by Clement Teo and John Brand

VMware recently announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire AirWatch, a leading provider of enterprise mobile management and security solutions. The acquisition is expected to provide customers with the most complete solution to manage users, devices, and applications across server, desktop, and mobile environments.

My colleagues Tyler Shields and Christian Kane have already shared their views and published two reports on the acquisition. Tyler has also raised some questions about AirWatch’s burn rate.

But what does it mean in Asia Pacific?

VMware obviously has had to expand its penetration beyond the server-centric virtualization market. So far, it has had mixed success with selling virtualization as a platform in the region, even though it has successfully entrenched itself as a leading hypervisor provider (unfortunately, VDI has proved a difficult sell for VMware in AP). In order to gain much deeper penetration and traction, VMware needed to add an end user computing offering to its portfolio. The pairing should result in:

  • Greater channel reach. Acquiring AirWatch enables VMware to both capitalize on its extensive regional channel partners and offer a solution for managing end user devices and information access that is cost-effective and relatively easy to acquire, implement, and use. Customer-obsessed enterprises that treat mobility as key to their technology management strategy will appreciate the added value proposition that the VMware/AirWatch deal brings to their information worker portfolio.
  • Access to CIOs. For AirWatch, the well-established machinery of VMware’s channels and direct customer teams will help boost its visibility with Asian CIOs — something it has struggled to achieve. In addition, the combined value proposition of truly device-agnostic and secure end user computing applications — beyond desktop and application virtualization — is definitely appealing.
  • Mobility becoming part of the tech management strategy. This could be the trigger for sourcing and vendor management professionals to reassess existing mobile device management, mobile application management, or even enterprise mobility management options. Instead of a tactical approach to mobility, it could be an opportunity to treat mobility as part of a broader technology management strategy and re-evaluate suppliers. Seek simplicity in strategy and execution from your provider wherever possible.

This acquisition will not solve all of AP organizations’ mobility challenges — and the road map for product integration and future development has yet to be announced. However, the flexibility and ease of implementation of the AirWatch offering will provide some immediate benefits, with the possibility that VMware will introduce a more integrated platform offering down the road. Ultimately, this may compel companies that have so far taken a tactical approach to reassess their needs and entertain the possibility of completely redesigning their enterprise mobile applications. However, in the short term, many organizations are already benefiting from lightweight MDM solutions that support multiple delivery models. If you’re reconsidering your mobility sourcing strategy, this report will help spur discussion.