Tom Hogan: If you do a click-down into the platform side, it’s okay for people to come to that realization of who’s out there and who do you compete with. You’ve asked about the Apple and IBM partnership. I’ll say a couple of things. The positive is the move that they made is a pretty powerful validation of how strategic and important true mobile apps in the enterprise is becoming. It’s great validation for the space. Point two is Apple is an important part of our ecosystem for all of the obvious reasons. They’re not a competitor. They are also a major catalyst or stimulus for our business. We have and we’ll continue to embrace everything Apple is doing.
As it relates to the competitive side and partnerships, our belief is that the old days of get-it-all-from-me and the exclusive nature of the positioning of that partnership is not what the market wants. The market wants heterogeneity and not be locked into an IBM–Apple only ecosystem. The good news is they’re going to give us validation but when I go to a customer executive and say, “Do you really want to be locked into IBM–Apple or would you rather have a platform that gives you the flexibility to select and deploy a plethora of vendors—Samsung, Apple, and Windows—and devices that are optimized for your environment?” That’s where we have an opportunity to piggyback off of validation but also differentiate what we do.
Sramana Mitra: You said that we are at a very early stage in the industry and I agree with that. What are the triggers that are going to accelerate the adoption and the maturity of the industry?
Tom Hogan: It’s a great question and one that I get asked by customers. They’re nervous, “Am I keeping pace? If not, why and what should I do?” I would offer a couple of observations first. You’ve been following the space for a while. We’ve all been in the industry for a while. Historically and typically, industry analysts have the tendency to over-hype big paradigm shifts. I remember in the late 90s when cloud was going to be the bomb within 24 months. It took basically a decade for that to get into high gear.
I actually think mobility is the first big movement, since I’ve been tracking tech, where I think the analyst might actually have it the opposite. They might have underestimated the pace that this thing is moving at. The reason, I think, goes back to the root of mobility. It’s tightly connected to the whole consumerization of IT. The millennial and the new generation, and the whole consumerization of IT, they’re innovating and demanding these real-time, on-there-schedule, in-their-place services. I think that’s going to drive enterprise mobility at an abnormally fast pace.
You can say, “I get that. I agree. But then why isn’t it moving even faster in terms of decisions and standards?” I think part of the problem is, if you think back to how the market migrated to ERP or CRM, it was taking known business processes and work flows and figuring out how to automate them in an efficient way. What’s different about mobile is it actually requires you to think and innovate and be creative because you’re not automating existing services and work flows. It’s a whole new paradigm of thinking, “If I could combine geographic location-based services and roles and put it in somebody’s back pocket as they live and work, how could we re-engineer the way we do business?” For a lot of the global 2,500, it’s not in the on-going DNA.