AirWatch CEO: Enterprises are now embracing their own mobile apps

CEO John Marshall outlines challenges and opportunities for the mobile device management vendor

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AirWatch has emerged as one of the clear leaders in mobile device management (MDM) -- the 451 Group ranks it third in market share, for example -- but the company faces numerous challenges, including a rapidly evolving market that's moving away from simply managing devices and toward more complicated control of apps and data.

In this installation of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, Chief Content Officer John Gallant talks to AirWatch CEO John Marshall about the company's approach toward mobile, its $225 million in venture funding, and its new Content Locker product, which aims to help enterprises control data access from devices.

Some highlights:

  • How enterprise demands are changing: "Most companies were not building internal apps two or three years ago. They were leveraging a couple of public apps off the stores and getting efficiency in that regard. Now enterprises are quickly seeing the benefit and the value of extending the workflow of all their other software systems and all their other IT investments, and doing that by building internal apps, by linking in SharePoint, or their file servers, creating new ways to promote training material and collaboration with suppliers and partners."
  • How the MDM market will shake out: "I think there will probably be three or four strong players. There's not room for 15 or 20. Nobody wants to buy security from the fifth, or seventh, or 20th best company in the space. ... You'll see some acquisitions that will continue, but the focus that we have will continue to differentiate. As acquisitions are done you typically have a brain drain, you lose a little bit of focus, and this space does not have a strong track record of integrating acquisitions."
  • Growth plans: "We have over 7,000 customers that are driving our platform every day. We're adding 500 customers a month, and we have 1,300 people dedicated to simplifying enterprise mobility. ... We expect to grow to well over 2,000 people. We expect to do some initial acquisitions of adjacent technologies that are very complementary."
  • Why he believes AirWatch will be the "breakout" leader: "We have not taken the approach of partnering and cobbling together lots of these different technologies. We have our own app graphing. We have our own app technology. We have our own content and file sharing solution. ... It's very difficult to cobble these things together because that creates security risks and flaws in itself. And we fully see ourselves as being the breakout market leader just like or just like a LinkedIn."

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