MobileIron VP strategy Ojas Rege on a “perfect storm” in mobile today

On Monday, enterprise mobility management (EMM) provider MobileIron announced that it had filed for IPO, with a potential $100m hoping to be raised.

Two weeks before the filing was announced, Enterprise AppsTech spoke with MobileIron’s VP strategy, Ojas Rege, on the state of the mobile market and the role MobileIron had to play in it.

Speaking to Enterprise AppsTech on March 24, Rege explained that given what was happening in the mobile market, it felt like a ‘perfect storm.’

“The way I look at our market, I believe every white collar worker and a large percentage of blue collar workers are going to be mobile over the next several years,” Rege said. “Each of those people – which will be in the billions literally, globally – is going to have a mobile device for business data, and every one of those devices, and the applications on those devices, are going to have to be secured and managed.

“The overall addressable market in this space is staggeringly huge because it’s literally everybody,” he added.

Rege also admitted that the plan from day one was for MobileIron to be the ‘standalone category leader’ in a space which was so nascent they only called it ‘mobile IT.’

“When you’ve just started writing code and you don’t have any customers yet you don’t make these claims publicly because they sound silly,” he argued, “but from day one our goal was always to be the standalone category leader in what we called mobile IT.

“And now, I believe we’re in that position.”

This would appear to be only solidified by this week’s IPO filing. As Tuesday’s report shows, MobileIron recognises it’s playing in the big leagues, noting its competitors as Citrix – who acquired MDM provider Zenprise – IBM – who acquired Fiberlink in a similar vein, VMware, who bought AirWatch at the start of the year, and Good Technology.

Observant readers will note that Good is the only standalone competitor in that list. Yet for Rege, the market is starting to mature even if it’s still early.

“I think most importantly, what we saw in 2013 was that mobile became strategic,” he explained. “For the first time across our customers, mobile was not just an efficient way to do email, and a way to migrate off our BlackBerries. It became bought by the C-level folks as a computing platform.

“And that’s really the key. Because the moment mobile becomes a computing platform for the enterprise, that’s when all the business processes start moving to the device.

“What you’re starting to see now is there’s a whole new infrastructure stack that you need to put in place to make mobile work, as now mobile is becoming the primary and certainly preferred interface for your user community,” he added.

The filing document made particular mention of the fact that further consolidation was going to happen in the mobile industry. Yet some trends aren’t being played out according to Rege, such as the ‘death of the PC.’

“If you look at the shift from PC to mobile, it’s not just a simple shift in form factor from a CIO’s perspective,” he said. “The big shift from PC to mobile is not ‘big clunky thing to little thing’. It’s that I’ve gone from keyboard to touch interfaces, it’s I’ve gone from monolithic apps to very atomic task-specific apps, and that I’ve gone from single OS to multi OS,” he added. “The old Windows world and the new mobile world are now very different.”

With MobileIron at the heart of this ‘perfect storm’, that ambition to become the standalone player is a not unreasonable assertion.

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