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Beyond mobile device management, solution providers are often tasked with providing a mobile data management solution as well. While MDM offerings provide device-level security and, in many cases, the ability to secure and manage mobile apps, they often lack the data management capabilities needed to ensure secure file sharing in the enterprise.
Noticing this gap, Campbell, Calif.-based Soonr launched Soonr Workplace, a cloud-based file-sharing solution for mobile devices. Soonr Workplace is targeted directly at enterprise users and represents another opportunity for solution providers to arm BYOD clients with a full-fledged mobile solution. "[Soonr Workplace] is really business-focused. In our space, there are consumer-grade offerings like Dropbox that are typically adopted one individual at a time," said Soonr CEO Martin Frid-Nielsen. "But what we are doing is selling into companies, and they have this need here of getting more productivity but doing so in a more controlled way."
Soonr guarantees this level of control by managing its own data centers, being HIPAA compliant, and employing heavy encryption standards. As they do with MDM, solution providers have an opportunity to offer file-sharing solutions such as Soonr Workplace in a SaaS-based model, arming themselves with yet another source of recurring revenue. Patrick Cranston, president of Cranston IT, a Pittsburgh-based solution provider and Soonr partner, said he receives revenue each month from clients' monthly services costs, in addition to the profit he brings in from training clients to use the front-end Soonr software on their mobile devices.
"We do have recurring revenue off of the Soonr plan, and then, typically, we also make some money on the front end from helping them set up the software and set up their mobile devices and run through some basic scenarios for them," Cranston said.
He also stressed the difference between MDM and mobile file sharing—or mobile content management—solutions such as Soonr Workplace, explaining that both have their place in the enterprise. Clients need both solutions to truly deploy a managed and secured mobile environment, which is why he partnered with Soonr.
"You have MDM but then … there is the whole mobile content management, which we refer to as MCM, and there's not a whole lot of really good tools out there for mobile content management," said Cranston. "So we started looking for something because that's a question we were getting from a lot of customers." Cranston said this year MCM products and related services are projected to account for nearly 20 percent of Cranston IT's total revenue and climb to 50 percent over the next few years.