Tieto Diversifies as More Companies Jump on the App Bandwagon

Just before Christmas we spoke to some of Tieto’s Telecoms and Media group for an update on their mobile strategy. We found them emerging successfully from a transition year. Tieto is an IT services company of around 16,000 people, of which 6,000 are in the Telecoms and Media group. In the past, the focus for mobile devices has been on providing outsourced development work to Nokia, Sony Ericsson and ST Ericsson, while the group’s main clients in the infrastructure area have been Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. These two areas have accounted for two-thirds of employees, with the rest working on projects for operators and media companies.

Within mobile devices Tieto has worked on all software areas from the radio stack up to applications. The aim of its current strategy is to become what it terms an “OS powerhouse”, with special focus on open platforms. The main change during the year has been to expand the focus on Linux-based mobile platforms, to tap into the high growth of this area and the applications that go with it. The main effort has gone into building up Android capabilities, but Tieto is also supporting LiMo, which is closely related at the deeper levels. The existing expertise in Symbian has also been strengthened, with particular emphasis going into working with Qt as a development system to allow applications to be ported across operating systems.

Outside the handset, Tieto has been involved in areas that strengthen what it can offer telecom companies and network operators. Examples include work on the Symbian SDK for China Mobile’s recently launched application store; some parts of Ovi; the handset client and back-end for an active idle screen for a Nordic operator; widgets, an advertising system and a service portal for a consumer electronics company; and the design and integration of back-end systems to provide Finnish broadcaster YLE with an internet TV service like the BBC iPlayer. The key themes here are interactive consumer services, targeted advertising and user intelligence.

In our view, these moves position Tieto nicely to build up a broader base of clients across equipment suppliers, network operators, media companies and others. All these potential clients will be considering how to expand their presence in the mobile market now that the means of getting applications into users’ phones in large numbers is better understood. The next key goal for Tieto, of course, will be to announce some major new client wins.