just part of the licensing terms and is taken care of by Good.
The aim here is to make everything as simple as possible for BYOD. Your work email and basic productivity needs—along with the data to support them—are all taken care of in one swoop. This is going beyond what telecom expense management has traditionally offered. Some might think that Good is just trying to find another angle to their bottom line, but considering that this could save a lot of effort and remove the need for third-party service, it could be an attractive deal. Licensing terms aren’t finalized yet.
There’s a potential for problems with users that are on carriers that don’t have an agreement with Good, but we’ll find out later this year which ones are in and how likely this is.
One final note—this might remind you of AT&T’s somewhat controversial plan to allow content providers to sponsor mobile data for consumers. While the two plans are similar on the surface, Good says there’s no relation. At the end of the day, Good’s plans still just involve companies paying for their employee’s data, which is nothing new, so everything should be fine.