Most of the commodity IT market – PCs, tablets, servers and storage – have taken a beating, if not in unit shipments, then in revenues and/or margins. While not immune to either the market variations or increasing competition, the smartphone numbers continue to surge, and IT Service Management software vendor Cherwell Software is extending its reach into this segment with Cherwell Mobile for Android.
Cherwell has been in this market since 2004, and recording its first non-beta sale in 2007, said Matt Neigh, Director of EMEA Sales. It started primarily with Blackberry, and then added iPhone, but the growing popularity of Android, especially in universities, its biggest vertical market, caught its attention.
More and more customers were asking for Android, and it boiled down to anywhere, any time access, he said. “In today’s world people are operating in whatever mode makes the most sense to them.”
Different segments have different needs, said Neigh, with admin primarily using desktops and IT a mix of everything. “We live in the days when people want to believe that they have a choice in the device that they access.”
So adding Android provides more choice, enabling technicians to deal with the data in a way that makes the most sense to them. “We’re really giving people choices…they’ve become accustomed to that… (and we) believe it’s the same in IT.”
Another benefit is dealing with the pace of events, when things happen very quickly. “Your C-level and E-level people have to make decisions in near-real time. Your mobile device really becomes your business GPS.”
Finally, there is the customer experience (CX) dynamic, said Neigh. “I believe IT is feeling pressure to provide an incredible customer experience but the challenge they face is they have less resources.”
According to the latest numbers from IDC, the smartphone market grew an impressive 28.6% year over year in the first quarter of 2014. Vendors shipped 281.5 million smartphones, which was actually down slightly (-2.8%) from the 289.6 million units shipped in 4Q13.
Smartphones accounted for 62.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 1Q14, up from the 50.7% of all mobile phone shipments in 1Q13. IDC expects total smartphone shipment volumes to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014, up 19.3% YoY, which indicates even this market has its limits, following the 39.2% growth seen in 2013.
Last year Android was the OS for 78.6% of smartphone shipments, followed by iOS (15.2%, Microsoft (3.3%) and Blackberry (1.9%). This year it is forecast to inch up to 78.9% share, and eventually (2018) will be humbled to only 76% of the market.
Smartphone growth is far exceeding the pace of the ITSM market, but it’s still doing significantly better than the overall IT spending growth, coming in at a projected CAGR of 7.3% over the period 2012-2016. According to the recent report, a key reason for ITSM’s strong performance is that an increasing number of employees are using personal technology devices in workplace.
‘These devices also facilitate remote access to data and help employees remain productive at all times even when they are not at their workstations. The increasing number of devices used with company networks is increasing the need for IT systems and services, thus driving the growth of the market.’
Another highlight of the report is the adoption of cloud-based ITSM to reduce the capital and operational costs associated with computing resource provisioning within enterprises. ‘Since cloud services are provided over the cloud infrastructure, there is a considerable reduction in the associated capital and operational expenditure.’
This particularly attractive to SMEs with smaller budgets. ‘The pay-per-use model makes the solution feasible for SMEs as they pay only for their usage.’ They also provide users with at-a-glance information on power usage efficiency and data center usage competence, which is increasing the popularity of ITSM solutions among SMEs, thereby contributing to the growth of the market.
In addition to Cherwell, other vendors in this space include Axios Systems, BMC Software, CA Technologies, Citrix Systems, Compuware, EMC, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Microsoft , NetScout Systems, Oracle, ServiceNow, Symantec and VMware.
The cloud provided solid growth for Cherwell last year, with software-as-a-service revenue soaring more than 200%, and at the end of March it announced the availability of its latest SaaS offerings in the US.
The company said it has invested significantly in SaaS hosting technologies to deliver near real-time failover with a recovery point objective (RPO) of one hour. Failover between data centers reduces the current recovery time objective (RTO) to less than two hours.
Cherwell also makes it easy to switch from SaaS to on-premise in a couple of hours, said CEO Vance Brown in a prepared statement. “Our licensing and hosting model Cherwell Choice offers maximum portability.
Given Android’s domination in the smartphone space, and growing presence in tablets, adding the OS was an obvious move. While Windows is expected to continue to gain share, Cherwell is betting that this is still a two-horse race – Android and iOS – said Neigh. “We have not seen a rapid adoption of the Windows platform on a mobile device (in IT).”
The Fiddly Bits (& Bytes)
Cherwell Mobile for Android is a comprehensive mobile solutions family that offers mobile dashboards and built-in business intelligence, map view and location awareness, user-configurable mobile alerts, OnDemand Reporting, quick search, camera-oriented features and barcode scanning. For the first time in the service management industry, the native Android application delivers unique consumerization features such as Gesture Recognition (which allows the app to instantly interpret touch gestures and other common user gestures); Enhanced Voice Search, and Pinboards, (which allow customers to create their own pinboards and pin tasks, search results, or other items of interest).
It is available immediately for free download on the Google Play Store and requires Android operating system 4.2 (Jelly Bean) or later and Cherwell Service Management 4.60b or later. Cherwell Mobile for Android is available in English, French, German, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.