One Small Step for HTC, A Giant Leap for Enterprise Mobility

23 08 2012

This week revealed latest evidence in the advancement of the enterprise apps market as HTC announced that the company will invest $35.4 million in U.S. software firm, Magnet Systems Inc., acquiring a 17.1 percent stake. HTC cited that this investment “will bring social, mobile and cloud capabilities to HTC’s portfolio of service offerings to its mobile enterprise customers” and provided no further details. According to various analysts, HTC is most likely trying to fill a market space once predominantly occupied by the king of enterprise mobility, RIM.

This investment was made as the BYOD trend is on fire within the enterprise market. Though BlackBerry devices had previously led in the mobile enterprise space, the rise of iPhone and Android devices have caused a major shift in the market. While HTC was laser-focused on targeting the consumer market, its investment in Magnet Systems is indication that the company is paying greater attention to the enterprise sector.

According to Juniper Research, the number of smart devices in the enterprise is slated to double by 2014 and reach 350 million, up from 150 million this year. It seems that the thin line between work-life technologies is being slowly erased as mobile phones are becoming increasingly multi-purpose, taking a more central role in people’s work and personal lives. BYOD began because employees want to be able to do everything – whether for work or personal reasons – with one device and not be constrained by company-issued devices. Though mobility has its qualms and limitations, such as security, it is no doubt the “big thing” for enterprises now. As smart devices become more saturated in enterprises, so are enterprise apps.

Businesses are all about productivity and efficiency and smart devices as well as the mobile apps on them are helping to improve these factors. From BI and CRM to content creation and ERP apps, we’ve seen tremendous growth is app development and testing across the board. Not only do businesses want to extend their brands to the mobile channel, they are working internally to extend productivity and business management tools to their employees. Gartner predicts that the global spending on enterprise applications will total $120.4 billion in 2012, representing a 4.5 percent increase from last year. As apps become more popular and robust, and more employees join the mobile workforce, businesses in all verticals from healthcare and finance to software and media, are establishing mobile initiatives, or if they have one already in place, moving it up in IT priorities and IT spending. The extension of mobility and mobile apps to every aspect of our professional and personal lives will be one of the hallmarks of this decade, creating major opportunities for virtually all sectors of our lives. As such, app developers must ensure the quality of their apps throughout all steps of the development lifecycle. As the apps market becomes highly saturated, end-users are becoming extremely unforgiving about buggy apps. If an app doesn’t work, they’ll simply move on to the next, leaving the buggy apps in the dust to be forgotten.

As for HTC, it is too early to determine how they are going to leverage and integrate Magnet’s resources in the enterprise market but it’ll be interesting to see how the strategic shift in markets will result. I’d be curious to know what your thoughts are about this investment and about the current and future state of the enterprise app market.




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