SMEs catch BYOD fever... but the cloud? Not so much

SMEs catch BYOD fever... but the cloud? Not so much

ImageText customers are increasingly going mobile and keeping the tin

Some small-to-medium enterprises in Auckland seem to be catching on to the business value of BYOD.

For IT solutions provider, ImageText, managing mobility is what nearly all of its new customers are talking about.

“Lots of large corporates are now looking at mobility and really starting to put solutions in around that,” says Darius Mistry, Imagetext managing director. “And we are selling mostly to new clients now.”

ImageText is a 26-strong solutions provider that has moved quite a distance from its humble beginnings as an Apple reseller in 1984. Among the project management, integration and other services, it provides mobile device management solutions, a natural outgrowth of its Apple and Apple iOS expertise and GroupLogic experience.

Technical director John Preisig says moving from consumer to the business side was inevitable.

The company makes a point of indicating the vendors it partners with. IBM, HP, Adobe, Dell, Microsoft, and other brands are featured on its website. On the MDM side the company has relied on MobileIron.

“The type of clients we deal with are SMEs, and they want to become mobile and they want that to be secure,” says Preisig. “If you’re giving someone an iPad out there, and they have access to your files, what is the implication of that? How do you lock it down to give them all the functionality to open files, edit Word and Excel docs, but still have that security maintained?”

MobileIron and Acronis in April announced integration between the MDM product’s app and device management with Acronis’s mobile file management, mobilEcho. The new feature allows users to enforce compliance and security across multiple apps from a central network location.

“So passwords will get pushed out by MobileIron, and mobilEcho does the file services wrapped around that,” Preisig says.

Preisig says the integration simply offers users more functionality. In general, ImageText has been reliant on its vendors for support. Preisig says MobileIron has been good at delivering services when necessary.

“They regularly send sales engineers to us, and they regularly talk to our staff and we take them out to client visits,” Preisig says.

Mistry says the company also provides co-marketing funds. ImageText and MobileIron are currently running a radio campaign.

“For a company of our size, we have limited marketing budget, so we bank heavily on the vendors to do joint-marketing activities. We’re doing that on a constant basis,” says Mistry.

Preisig says ImageText is also a big GroupLogic reseller, with the vendor’s ExtremeIP software product that turns Windows servers into Mac servers. GroupLogic was acquired by Acronis in 2012.

And then there’s the cloud

ImageText grew its services customer base out of its core Apple business. The size of the clients today range from companies with 10 staff to organisations with 180. Mistry says many of their customers are in the retail sector, but includes any business with a mobile workforce.

“The mixed platform is what we are really focused on,” Mistry says, mainly Microsoft, Apple and device OSes.

Their customers, however, have not caught on to the cloud.

“They still see the cloud as a bit of a gamble,” Presig says. “The local cloud providers are very expensive. And if you have to put your data overseas you lose a huge amount of control.”

Preisig adds that because ISPs may “ping” customers for international traffic, using a foreign cloud service becomes even less appealing.

Many of ImageText’s SME customers are strictly on-premise because they are getting enough value out of owning machines that are reliable and getting less expensive over time. Preisig says when a customers asks about putting some or part of their infrastructure into the cloud, ImageText lays out the cost. Mistry adds that the general rule is if it’s something that won’t cripple your business if it’s down for a day, put it in the public cloud.

Presig adds: “We’ve had a number of people who’ve gone to the cloud over a three year period and it was more expensive to go to the cloud than to keep it on premise. Just the migration itself was costly.”

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