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Inside Good’s big bet on BoxTone - Q&A with Good Technology CEO Christy Wyatt

by David Needle

February 24 2014

"Users are incredibly savvy. They know there's an app for just about anything they want to do," says Good CEO Christy Wyatt.
"Users are incredibly savvy. They know there's an app for just about anything they want to do," says Good CEO Christy Wyatt.

Good Technology made a splash at this week’s Mobile World Congress, announcing the purchase of BoxTone, which offers mobile management services to the enterprise. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Before the acquisition, Good was already teaming up with BoxTone on enterprise deals that included Good’s own mobile security and device management solutions.

Good CEO Christy Wyatt detailed what the acquistion of BoxTone means to customers, where mobile management is headed and hinted at some Android security news in an interview with TabTimes from MWC in Barcelona, Spain where the announcement was made. 

Before we get to BoxTone, what’s the biggest challenge IT and business managers are facing when it comes to mobile management - both devices and apps?
I think those challenges come in phases. Initially, the CIO is thinking ‘How do I manage these devices?’, but really it should be ‘How do I protect the data?’


We see a lot of organizations take a very heavy approach and block everything  but authorized apps, but others use containerization to allow more apps and we’ve seen success with that.

The second challenge comes when the user population expects more. Users are incredibly savvy; they know there’s an app for just about anything they want to do. Organizations want a platform that allows them to add capabilities and new uses over time.

The third challenge is manageability. BoxTone tackles that complex landscape of different devices. Someone says that their email app isn’t working, there are a lot of layers to that. Is it the phone? Exchange Server? The network?

When there’s something wrong with a PC it’s a lot more obvious how to fix it, but we’re in a much more complex food chain with mobile.

BYOD and the variety of devices on the network add to the complexity. 
Right. We are seeing new use cases throughout the enterprise. What is happening is a move beyond BYO and CYO (choose your own device) and big business challenges as they’re trying to figure out what business processes they can deploy to mobile. We can help with that.

Briefly, how did the deal to buy BoxTone come together?
We’ve been a partner with BoxTone for over a year and a half and have done a lot of integration with them with joint customers working on MDM. When we started to see the impact [BoxTone’s] service management was having on customers, we realized this is fantastic and it made sense to get closer.

(Managing mobile devices, security and the future of BYOD will be among the key sessions at the Tablet Strategy conference in New York on May 6, 2014). Registration info is here)

Are there synergies you’ll be able to take advantage of, or does BoxTone operate separately kind of driving its own business value?
Both. Usually in a deal like this there’s an integration phase, but we’ve already taken care of a lot of that since we’ve been working together. They support MDM (mobile device management) and customers with Activesync [that compete with Good] and we will absolutely continue to support that. We know customers have complex and varied needs.

Is there a big overlap in customers?
This is kind of one of those 1 plus 1 equals 3 deals. We absolutely have a lot of shared customers who should be be excited about the integration. For those working with BoxTone who are on other platforms, to the extent they’ll now take a look at what Good offers, great, but we’ll support those other platforms the way BoxTone has. And now that BoxTone is part of a larger company, we can invest in the portfolio so you can expect more differentiated products coming from BoxTone. 

What’s getting your attention at Mobile World Congress?
A lot of new devices and software. On the hardware side the theme is cheaper, cheaper, cheaper and lots of wearables.

More devices sounds like more opportunity for Good ... 
One of the beautiful things about our architecture, whether it’s email on your phone or a healthcare app, you’re putting data out there and you [IT departments] want to support the end customer. The Internet of things is a big opportunity for Good.

Good does a quarterly analysis of mobile activations in the enterprise. While we know the iPad is very popular, your stats show iPad with over 90% penetration among tablets. Why so high?

I think for a lot of the customers we’re working with in highly regulated industry, where data protection is serious and they won’t just accept plain MDM, Android has taken longer to be accepted. But one thing we’re seeing that we’re going to talk about with Samsung tomorrow at MWC are additional things we’ll be doing [related to Android security]. I do think there are things we can do as an industry that gets to deeper roots down to the hardware. This time next year, in my view, Android will have grown significantly in the enterprise.

(For tablet trends, news, apps and tips, sign up for TabTimes' free Tablet Business/Productivity Update newsletter)

David Needle is Editor of TabTimes and based in Silicon Valley
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