Good Technology CEO: 'We focus on the data, not the device'

The latest installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series

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MR: With iOS 7 it looks like Apple is starting to work in some application management APIs, some standard APIs. How do you deal with that, do you worry about the big platform vendors like Apple and Google starting to build more of this functionality into the platform and kind of squeezing third-party vendors out?

A: I don't spend a lot of time worrying about that. First of all, I worked at Apple for a while and I worked at Motorola and worked very closely with Google for a while, right up until the end. I think we have a reasonable understanding of where they're headed and how aggressive their interests may be or not be with respect to supporting our kinds of customers.

Our product is very focused on enterprise. We're not a prosumer solution, we're not an SMB solution, per se. So I think there are always going to be cases where the native solution may be enough and if the native solution is enough then that customer is likely not going to be looking for us. I would say nine times out of 10 what we hear from customers is that they've been in a one-platform world before. They've sort of gotten stuck. When the hardware that they were locked into was no longer what their users wanted, that's when they got themselves into trouble. We don't hear a lot of customers looking to deploy a pure native solution, I think mostly because of the pressure on mobile needing to span across multiple kinds of users, on lots of different devices. So that's going to mean that they need to have different tools for different implementation for those.

Penetration testing for security solutions in a large enterprise can be six, nine, 12 months, depending. They're not going to want to do that over and over again for every flavor of OS that comes out. It's just not feasible. It's one thing to win the proof-of-concept. It's another thing to actually win the implementation, which means you've got to be great at both.

JG: You joined in January. In April you announced a new CMO, Chief Revenue Officer, and new SVP of operations. Why so much management change?

A: I'll give you my version. I'm sure others will give you theirs. I came in knowing that this is a business that is in massive growth mode. We've seen tremendous growth, which means we should only expect to see tremendous growth from here. And it's not always the same skill set. And I don't even just mean with people. I even mean in terms of operating processes and how we run the business. It doesn't look the same when you are kind of a single product technology licensing company versus when you are an enterprise solutions company. It has big implications. It has implications for the kinds of customer conversations when we're talking to them about software development and business transformation. It's not always the same people even in the organization that we're having those conversations with versus the folks that would be buying a mobile management solution. We're at a different level within those customer conversations. It had big implications on our customer care organization. How do we do enterprise-grade service and support for our customers? How do we do developer support for our customers, because they're actually building solutions with us? And how do we speak a language that resonates with their business challenges?

So, like I said earlier, lots of folks think they know who we were, and because they think of us as that cute little secure email company, many folks don't know who Good is today. I said myself, even when I went into Citigroup, I wasn't even aware. And of anyone on the planet, it should have been me. So I think part of that is getting folks to kind of take a look at the new Good and to really understand the power and the potential of the technology that's sitting in this organization. And we're having a great time.

JG: Are there things that we didn't ask about that are really important to convey about what's happening at Good?

A: I think that more broadly across the industry I am looking forward to the conversation shifting from protecting devices to really driving business. We have a very aspirational view, which is: If I could remove the conversation about risk, what bolder strategy would you undertake as a business? Right now we feel like the powerful conversation happening with our customers is the CMO, the CEO, the line of business leaders saying -- I want my data at the edge. I want my insurance agent in front of the customer solving a problem, or my lawyer in front of the client getting access to data, and the value that that brings to a customer in terms of being able to drive results for the business.

Those conversations get met with: We can't, it's scary, it's hard. We really think the opportunity is at the intersection of those two conversations. Let's shift the conversation away from what device management, how do we white list and black list applications? How do we do email? Let's refocus that conversation on the value of the data and the power we could be bringing to your business if you could really embrace mobility. We think that is a conversation that's worth having in a very broad way. We're looking forward to that being a broader conversation across the industry.

This story, "Good Technology CEO: 'We focus on the data, not the device'" was originally published by Network World.

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