News Analysis: Enterprise-level solutions that embrace mobility, data collection and vertical markets should secure Motorola's place in the business world, but the real challenge for the company comes from the consumerization of IT.
HOLTSVILLE, N.Y.-Motorola has faced several challenges that would have
spelled the end for most other companies. At one point, Motorola was losing more than $1 billion a quarter on its mobile device business, forcing the company to make tough
decisions, sell off its less-than-profitable divisions and return to its roots
as a solutions-based company.
In the end, Motorola Solutions rose
from the ashes of the old Motorola as a new iteration of a company that had its
roots in radio communications and governmental technology. Now, the company is
engaging the enterprise to grow its business, provide solutions and build new partnerships.
However, one rather large challenge
remains, and that amounts to stemming the tide of the consumerization of IT
As many IT shops already know, there is
an onslaught of consumer-level devices which are penetrating the
all levels. These range from the iPad in the hands of the CEO to
Android smartphones used by the company's sales force. The idea of the
consumerization of IT
stems from the notion of BYOD, or "bring your own device." This
employees to bring their own devices, such as laptops, smartphones and
tablets, into the corporate firewall. At the same time, the IT
charged with allowing employees to access company applications and
corporate resources from their personal devices.
While many companies and IT shops are
embracing BYOD, Motorola Solutions is looking to derail those BYOD efforts with
innovative technologies that not only meet the needs of the user but also
fit into the IT department's ability to manage and govern equipment and
operations. The company is setting the stage for IT departments to take back
control of devices, applications and security with an extensive knowledge base
of why vertical market solutions are a better fit for most business entities,
as opposed to the consumer-level devices that many organizations are trying to
shoehorn into their IT environments.
This approach comes down to two factors: ROI
(return on investment) and TCO (total cost of ownership). For its customers, Motorola
Solutions is trying to demonstrate the hidden costs of consumer-level devices,
while highlighting the operational savings of using enterprise-level products,
which can be more easily provisioned, customized and managed by IT.
Simply put, Motorola Solutions has
placed the focus back on IT enablement that services the user, while
increasing productivity and lowering total costs.
Currently, Motorola Solutions has a
dual-prong approach to IT enablement, with some 35 percent of the company's
solutions going into the enterprise space and the remainder going into the
For the enterprise side of the
business, Motorola Solutions is focusing on mobile computing, advanced data
capture, wireless networking, and services with products, consulting and an
active partner ecosystem. The government side of the business focuses on radio
systems, radio devices, Integrated Command and Control, and of course,
services. While there is overlap between the enterprise and government
solutions, these products and services are not limited to specific silos. That
cross business unit pollination has created a wide array of solutions that fit
well into hundreds of vertical markets.
At a press event here, company
executives highlighted several technology solutions that are arriving on the
market that promise to shift the focus from consumerization back to IT-delivered
solutions. Sheldon Safir, Motorola Solutions' director of Global Product
Marketing, said "Consumer-level products are becoming increasingly difficult to
manage in the enterprise and lack the ruggedness and customizability that IT
departments need for their vertical market applications"
On the hardware side, the company's new
Android tablet, the ET1, is a enterprise-level device that features a
ruggedized design, making it suitable for retail, warehouse, medical and law
enforcement applications. At roughly twice the cost of an iPad, the ET1
promises a much longer operational life, as well as support for extensive
customization and enhanced management.
"It all comes down to return on
investment and total cost of ownership" Safir, said. "Devices that are easier to
manage, service and meet life cycle needs prove cheaper in the long run when
compared to a consumer device forced into a vertical market solution."
Backing up the ET1 tablet is a new,
innovative software application development platform, called "RHOElements." This
is a rapid application development (RAD) environment that combines a GUI-based design system with Web
application creation, based upon an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
RHOElements offers ISV's
(independent software vendors) the ability to generate HTML5-compatible
applications, which will run on a number of different platforms and devices.
When paired with the ET1 tablet, specialized, vertical market applications can
be created for most any environment, ranging from retail to insurance to medical
and almost any other application environment that can benefit from a mobile
Enterprises, government agencies and channel
partners all have access to the various platforms and solutions offered by
Motorola Solutions. Other technologies offered included Wireless LAN/WAN
technologies, voice and video endpoints, as well as handheld barcode scanners
and RFID equipment. The combination of those products and services puts
Motorola Solutions in a good position to service enterprise customers looking
to implement mobility solutions and enhanced data capture capabilities, while
taking back the enterprise from consumer-level devices.
Motorola Solutions' plan for the
enterprise is rather straightforward and catalogued under three objectives: empower
the mobile worker, enable real-time asset visibility and engage the smarter
customer. Empowering the mobile worker consists of providing the worker with
wireless, handheld devices that run line-of-business solutions in a secure
fashion. Ideally, these workers will be able to throw off the tethers of the
traditional workplace and perform their duties in the environment that best
Real-time asset availability provides
on-the-spot information about stock availability, product location and
supply-chain status, giving employees the ability to quickly locate
orders or trace product locations.
Engaging the smarter customer is a
novel approach for retailers and other sales professionals to level the playing
field with customers that arrive with the latest competitive information. Here,
hand-held devices can coach a salesperson, provide up-to-the-minute product
information and give a salesperson a competitive advantage by engaging the
customer at their level of understanding, experience and expectations.
It is those methodologies and
ideologies that will help Motorola Solutions gain acceptance in the enterprise,
by delivering solutions that solve the many pain points that vertical markets
are experiencing. What's more, a strong focus on partner development should
help build an ecosystem of expertise that will create best-of-breed solutions
based upon Motorola Solutions' growing product line.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correctly state how much money Motorola was losing each quarter in a specific division.