Case Study

iPass

Growing revenue by generating installers that meet critical requirements of enterprise customers

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

SUMMARY

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

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 endusers 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.”

REVENERA TO THE RESCUE

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

Revenera 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 privatelabel its offering.

Just as important, Revenera 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.

“Revenera 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.”

Revenera is the market leader for a reason,” observes Fowler. “They are obviously the partner of 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

BENEFITS TO NETAPP FROM USING INSTALLSHIELD

NetApp has realized three main benefits from switching from WiX to InstallShield:

  • Significant time savings: Rajesh estimates that NetApp can now build their installations 70% faster with InstallShield than with WiX.
  • Reliable installations that meet complex requirements: InstallShield provides NetApp with the tools they need to meet even their most complex installation requirements.
  • Lower end-user support costs: By using InstallShield make their solutions easy to install, NetApp estimates that they have cut installation-related end-user support calls by up to 80%, which translates into significant cost savings.

“We are very happy with choosing InstallShield over WiX,” Rajesh concludes. “InstallShield gives us the tools we need to build our installations today, and we know it will continue to innovate to meet our installation needs down the road.”

Next Steps

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