It takes a strong leader to guide a company through disruption or to capitalise on it, and enterprise mobility has been one of the big disruptors of recent times. CBR has rounded up some of the CEOs who either drove the change or have successfully caught on to it.
1. Satya Nadella – Microsoft
Microsoft has always been big in the enterprise market for obvious reasons; its Windows software and Microsoft Office suite in particular are effectively industry standards. However, only under Satya Nadella’s leadership has the IT giant truly grasped the importance of enabling enterprises to put their employees to work on a range of devices.
Since he took over the company, its Enterprise Mobility Suite has been right at the centre of Microsoft’s strategy. Microsoft Lync, its instant messaging software was building a steady market share but Nadella has bolstered the UC portfolio with the acquisition of Skype and the rebranding as Skype for Business.
Nadella joined Microsoft in 1992, formerly working as part of Sun Microsystems. He has worked as SVP of Research and Development for the Online Services Division and vice-president of the Microsoft Business Division. He has also been the president of Microsoft’s Server and Tools Business.
"Microsoft is focused on delivering the cloud for everyone, on every device. It’s a unique approach that centres on people — enabling the devices you love, work with the services you love, and in a way that works for IT and developers," said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer for Microsoft.
2. John S Chen – BlackBerry
There’s no denying that BlackBerry has been in the enterprise mobility game for longer than the term has existed. Who can forget the original BlackBerry, unwieldy and large with its built-in computer keyboard at a time when mobile phones were competing to get smaller and smaller?
However, under John Chen the company has really begun to take ownership of the category. His 2013 open letter to BlackBerry’s enterprise customers and partners marked a shift away from perceptions that BlackBerry’s software only works with its own devices.
The Hong Kong emigrant was formerly CEO of Sybase, the enterprise software company. He began his career as a design engineer at Unisys in the late 1970s.
"We’re serious about multi-platform MDM and even more serious about multi-platform EMM," said Chen in his letter. "We understand the realities of the enterprise mobility market better than anyone, and we’re in the game for the long-term."
3. Bob Tinker – MobileIron
MobileIron is one of the biggest vendors in the enterprise mobility management market. Based in California, MobileIron had GAAP revenue of $132.3 million in 2014 and a market share in the EMM software market of 9.2 percent.
As CEO, Bob Tinker oversees the day-to-day operations of MobileIron and defines the business strategy. He has led the company almost since its very founding, becoming CEO in 2008, and overseeing its entry into the stock market in 2014.
MobileIron’s leader has formerly worked at Cisco, leading the Business Development team for Cisco’s wireless business units, worth around $1 billion. He has also worked at Airespace, Vertical Networks and NationsBank.
"Enterprise deployments are becoming increasingly mission-critical as companies move beyond mobile email and deploy mobile apps and content collaboration tools," Tinker said recently, commenting on a new strategic partnership with Samsung.
4. Virginia ‘Ginni’ Rometty – IBM
IBM, whose products were at one point synonymous with the word mainframe, has had to work to make itself relevant in the era of cloud computing, big data and mobility. This has manifested in, amongst other offerings, its analytics platform Watson and the IBM Cloud.
Rometty has been CEO of the company since 2011 and her tenure has seen more determined forays into the enterprise mobility market. The most crucial move has been the launch of IBM MobileFirst in 2013, aimed at helping clients streamline and accelerate mobile adoption. 2014 saw a partnership with Apple to launch an app suite.
Rometty has spent most of her career at IBM, after a spell working at the General Motors Institute from 1979 to 1981. She started out as systems engineer before joining the Consulting Group, becoming senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy in 2009.
"Mobility — combined with the phenomena of data and cloud — is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions," said Rometty in 2014, commenting on the partnership with Apple.
5. Bill McDermott – SAP
The German software company was launched by former IBM engineers in the 1970s. Now sole CEO of the company, having jointly helmed the company from 2010 to 2014, McDermott has overseen a further expansion of SAP’s mobility offerings.
Notably, McDermott recently announced a collaboration with Google to "simplify work," "improve productivity" and "extend collaboration" for enterprise employees with apps and mobile security products. The acquisition of Concur in 2014, the expenses management app, also bolstered SAP’s suite of enterprise products.
Bill McDermott’s career has included a 17-year spell at Xerox, as well as periods as President of Gartner and Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Operations at Siebel Systems. He joined SAP in 2002 as the CEO of SAP America, joining the board in 2008.
"The businesses that leaned into the mobile era are winning the game," wrote McDermott in a diginomica blog. "Certain principles have proven central, including the concept of device agnosticism.
"Let’s be clear: the enterprise won’t set the marketplace for mobile devices. Consumers will – and betting against consumer choice is a fruitless gamble."