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Money in mobility for versatile VARs

15 May 2012

Symantec’s latest State of Mobility survey has highlighted several key areas for resellers to capitalise on – and the opportunities are ‘huge’, according to Symantec director of specialist solutions, Sean Kopelke.

The survey, which included 150 New Zealand businesses, reveals a global tipping point in mobility adoption, with 75% of New Zealand enterprises at least discussing deploying custom mobile applications (compared to 71% gobally) and 35% of New Zealand organisations currently implementing or having already implemented custom mobile applications.

"We were pretty confident in our understanding that mobility is a driving point and a key trend,” Kopelke says, "but we were surprised to the extent it had gone to. 

"Companies have realised the benefits of mobility in providing agility and so forth, but a lot of customers surveyed have extended that to the point of integrating line-of-business applications into mobile devices or looking at developing business applications for mobile devices for themselves.”

The report shows 68% of the New Zealand businesses are running line-of-business apps and 71% are discussing corporate app stores.

"That means there’s an opportunity there for the channel, first in mobile device management but, beyond that, there is a further opportunity in building the line-of-business applications for companies,” says Kopelke, who advocates resellers move quickly to build mobile practices beyond mobile device management.

"We’re only at the start point for this market and it will be a high growth area, for both us and our channel partners, in the next 12 months or two years,” he says.

Not just technology

"Customers are saying how do we manage these devices, so there’s the opportunity for mobile device management, and technology is only part of that, there’s also helping set policies and educate customers’ staff.”

Kopelke notes that among the issues the reseller channel could provide advice and assistance on are managing procurement cycles and data plans for companies which may now have employees with smartphones, tablets and notebooks.

He says accepted usage policies are also likely to cause issues for customers with policies likely to need to be changed to accommodate mobile devices. 

"Accepted usage for notebooks might include that you can do this, but not this in social networking. But in mobile, it may be that users can do what they like, so you need to change the policy. If users are putting corporate data on their device you may want to remote wipe if the device is lost, but if it’s a personal mobile device you may set a policy whereby they have to save corporate data into these containers or locations and only those will be wiped – so personal stuff might not be.

"There are a lot of those things that customers haven’t thought through and that the channel can bring to the table,” Kopelke says.

"Then there’s the future opportunity to say, ‘can we do that [build line of business apps] for you, can we take your back-end billing or content management system and redesign it for the mobile world, or build iOS and Android applications for you?’

"It’s a fantastic opportunity for the channel to build revenue. The SMB market can see the benefits of mobile, but they do not have the skill sets or resources to manage the application side, while the channel have got a pretty good understanding already of what needs to be done.”

Kopelke says resellers need to not only understand the requirements around mobile device management itself, but also ‘really understand’ the business drivers and benefits for their customers.

"Look beyond standard device management. Look at the business impact and value and where you can add additional value.

"This is such a hot topic, it can get you in the door with customers and then there’s a fantastic opportunity to upsell additional services.”