When Good Technology first appeared on the wireless e-mail scene in May 2002, RIM had already pioneered the BlackBerry, which stood unchallenged. But Good wasn’t just looking to be the competition, it had a different idea. Mobile Enterprise spoke to insider Sue Forbes around the time Good made several announcements—an updated platform, availability in seven new countries and a new mobile application plan—and asked her to explain what’s happened to wireless e-mail and the mobile industry since the beginning.
Mobile Enterprise: With so many wireless e-mail providers now in the market, what would you say differentiates Good?
Sue Forbes: Well, in terms of Good versus RIM, they were the first to enter this marketplace, and they’ve done a great job of opening it up. But one easy way to describe our difference from RIM is that we approach the market from an industry standards perspective, giving IT managers the option to pick whatever device they want, using whichever operator.
In terms of the broader market, I’d say it’s how innovative we are. If you look at the wireless messaging side of our business, we have always been describing ourselves as a zero desktop environment, meaning no cradles, no desktop software whatsoever. And now we’ve taken that one step further to Zero IT Touch, so that now and forevermore you don’t have to bring devices into IT to get them provisioned or upgraded. And that includes our software as well as any other applications loaded on the device.
ME: Why do you think Zero IT Touch is so important?
SF: IT managers don’t want to manage software at every person’s desktop. If an IT manager is going to deploy, say, a thousand units, previously you’d have to put the software onto each unit. Say that takes 10 minutes per device, that works out to something outrageous like five weeks of an IT manager’s time. With secure over-the-air updating, you don’t have to do any of that. The IT manager just sets up the GoodLink management console, then the end-user goes onto the Web site and the complete provisioning downloads onto the device.
ME: What do you think is the most important issue when it comes to wireless messaging in the enterprise?
SF: Actually, a combination of things. The first is about security; whatever they want to do, they want to make sure it’s completely secure, completely protected. The second piece is ease of deployments, ease of upgrade—simplicity. You want a very low TCO. Third is device flexibility. IT mangers don’t want to feel locked into a specific device. Because devices change, they also want to make sure the user interface is very intuitive. IT managers don’t want to do a lot of training. And finally, they want to make sure that the system gives them not just wireless messaging but access to corporate applications behind a firewall.
ME: So what is Good doing to make applications, other than e-mail, available to mobile workers?
SF: Wireless e-mail was the killer app in 2004. But
e-mail is just the beginning. Mobile professionals need more. Our answer to that demand is GoodAccess. GoodAccess uses the same infrastructure and secure transport layer as GoodLink to develop and deploy mobile enterprise applications. It includes server software, client software and a secure, managed service for extending applications like Salesforce.com, Oracle and Siebel. GoodAccess also includes a tool that allows businesses to quickly assemble an extension that combines data from multiple desktop systems into one unified mobile application—creating an experience that mirrors the natural business process of the user.•