The Final Two

By Leah Gabriel Nurik

Mobile maturity in the enterprise has finally arrived, and plenty of IT solution providers have recognized that offering  a mobile services practice – integrating mobile devices to the IT infrastructure -- can bring in an additional stream of services revenue.  Channel Insider takes a look at some of the vendors who are shaping the mobile enterprise landscape and who may be the best potential partners for delivering enterprise mobile solutions that pack a punch.
Sybase’s go-to-market reliance on ISVs, resellers and systems integrators make it a great potential partner for resellers looking to deploy mobile enterprise applications. Sybase’s mobile platform combines all the required "parts" for a successful mobile deployment, so time-to-market is fast and roadblocks presented by building custom and piecemeal solutions avoided. From device management to a great application development environment, Sybase most likely has what you need. Plus, the company’s partner program is stellar and gives reseller partners tons of tools, benefits and aid with selling and deploying Sybase.

RIM offers partners some great dev tools  for deploying applications that run on RIM—and, remember: RIM alone. The company’s proprietary OS is popular in the enterprise (and that’s putting it lightly), but keep in mind the effects of the consumerization of IT – multi-device support is a must.  Resellers looking to play successfully in the mobile enterprise app game need to support the RIM platform, especially in certain vertical industries such as real estate and financial services. Also, RIM is popular with executives and white-collar mobile workers such as sales people. If you’re eyeing mobile solutions for SFA or Field Service, make sure you have a BlackBerry strategy.

Google won’t give an inch when pressed to tell its mobile enterprise strategy, consistently asserting that right now, it are focused on the consumer market for Android. But, Google has made a push with its Google Apps partner program to infiltrate business. So don’t be fooled – Android will play big in the enterprise, especially as Google Apps continues to gain traction within large companies. Steve Jobs recently said that Google’s "Don’t Be Evil Mantra" (quietly dropped from marketing last year) was untrue and that Google was bent on destroying the iPhone. But, perhaps Google hopes the iPhone will be a casualty in its bigger war for enterprise world domination. Android is an essential weapon to snagging a victory. Resellers need to watch Android’s enterprise progress closely and partner directly with Google or with ISVs that support the Android platform so they can offer it in their own arsenal.

The delay of Windows Mobile Phone Series 7 has seriously hurt the Microsoft’s enterprise mobile reputation. Windows Mobile 6.5 released last year was a stop-gap until Microsoft could get Windows Mobile 7 out the door. Daily, the company loses market share to Apple, RIM and Google in the consumer markets, which is progressively merging with the enterprise market. At its unveiling at Mobile World Congress in February 2010 – the technology evoked honest praise, and critics gave MSFT kudos for what’s supposed to be released in October. But it remains to be seen if Windows Mobile Phone Series 7 is  too  late to the enterprise party.  However, for those playing in retail, government, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, and other industries where rugged and hardened hardware is crucial - WinMo 6.5 and 6.1 support is key. Rugged device manufacturers such as Motorola (Symbol) and Intermec almost exclusively support WinMo today.  

Antenna Software
Maybe you haven’t heard of it, but mobile platform vendor Antenna Software is no newbie when it comes to the mobile app market. The New Jersey-based company was one of the first on the scene and has carved out a leadership position in the mobile application platform space. The company’s partnerships are solid, with close ties to  AT&T (also an Antenna investor), Oracle (it’s the go-to for mobile Siebel On-Demand), Vodaphone, and RIM. And the company has seen much success with its packaged apps as well as its more recently marketed platform strategy.

Antenna just seems to keep making the right decisions, and the result is growth. Antenna continually has boosted its vertical and horizontal application expertise by gobbling up competitors that enhance its product suite and broaden its reach. Recently, Antenna acquired consumer-focused financial services mobile company Vaultus, and over the past few years has snatched up other solid mobile brands,  such as Dexterra and Vettro. 

The benefit to partnering with Antenna? Its platform can be deployed in a hosted/cloud environment on multiple mobile operating systems and devices. It also allows rapid configuration and deployment of vertical apps because of its native industry-specific  business objects.


This article was originally published on 2010-04-20