Former Zenprise CEO says standalone MDM is a tough sell

Amit Pandey was the CEO of mobile device management company Zenprise, which Citrix acquired last December. Credit: Zenprise via YouTube

Citrix is announcing a new product that combines its mobile offerings with the MDM product it acquired along with Zenprise late last year.

The product will pair Citrix products including its secure mail and browser apps, its file sharing service, and its MDX secure container product with Zenprise's MDM software. Citrix is also offering an enterprise app store where IT admins can put those apps and others for easy access by end users.

Businesses will still be able to buy the plain MDM product, but the former CEO of Zenprise doesn’t think many will.

Now vice president and general manager of mobile solutions for Citrix, Amit Pandey said that standalone MDM is a tough sell these days. “Almost invariably, the first couple months after installing MDM, people ask ‘can you do something about my apps, do you have a way of securing email attachments and a way of giving me a corporate intranet browser?’” he said.

Even though Zenprise had around 100 developers, it would have been tough to respond to all those demands, he said. “We were feeling pressure from larger enterprises to offer data, secure email, secure browsing, and tie it into other third party and native apps,” he said. “We didn’t feel we had the resources to really deliver a lot of these pieces.”

At Citrix, he has quadrupled the number of engineers in his group working on those kinds of applications, Pandey said.

“It’s going to be hard for standalone vendors to do all this on their own,” he said. “If not more partnerships, we’re going to see a lot more consolidation in this space.”

In each of the last two years, there were five acquisitions of MDM vendors, according to the 451 Group. Some MDM vendors, like MobileIron and AirWatch, have added app management functionalities. And traditional enterprise vendors like IBM, Dell, and Microsoft have also been offering mobile management products, offering new competition to the standalone MDM providers.

It sounds like this release is really a combination of relevant products from the two companies without a lot new to add. It should have a unified look and feel, Pandey said, since the company has worked on the UI of the products. “We’ve only been together for two months,” he said.

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