As computer and mobile hardware approach commoditization, hardware vendors must find ways to remain profitable in the face of declining margins and sales. To increase margins, many of them are in the process of or have already acquired software companies. IBM for example, has purchased MaaS360 to enhance their security software portfolio. Zebra Technology purchased RhoMobile, a multi-OS application development for both consumer and enterprise-class mobile devices. Honeywell has now purchased Movilizer, the first cloud platform for field service applications.
Many companies heed the advice of former HP executive Marten Mickos who said, “become a solution provider where hardware is an important part, but still just a part.” Whether the goal is diversification, expanding into different market areas with different products or differentiation, or enhancing hardware offerings with complimentary software to add value—all vendors are exploring new business models to stay ahead.
Today, we will be discussing the features of Movilizer and how Honeywell believes this will help enhance their business model and grow hardware business at the same time.
Honeywell, seeking to improve the value of its handheld device business, acquired the field service cloud platform provider, Movilizer, in 2015. Its field mobility applications enable devices, like Honeywell’s, to complete business processes by connecting workers to back-end systems via cloud technology. The acquisition serves as a new channel of revenue for the hardware manufacturer, but more importantly, will provide future cross-selling opportunities and differentiation to an otherwise rather homogeneous hardware portfolio.
Movilizer’s cloud software enables a distributed workforce to create, deploy and manage workflow solutions – whether at the point of sale, in the field, in a warehouse or distribution center. Customers can seamlessly collect, transmit and analyze data generated by their workers on their existing information technology (IT) systems, enabling them to harness the power of their workforce from anywhere to best serve the needs of their end customers.
Movilizer’s multi-tenant, cloud and mobile applications are currently used by more than 200 multi-national companies in 30 countries, executing more than 1.5 million mobile business application transactions daily in the utility, manufacturing, engineering, transportation, logistics and consumer packaged goods industries. The platform allows customers running SAP, for example, to more quickly build native mobile applications from scratch inside SAP or to rapidly deploy out-of-the-box mobile applications for service, maintenance, sales, and distribution, warehouse or track-and-trace environments in just days.
It is too early to tell whether the acquisition will be successful or not. Movilizer does have future-proof potential given its cloud architecture and capabilities to build even more applications to support evolving business processes. Penetration into workflows through acquisitions represents one potential strategy that is not without risks—potential alienation of existing software partners— but as hardware markets evolve, such actions may become more commonplace.