This is the second installment of a two-part article on TiECon2012 Mobile sessions. The first article covered mobile operators, emerging trends, applications and opportunities
The focus of this article is mobile enterprise deployment status, directions, critical issues and corporate apps. We’ll also briefly revisit monetization of mobile apps and highlight the significance of social/mobile gaming.
2. Mobile Panel #2 -Mobile IT and Best Practices for Mobile Enterprise Deployments
Abstract: The enterprise mobility market is predicted to reach $36B by 2015. The proliferation of mobile devices and the demand for apps are making mobile device and app management a core part of network operations within the enterprise. Successful companies will see enterprise mobility become the foundation for real business transformation. The complex requirements of enterprise mobility is leading to the birth of a new profession, Mobile IT, which is being chartered with driving this business transformation.
This session examined key aspects that enterprises need to evaluate in their mobile deployments as well as the opportunities for entrepreneurs in this space.
- Chenxi Wang, Vice President & Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
- Rajiv Taori: Founder & CEO at MobileOps
- Ojas Rege, Vice President, MobileIron
- Salil Jain, Global Vice President, Mobile Center of Excellence, SAP
- Juan-José de Juan, Head, Enterprise Innovation, Vodafone Global Enterprise
Several panelists made position statements related to the mobile enterprise:
- Juan-José de Juan (JJ) kicked off the discussion by stating that mobility has become a key driver for enterprise innovation. Many businesses, all over the world, have started to create their own enterprise mobility apps and services.
- Salil Jain opined that comprehensive solutions were becoming available for the mobile enterprise, which Vodafone sees as a core growth area for years to come.
- Ojas Rege said that significant change was taking place and that “the mobile enterprise would continue to grow dramatically.” Business customers are organizing themselves around mobile centers of excellence, especially with respect to security.
Moderator Chenxi Wang stated that, “BYOD (bring your own device) and “mobilizing the enterprise” are hot topics. Anytime, anywhere access to information empowers employees.” What’s going on in this space?
- JJ responded that the challenges to companies came when employees started bringing iPhones and iPads to work. Emergency plans to deal with BYOD had to be formulated by enterprises (for company security, separation of work and personal use, monitoring the enterprise WiFi network, etc). The key issue to ask is “How can mobility benefit your company?”
- Salil said SAP has one of the biggest mobile enterprise deployments in the world, with over 20K iPads, 13K iPhones and thousands of RIM Blackberry’s. He said that mobile is enabling SAP employees to be more productive at work.
Chenxi next asked, “What are the kinds of mobile enterprise apps that make sense?”
At first, no one attempted to answer this question. Perhaps, because it’s too early to know. Later, the panelists were asked to reconsider this issue in light of the tremendous revenue growth forecast for mobile enterprise apps in coming years. They considered internal productivity apps as well as sales apps.
- Ojas believes that enterprise mobility has been redefined by the transition away from Blackberry’s to iPhones and Android based smart phones. This will usher in a whole new set of vertical industry apps (TBD) that can run on the new smart phones and media tablets.
- JJ later said that “the simplest apps would be most pervasive in the mobile enterprise.”
- Salil suggested workflow, travel approval, and leave requests (vacation or leave of absence) along with mobile CRM.
- Rajiv likes mobile extensions of back office apps, e.g. “mobile post it notes.” He also proposed the conversion of enterprise desktop apps to run on mobile devices (that would likely take a complete software rewrite to run on the very different mobile OSs/software platforms).
- Salil said that once there are 15-20 enterprise apps for a specific company, the set becomes difficult to manage and keep track of. He suggested companies consider integrating selected enterprise apps into a “framework of apps” for easier management and user selection.
Chenxi observed that the fragmented mobility market (with different mobile OS’s/platforms) is a big challenge for enterprises. Does the BYOD movement increase cost for companies?
- Rajiv Taori responded that BYOB is about user satisfaction. The cost impact isn’t clear and won’t be for six to eight moths into an enterprised approved BYOD program.
- Ojas opined that “extended refresh rates will have the biggest impact on (corporate) costs.” By this he meant the replacement cycle for smart phones/ tablets, which is now about 1 year vs 3 to 5 years for notebook PCs.
- Ojas clarified this last comment in an email after TiECon: “Employees will want a new phone/tablet every 18 months – it’s fashion, it’s consumer speed (vs. what IT is used to which is replace user equipment every 3-5 years). If it’s BYOD, then the company doesn’t bear that cost (and that’s the key cost savings). If it’s not BYOD, then the company has two options:
a] Buy new devices every 12-18 months for the employee –>really expensive!
b] Don’t buy new devices –> UNHAPPY users
So BYOD might save some unexpected corporate costs over the long term plus keep users happy.”
- Salil was quite definitive: “Most global companies are not prepared to effectively support BYOD.” It’s mostly a North American phenomenon, he added.
- JJ chimed in by saying that BYOD will bring rigidity to the enterprise, rather than flexibility.
- Ojas added his two cents: “User experience will be the key to success of BYOD. Privacy safeguards are essential (so that employees personal information is not compromised).”
This brought up a huge concern: the separation of personal from corporate data, especially the leakage of corporate information to employee’s personal mobile devices. How can personal and corporate data be separated?
- Ojas suggested that be done by a software layer above the OS, but below the mobile app layer. This is because he thinks most enterprises will have multiple mobile platforms (Apple’s iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, etc).
- Salil suggested personal/corporate data separation (accessed on BYODs) be done by each mobile application program. (But what about all the personal apps that employees might be running on their smart phones while at work? Are those all to be retrofitted too- good luck!)
Author’s Note: A BYOD survey conducted by Heavy Reading and sponsored by AMDOCS concluded that operators have a role to play in making BYOD more effective for corporate customers. “BYOD has been gaining momentum as consumers want to bring their favorite smartphones and tablets to work, and with enterprises anticipating benefits such as increased productivity and employee satisfaction, we surely expect this trend to continue to grow,” said Ari Banerjee, senior analyst at Heavy Reading. “But BYOD creates new complexities for both the enterprise and the service provider who must support features such as device care, bill split, security, shared loyalty and data plans and differentiated quality of service. If service providers can overcome the technological challenges of providing these features, the enhanced customer experience will lead to huge gains in customer satisfaction and loyalty.”
Chenxi raised the notion of a “personal cloud” that’s accessable on mobile devices. With companies like Dropbox providing file sharing, she said that “the personal cloud is invading the enterprise.”
There are a lot of interesting possibilities when employees move files at work. However, there’s a huge security risk with sharing/uploading files stored in a personal cloud. Box.net and Dropbox were cited as two leaders in personal cloud storage. Private cloud providers might also be considered, she added.
Regarding the protection of mobile content while at work, Chenxi said that “DRM (Digital Rights Management) never really took off.”
Chenxi asked, “What’s the trend for (big data) analytics on mobile devices?” The reporting of analyics results could be shown as a dashboard on a mobile device, Chenxi suggested. (Of course, screen size will be a factor in what can be displayed.)
- Salil suggested uses of analytics in the mobile enterprise included: forecasting, context and location based procurement, and supply chain management. Data from mobile users would be collected by the corporation for these purposes, he added.
Chenxi asked, “Are enterprises building HTML5 (web based) or native apps (running directly on the mobile device) for their employees’ mobile devices?” (As reported in the part I article, the equivalent question was asked in the first Mobile Panel Session without any definitive answers).
- A more fundamental question is what’s the user experience to drive mass adoption of a given set of mobile enterprise apps? The answer may determine whether HTML5 or native apps are developed for the mobile enterprise market.
- Ojas said that native app development dominates the mobile enterprise now. But HTML5 will progress such that the two mechanisms will continue on a parallel track for atleast awhile longer.
The final question from the moderator was: “What are the implications of heavy mobile data users in the enterprise?” What might need to be upgraded or enhanced?
Panelists cited three areas for corporate concern here:
- Network infrastructure must be able to support heavy mobile data traffic (assuming it’s for company business and not personal use).
- Back end data management (e.g. CRM and ERP).
- Security (always of paramount importance to companies and employees.
3. Mobile Panel #3 – How should you distribute and monetize your mobile app?
As this topic was already covered in the TiECon2012 Mobile- Part I article, we only include the session abstract here for completeness.
Abstract: With the explosive growth in Apple’s iOs App Store and the Android Marketplace close to a BILLONS “Apps” are now available for download. How does a developer or a publisher of these “Apps” get discovered and more importantly make MONEY? This panel discussed how developers are monetizating their Apps in new ways, working to leverage the platforms, integrating with various social networks and exploiting various advertising/ marketing techniques.
4. Panel on Social Gaming: The Next Frontier?
This panel was in the TiECon Social track, but its focus was on the future of mobile gaming. Note that most on-line games are now played on mobile devices due to the proliferation of smart phones and tablets in recent years.
Karl Mehta, Founder and CEO of Playspan (VISA) said, “The current crop of social games is very elementary, shallow, light weight games. The high quality, deep rooted games to attract serious gamers are yet to come.”
Rick Thompson, an investor and entrepreneur with Signia Capital opined that “mobile is the new frontier for social gaming and an important part of our investment strategy,” added.
AJW Comment: We had heard at a WCA hosted VC panel on the wireless industry, that mobile gaming was hot.
Never having played a game on a mobile device (or any computer for that matter), this author was somewhat surprised. But nonetheless, mobile gaming is a very healthy business.
Revenues for mobile gaming are expected to skyrocket from $5 billion to $16 billion in 2016 according to ABI research.
The number of U.S. mobile gamers has increased from 75 million to 101 million, according to Newzoo (a market research firm focused purely on the gaming industry). Out of those 101 million gamers, 69 percent play on smartphones and 21 percent on tablets. The mobile gaming market has seen a large increase in the conversion of “non-paying” players to “paying” players. The total number of paying players is the U.S. is now 37 million. The growing number of paying players shows excellent revenue growth potential for mobile gaming companies.