iPass: Growing Revenue by Generating Installers that Meet Critical Requirements of Enterprise Customers

Customer Profile:

Founded in 1996, iPass (NASDAQ: IPAS) is a leading provider of mobility services for enterprises and service providers. iPass solutions enable customers to simplify and streamline remote access for mobile workers by insulating them from the complexity of using multiple wireless providers and/or different types of networks as they travel.

Challenge:

Deliver customer-configured remote access client software in a standard .msi format that IT organizations can readily manage with popular software distribution solutions—and that can be easily private-labeled for reseller partners.

Solution:

iPass took advantage of InstallShield’s command-line interface (CLI) and professional services team to develop a system that automatically creates the appropriate .msi file each time a customer configures a new, customized remote access client on its build site.

Benefits:

iPass can grow revenue by fulfilling the critical requirements of large enterprise customers who must be able to automate distribution of their customconfigured clients to mobile users and by providing its reseller channel with an enterprise-class mobility solution that they can market under their own brand.

iPass switches to Flexera Software’s InstallShield to generate installers that meet requirements of large enterprise customers

Not supporting MSI-based installations can be a deal-breaker. So choosing the wrong installation development solution can be really bad for business.

“Flexera Software is the market leader for a reason,” observes Fowler. “They are obviously the partnerof- choice for any software vendor that needs to generate true .msi files and that wants to ensure quality and customer acceptance of their installers.”

Gary Fowler, Director of Product Management, iPass

That’s what remote access market leader iPass recently discovered. iPass delivers customized client software that makes it easier for companies to provide their mobile users with reliable, secure remote access. The software makes life easier for end-users by insulating them from the complexities of using different wireless networks in different places and navigating multiple screens. And it makes remote access more cost-efficient for IT by reducing support costs and giving them a straightforward way of enforcing remoteaccess policies.

Customers configure their client software themselves by clicking their way through a series of screens on the iPass self-service portal. Based on that input, iPass creates a client-side executable that it delivers in the form of an .msi file.

iPass had been working with another vendor to create the .msi installation files for its customers. But it encountered two problems. The first and most significant problem was that the installation files created weren’t true .msi files. They were actually .exe-based installation files with a .msi “wrapper.”

This created serious issues for IT organizations using popular software distribution tools for getting the iPass client out to its geographically dispersed end-users. For example, those tools would report successful installation of the iPass client—even though all that had happened was that the installation .exe had been successfully distributed. Once this vendor’s installation .exe started running, however, all kinds of snafus could occur. But the distribution tool couldn’t detect those problems, because the actual installation of the iPass client software was not being performed by the .msi file itself.

“The bigger the customer, the more likely it was that they were using an automated distribution tool,” explains iPass Director of Product Management Gary Fowler. “So the problem we were having with our installation files was cutting us off from the most lucrative segment of our market.”

The second problem with this previous vendor was that they were not very responsive about trying to solve the first problem. “We were hoping that they would give us some advice or even some hands-on assistance so that our enterprise-class customers could distribute our client software in the same way as they distributed all of their other software,” recalls Fowler. “But they were unresponsive to say the least.”

Flexera Software to the rescue

Having worked with Flexera Software before, iPass made a second call as well. Flexera Software responded quickly—and immediately grasped both the nature and the gravity of the situation.

Flexera Software’s InstallShield inherently solved the major problem facing iPass because it generates true .msi that behaves exactly as an .msi is supposed to behave. In fact, because so many software vendors use InstallShield to create their .msi files, the look, feel and behavior of the .msi files it generates for iPass conform precisely to the expectations of enterprise customers and software distribution solution developers alike.

InstallShield’s command line interface (CLI) was also very helpful for iPass, since it allowed for optimized integration with the system that iPass uses to build custom-compiled remote access clients for its customers.

In addition, InstallShield fulfilled the business requirement that iPass be able to offer its reseller partners the ability to private-label its offering.

Just as important, Flexera Software was able to respond to the urgent situation iPass was facing with expert professional services that had a solution in place just four short weeks after Fowler placed his call.

“Flexera Software sent us someone who was highly knowledgeable, highly professional, and able to work on-site when we needed him,” says Fowler. “There is no way we could have ever turned our situation around as quickly as we did without him.”

Installing opportunity and confidence

By switching to Flexera Software and InstallShield, iPass has gained several immediate, concrete benefits:

  • Market opportunity: With the ability to create a true .msi installer from any .exe build, iPass can confidently sell into large enterprise accounts.
  • Market reach: iPass can extend its market reach through reseller partners worldwide with private-label solutions that can meet the requirements of all kinds of customers.
  • Adaptability: As iPass continues to evolve its solutions portfolio, it can readily integrate InstallShield into those solutions to automatically deliver the requisite install files.
  • Expertise and experience on-demand: iPass now knows that it has a true business partner that can deliver specialized technical expertise when and where it’s needed to address any future software installation issues.

Fowler admits that iPass is somewhat chastened by its negative experience with its previous installation file vendor. iPass had been using InstallShield previously, but had moved to the new vendor to cut costs—since its software delivery model requires it to maintain copies of its installation generator on multiple servers. The unpleasant result of that decision revealed that InstallShield’s value is well worth its price.

Fowler summarizes, “Flexera Software’s InstallShield generates true .msi files that our customers can manage in the exact same way as they do their other software install files. In addition, Flexera Software’s professional services team was very responsive and has demonstrated that they are the experts in software installation.”

Next Step

Learn more about InstallShield or download a free trial at www.flexerasoftware.com/products/software-installation/installshield

About Flexera Software

Flexera Software is the leading provider of strategic solutions for Application Usage Management; solutions delivering continuous compliance, optimized usage and maximized value to application producers and their customers. Flexera Software is trusted by more than 80,000 customers that depend on our comprehensive solutions — from installation and licensing, entitlement and compliance management to application readiness and software license optimization — to strategically manage application usage and achieve breakthrough results realized only through the systems-level approach we provide. For more information, please go to: www.flexerasoftware.com.