Last month, AT&T announced Toggle – an application designed to transform the enterprise mobility market by fulfilling the needs of both enterprises and end-users of smartphone devices. As we discussed in last week’s blog, entitled “Dual Persona Market Heating Up,” AT&T’s Toggle application was developed as part of a cooperative effort by AT&T and the startup Enterproid. We also expounded upon the appeal Toggle may represent for smartphone users, as the application essentially enables users to construct separate work and personal environments on their mobile device (to reiterate, currently Android is the only mobile platform supported). In this post, we will expand on the origin of this mobile app, and on AT&T’s strategic goals in the enterprise mobility market – we’ll also detail our view on the channel and share our thoughts on AT&T’s positioning for solutions such as Toggle.
Toggle’s growth into a potentially revolutionary mobile technology may, in fact, be indebted to the spirit of collaboration and ideation that has recently emerged at AT&T. Indeed, Enterproid executives were both impressed and surprised with AT&T’s ability to collaborate and move as quickly as they did with bringing Toggle to market. What began as an idea posted in AT&T’s internal crowd-sourcing forum (The Innovation Pipeline), eventually grew to earn the support of an AT&T Foundry. AT&T developed its foundry innovation centers with the objective of uniting entrepreneurs, developers and business leaders in cooperative efforts to transform inventive concepts into practical market solutions. Toggle was developed with the support of AT&T and Enterproid, a tech startup whose Divide platform comprises the technological foundation of the Toggle application.
Considering enterprise requirements for highly secure mobile platforms, and the continuing BYOD trend at large corporations, we believe that there is a real commercial opportunity for solutions such as Toggle to gain traction in the mobile space. Moving forward, as mobile devices continue to enter the workplace, enterprise oriented application adoption will begin to ramp quickly, and robust security for mobile platforms will become requisite. Dual persona solutions like Toggle can potentially give companies the opportunity to take advantage of the BYOD trend by securing the “work persona” on employee owned mobile devices while preserving the user experience that employees are accustomed to by using their device(s) of choice – additionally, employers can avoid incurring the costs associated with provisioning devices to their mobile workforce (we’ll save the issues we foresee associated with billing for a future blog post). A variety of dual persona solutions have emerged, and accompany a large number of security-focused mobile specialists – all of whom have different ideas on securing mobile platforms.
The Channel is Key – Amongst Mobile Operators, AT&T is Well Positioned
As the mobile ecosystem becomes increasingly crowded, mobile operators with adeptness at channel partnerships will be well positioned to be the point of entry for a variety of enterprise mobility solutions. AT&T’s channel portfolio is strong, with key MEAP, MDM, and TEM vendors in place – the company has been very aggressive with its mobility strategy since forming its Advanced Mobility Solutions organization last year, with a steady flow of new partnerships and product offerings. AT&T’s managed services and mobile development competencies, as well as its professional services capabilities (via the InCompass acquisition in Q4 2010) and cloud ambitions position the company to be very competitive as an end-to-end enterprise mobility solution provider. AT&T rivals aren’t standing still, and also see mobility solutions positioned for the enterprise (and SMB) as a significant opportunity. Verizon recently enhanced its mobility strategy with the launch of an enterprise app store and a mobile unified communications platform, and also sees an opportunity ahead in the cloud. Earlier this summer, Verizon expanded its relationship with SAP to co-market/cross-sell SAP applications (a relationship that brings the ability to offer cloud-based mobile applications). The company has also established white-label partner arrangements for several of its managed mobility offerings (for example, Verizon has partnered with Sybase for its mobile application management service). Mobile operators are without question emerging as a critical channel for enterprise mobility services – while mobile oriented ISVs in the MEAP and MDM space are having success with their direct sales activities, we see them becoming increasingly reliant on the channel moving forward. Mobile operators Deutsche Telekom, Orange Business Services, and Telefonica have all moved in a similar direction to AT&T and Verizon (for example all three have relations with Sybase for MDM solutions).