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Wireless company boosts consulting

Good Technology wants to stake out a bigger role as a wireless communications services consultant, pledging to provide more support to its corporate customers--for a fee.

Good Technology wants to stake out a bigger role as a wireless communications services consultant, pledging to provide more support and custom applications to its corporate customers--for a fee.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based start-up competes with Research In Motion's BlackBerry network, offering subscribers access to e-mail and corporate data on a handheld device. Good Technology says it helps to set a wireless communications strategy and figure out the best way to integrate it with the customer's existing network. The company also has been developing custom applications for customers.

The company has been performing these services informally since January, but will announce the formal availability of the services Monday.

"Big enterprise customers want to know how to go beyond wireless e-mail access," said Terrence Austin, who is overseeing Good's consulting push. "Clients were asking for support, and we weren't doing it as thoroughly as we could and we were leaving opportunities on the table."

Good has about 150 employees, and the consulting business is made up of about six people who are working with 20 active clients with 35 more in the pipeline. Assignments tend to be on the shorter term, about two to three weeks long.

Austin estimates that about 50 percent to 75 percent of Good's customers that want to create custom applications will use its consulting services. Earlier this month, Good said that more than 750 companies have signed up for its software and service.

Jason Tsai, a research analyst with ThinkEquity, was skeptical of Good's new consulting services business and speculated that it was an effort to pull customer's into Good's technology universe.

"Bigger companies such as (Electronic Data Systems), IBM, (Hewlett-Packard) and Accenture tried to make a business out of consulting for wireless, and their efforts never came to fruition," Tsai said. "Wireless consulting is low on the priority list of (information technology) managers right now, and I don't think this will help them make a sale."

Tsai added that wireless consulting was a popular idea three years ago, but when the economy started to slow, interest evaporated.