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August 27, 2015

Who and what will drive EMM innovation?

C-level briefing: Costis Papadimitrakopoulos, CEO of Globo, talks about the lessons learned from an eighteen year journey and the future of EMM.

By Alexander Sword

When GLOBO was founded in 1997, it was far from clear how the enterprise mobility category would develop. Devices such as pagers were widespread but BlackBerry’s first convergent device, minting the concept of a phone for work, wouldn’t hit markets until 2003.

2007 would prove another key turning point, when the launch of the iPhone combined high-level functionality with a sleek user interface, giving users a personal consumer device that they actually wanted to use at work.

Since then the concept of enterprise mobility has been codified and a whole market has sprung up around the management of these devices.
Costis Papadimitrakopoulos, CEO of Globo, explains how a company created before the market even existed managed to gain a foothold.

"We transformed to a big business software provider when the dot-com model died. That got us effectively in mid-2000 to the software-as-a-service business.

"This was when we really understood and realised that that business model could be the future and we should work to bring the company onto the AIM market in 2007.

"At that kind of time we saw a tremendous opportunity building on top of mobile devices.

"We envisaged so-called ubiquitous computing, which is what we all use today, which is the ability to connect anywhere at any time on any device to applications and data sources that exist elsewhere."

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In the early days, Papadimitrakopoulos says, the company was unable to realise this vision due to a lack of resources, so set about investing in enhancing feature phones through software. However, an equity issue in 2011gave the company the new capability.

"Since then we have been continuously developing our mobile enterprise platform which has spread to all the different functionalities that an enterprise would need to engage with their audiences through the mobile channels."

Papadimitrakopoulos claims that being an outsider to the mobile world was an advantage.

"We’re quite proud to have come out of literally nowhere to be able to compete today with companies that have been in the mobile industry for more than 15 years.

"The fact that on one part of our business we were late-comers meant that we had the ability to learn from other people’s mistakes and not to have any strings with legacy systems and investments that would not leave us enough freedom to execute.

"That enabled us to execute in terms of product development and at the same time position to be quite different from our competitors."

As a company that has already changed its business as the market has adapted, Papadimitrakopoulos suggests that Globo is already preparing for future shifts.

"I think there are many angles of innovation that the market will have to go through. There are different trends even in the existing market with application development, integration with new devices and then vertical or horizontal areas.

"You can see such things as wearables and the Internet of Things which are very important and a huge market that any company that has a platform like ours could potentially address."

According to Papadimitrakopoulos, technology innovation will continue to be driven by smaller companies.

"The ‘dinosaurs’ have the tremendous capacity to access different parts of the world and customer bases and deal in volumes in a different way from a small company. Most of those companies will not have the ability to innovate.

"For that reason we saw smaller companies becoming targets of acquisitions and then as part of the bigger company, ramping up their execution capacity and offering to the big guy the ability to go out and harvest the opportunity."

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