Q&A: Motorola's enterprise VP John Coon

Acquisitions, restructuring and more mobility innovations feature in the future for Motorola.

John Coon, vice president of UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa (UKI, MEA) for Motorola's Networks and Enterprise arm talks about acquisitions, innovation and what the future may bring.

Motorola has undergone some quite significant changes of late - former chief executive and chairman Ed Zander leaving, restructuring, financials. What would you say to reassure worried businesses about the state of play for the company?

Motorola's announcement that it is investigating splitting the company into two entities - one focused on the mobile phone market and one on broadband and mobility solutions - underlines the company's commitment to taking strong and correct decisions to meet both the challenges of under performance in the mobile phone business and opportunities for growth in other highly successful business units.

Key product innovations in 2008 include, the MC75 enterprise digital assistant, the first rugged EDA with 3G capabilities and the latest wireless switch technology with the RFS6000 - a market which Motorola pioneered with the introduction of the first wireless switch.

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Innovation remains a critical success factor and, as well as continued research and development, our enterprise mobility product line has been strengthened by acquisitions such as Good Technology and our recently announced intention to acquire AirDefense [Wireless LAN security specialists].

While some areas of the company saw flagging sales in the Q1 results, sales were up for the enterprise mobility division. What's the secret of your success?

All of the B2B businesses in Motorola saw growth in Q1. What made the Enterprise Mobility business especially successful was the combination of innovative new products and a maturing of our go to market strategy. [We're] building success [by] creating a channel ecosystem of distributors, resellers, ISVs, alliance partners and OEM partners.

Introducing new products, such as the MC70 with GPS mobile computer, the MC17 personal shopping solution and the AP7181 wireless access point to this ecosystem, allows us to work with partners to create total solutions for our customers that make a real difference to their businesses.

There are rumours of further restructuring in terms of business units. Can you comment on what may happen here?

Since the beginning of 2007 Motorola has been public about its efforts to achieve a lower-cost infrastructure to win in the marketplace, improve our profitability and deliver the value that our shareholders expect. This is an ongoing process and we constantly review our business operations and our business units' organisation.

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Can you detail any case studies of companies you've worked with that UK businesses could learn from in terms of getting their enterprise mobility strategy and execution right?

We have some great examples of customers really engaging with us to help them with their enterprise mobility strategies. For example, TNT, the parcel delivery company, works very closely with us to empower their workers with mobile computing devices that exactly fit their needs. Our latest wearable computer was tested by TNT early in its design cycle so that together - we could create a product that really worked for businesses like theirs.

How is the Symbol acquisition shaping up? Looking back, has the move panned out as expected?

Coming from the legacy Symbol business, I've seen the acquisition from the inside [John was previously a vice president and managing director of Symbol before it was acquired]. The benefits to our sales team and our partners have been solid.

Firstly, we've benefited from the brand, as the name Motorola has led to many new conversations with prospective clients. Secondly, we've benefited from a complementary product portfolio. In our wireless business, for example, we are the only company that can offer a total wireless solution to our customers from the office to the campus, to the city and countrywide. Thirdly, we've benefited from a wider community of expertise and knowledge, integrating our legal, finance, marketing and HR functions, for example allows the legacy Symbol team to grow whilst at the same time giving us access to a pool of senior talent that we couldn't have attained as a standalone company. Naturally, such consolidation has provided some cost savings.

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