How Snow Software is combining software asset management with EMM to make Gartner’s MQ

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Last month, analyst house Gartner released its annual enterprise mobility management (EMM) Magic Quadrant. The headline angle was VMware extending its lead in the leaders’ section; however, the report had more stories under the surface.

Snow Software, traditionally a player in the software asset management (SAM) space, found its way into the niche players section of the Quadrant for the first time, alongside other debutants NationSky and Matrix42. While Snow has offices globally, its headquarters are in Sweden. Compare the main bases of NationSky and Matrix42, in China and Germany respectively, and one thing is clear: EMM has plenty of innovation outside the US.

Alan Giles is business unit manager of Snow’s mobility arm. Having been in the enterprise mobility industry for more than 20 years, he argues that, after the odd European ‘flirtation’ in the market through Excitor, based in Denmark, and Globo – although the less said about Globo's ignominious end the better – things may be changing.

“I think as well as realising there’s life outside of the US, Gartner also recognised the way that people are looking at enterprise mobility is shifting somewhat,” he tells Enterprise AppsTech. “It’s traditionally always been a security play. The way that people are using their mobile phones has changed quite significantly in the last 18 months to two years, which actually brings this requirement for software licensing on mobile phones into the crosshairs of organisations.”

This ties in neatly to how Snow Software has moved its way up the stack. The company bought The Institution, a Stockholm-based MDM technology provider, in February last year. Giles explains that The Institution, and its EMM product called Revival, has been extremely strong in the Scandinavian market, and represented a good fit for both sides. “We’re seeing a lot of organisations where EMM is actually starting to be queried by the software asset management team – and if it’s not taken in wholly within the SAM team, then they’re definitely working together collaboratively to make sure that the two technologies are aware of each other,” Giles adds.

Snow feels as though it is uniquely placed to move into a combined SAM and EMM market. Giles explains that the two companies’ customers co-align – the mobility customers were interested in the SAM side and vice versa. “We are the only vendor that can offer a world class EMM product alongside a SAM product and show integration of the two,” he says.

One criticism levelled by the analysts towards Snow was in regard to ‘limited’ content management capabilities on its Snow Device Manager product. Giles says that is being worked on, but he also adds the future belongs to context rather than content. “We think that the context of where a mobile device is, is becoming more and more important, certainly more important than how secure it is,” he says. “We’re looking at ways to control apps based on what other app is being used on the phone, so that’s kind of the direction we’re going in – more context-aware enablement of mobile phones and tablets.”

In terms of how the company sees the Magic Quadrant, Giles argues that Snow is more than happy to see the likes of AirWatch VMware, MobileIron, BlackBerry et al near the top. As Gartner always advocates, a niche player may be better than a leader depending on an organisation’s requirements.

“We feel that we’re in a niche space on the MQ; we’re very happy with that,” explains Giles. “We’re in a niche space populated by one.”

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