Mobile Software Firm Strikes While the Market Is Hot

On June 10, Antenna Software completed the acquisition of Dexterra for an undisclosed amount solidifying its position as a key player in the mobile middleware platform space, with a sharpened focus on field force enablement. This market grab comes on the heels of Antenna's acquisition of Vettro's strategic assets in November 2008, a move that was made to increase market share in the IT service management and local transportation verticals.
The Dexterra purchase represents a major move by Antenna to grab share in a market seeing increasing demand for mobilized enterprise applications that are scalable, configurable and platform-agnostic; and that can mobilize a broad range of field force functions such as field service
, sales , and customer support.
Expanding Its Market Reach
Aberdeen research continues to see increasing interest in and adoption of mobility across all organizations. In recent 2009 field service research, 83 percent of companies stated that fully connected mobility was either "extremely" or "very" important to financial and operational performance.

Figure 1: Mobility Initiatives Over Time
(click image to enlarge)

Aberdeen's March 2009 benchmark, "More Mobility -- Less Budget: Enterprise Strategies in the Current Economic Downturn," found that enterprise mobility had "crossed the chasm" from a niche application to broad market acceptance. Figure 1 shows the growth of mobility initiatives among respondents from 2006 through 2009. During the period, the percentage of respondents who had a mobility initiative in place increased 42 percent, while the percentage of those who had no plans for mobility decreased by 93 percent.
Antenna's core offering is the Antenna Mobility Platform (AMP), an extensible application platform upon which prefabricated applications such as AMP Service, AMP Sales and AMP Support are also built. Antenna continues to see increasing interest in flexible development platforms as opposed to specific point solutions, reflected in the acquisition of Dexterra and its Concert mobile development platform. The acquisition also gives Antenna access to Dexterra's 100+ international customers, a majority of whom are in the field service space.

Expanding Its Capabilities
The acquisition also allows for expansion along the following lines:
Functionality: The Mobile Command Center in Dexterra Concert offers robust workforce management capabilities, including an integrated scheduling engine that allows for dynamic workforce scheduling. Dynamic or real-time scheduling continues to be a differentiator for Best-in-Class companies. This is predicated on the ability to allow for the seamless integration of data between the mobile application and the enterprise scheduling application. The acquisition also allows Antenna to test the waters in the mobile asset management market, another one of Dexterra's core strengths.
Geography: While Antenna does support a number of global customers, more than 80 percent of its customer base is in North America. Dexterra does overlap with its presence in the North American market, and it has made progress in increasing market share in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), primarily through its channel relationship with
Vodafone. Global markets present significant growth opportunities as reflected in Aberdeen's January 2009 Insights on mobile field service in EMEA and APAC (Asia Pacific). EMEA respondents indicated that 49 percent of their mobile workers were equipped with mobile devices, up from 43 percent in 2007; while APAC respondents revealed rates of 55 percent and 40 percent for 2008 and 2007, respectively.
Verticals: Prior to the acquisition, both organizations were competitors in the telecommunications and manufacturing verticals. While Antenna has also gained significant traction in healthcare
and consumer packaged goods, the Dexterra purchase allows for expansion into the government and utilities verticals, representing approximately 20 percent of Dexterra's customers.
Device: Both platforms allow for use across multiple devices and operating systems. While a majority of Antenna's customers leverage BlackBerry or Windows Mobile devices, Dexterra's experience with Symbian devices increases the market reach of Antenna's solution. Antenna's recent focus on incorporating iPhone into the mix further expands their platform reach.
Deployment Models: While at least 80 percent of Antenna's customers are leveraging on-demand or hosted solutions, a majority of Dexterra's customers leverage on-premise mobile solutions. With the acquisition, customers now have the option of selecting either deployment model as per their IT, security or business requirements.
Partner Network: The acquisition also opens Antenna to Dexterra's vast partner network for the development, sale and support of its platform. Dexterra has invested heavily in the development of this network over the last 12 to 24 months. While Antenna has a reseller agreement with
AT&T (NYSE: T) , it can now tap into Dexterra's relationships with carriers such as Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) and with systems integrators such as IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Accenture.