Avema eyes role in enabling mobility services for VARs, MSPs

Roger Yang Avema

Avema CEO Roger Yang

Mobile device management is a hotspot in the channel, and Toronto-based Avema is looking to cut out its own part of the MDM market with the launch of a channel program.

The company started out in the mid ‘90s as a consultancy on telecom costs, and about five years later started to do more ongoing projects rather than one-off consulting, moving into processing telecom bills and payments and building their own Web-based software to make it happen.

But the changing realities of the mobile market in the era of the smartphone and the consumerization of IT made it aware there was a huge opportunity around managing mobile devices within the enterprise. It’s built a practice around providing security for Android, BlackBerry and iOS devices, and company CEO Roger Yang said that’s now the company’s biggest entrée.

“With most prospective customer today, we’re talking about MDM first, and then everything else,” Yang said. “It’s a huge topic today, and the issues around security with iPhones and Android devices being used in the enterprise have created a huge demand.”

So much demand, Yang said, that “every company is facing questions about how you support BYOD but keep everything secure,” and how to balance the need for security with the need to “not be overly draconian.”

And not surprisingly, as more companies face these questions, more solution providers are being tasked with figuring out a way to find answers for those questions.

“A lot of companies that have been focused on desktops and laptops are getting into, they’re being asked to support these things but they may not have the background around it.”

And that’s where the Avema connection comes in. The company envisions working with a number of different types of solution providers, in different roles for different offerings.

  • In the MDM field, the company essentially offers a brokerage – it recommends and then implements the right MDM solution for a customer from a list of about five of the many players in the field. Here, Avema envisions working mostly with resellers on a referral basis, or as a subcontractor for a solution provider, allowing that VAR to get customers connected with MDM offerings without having to build out a solution themselves.
  • On the expense management side, the opportunity is more around white-labeling the company’s Software-as-a-service offering, and Avema sees itself working more with patners looking to add mobility solutions to their managed services practices.’

In both cases, Yang said, the focus is on finding the right partners, not a specific number of partners. Although the channel program is new, Yang said the company has already gained experience working with one Canadian solution provider – Toronto-based Quartet Service.

Yang said that the company is looking to build up partnerships in both Canada and the United States, and that Avema’s business is split about 50/50 between the two.

“In Canada, nobody else is quite doing what we do,” he said. “It’s a smaller market, of course, but we should be able to get a much larger piece of it.”