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MobileIron purchase looks to ease mobile app deployment

MobileIron says its purchase of Incapptic Connect will make the enterprise app deployment process easier. Experts say the move could benefit IT pros.

MobileIron Inc.'s recent purchase of Incapptic Connect could make enterprise mobile app deployment easier for IT professionals.

The Mountain View, Calif., endpoint and enterprise mobility management company is paying $6 million for the app release software maker Incapptic Connect.

MobileIron said the acquisition, which was announced April 30, would allow it to supplement its unified endpoint management platform, which provides secure access to corporate data and applications, with Incapptic Connect's software, which automatically ensures a mobile app meets the requirements of either a public or enterprise app store.

MobileIron stated its UEM platform would further ease the app deployment process, as the platform can automate delivery of the app to the correct users and devices. Through this integration, the company hopes to streamline the delivery of a business' custom-built apps to its employees; the app deployment route, MobileIron said, can otherwise take months.

Andrew Hewitt, an analyst at Forrester Research, said the acquisition addresses one of the roadblocks to enterprise mobility.

"The process of ... testing [apps and] vetting [them] through OEM app stores was always super difficult," he said. "It's a significant amount of time that mobility professionals spend vetting these different types of applications, so this is a good win for MobileIron."

A simplified process for IT professionals

Mark Bowker, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said the move could help MobileIron tackle a bottleneck in app deployment and development.

Mark Bowker, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy GroupMark Bowker

"A typical challenge we see inside an organization is: developers create an application ... without the forethought of a mobile device management solution," he said.

That situation, Bowker said, means a company builds an application, but its IT admins are left without a clear way of securing it, managing its deployment and keeping it updated.

"The acquisition helps [MobileIron] step into the application development and deployment process sooner," he said. "It enables MobileIron, known for device management, to have stronger hooks into the application."

Andrew Hewitt, analyst, Forrester ResearchAndrew Hewitt

Hewitt said the move should improve the app deployment process for enterprise IT admins, if it does indeed save them time vetting applications for release in app stores. End users, he said, would also see a benefit, as they could potentially receive the apps they need more quickly.

Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst, Constellation ResearchHolger Mueller

Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, said the acquisition by MobileIron would provide IT professionals a good means of quickly bringing about the kind of productivity gains that custom apps can deliver.

"With more emphasis on mobile platforms than ever, enterprises need to find better and faster ways to provision mobile applications," he said. "That not only includes ... device management, but also the fast approval and presentation [of apps] in the right app stores."

Effect on the UEM market

Bowker said the acquisition helps MobileIron move past its reputation as a purely device-management-focused firm to one that provides a broader range of capabilities.

"I look at the acquisition as a way for them to grow their business [and] look for adjacent business opportunities within the MobileIron customer base," he said. "This is an opportunity for them to go to their customer base and upsell their existing customers with deeper integration with applications."

Mobile device management (MDM) companies, Bowker said, are increasingly seeking to provide customers with diversified features.

"[For] any of the initial companies that focused just on MDM, that wave has kind of crested," he said. "Companies like MobileIron are looking for ways to not only scale the MDM solutions they already have ... [but] to look for new business opportunities to stay engaged or be engaged with their customers."

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