This week IDC announced that smartphone shipments grew 39.9% year-over-year (261.1 million), while Gartner reported that combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.32 billion units in 2013 (which works out to one device per three people in the world, on an annual basis). Then there’s the new fun fact from Gartner that by 2017 your smartphone will be smarter than you, with the ability to predict a consumer’s next move, their next purchase or interpret actions based on what it knows.
That’s devices and people, but let’s not forget applications. Gartner predicts mobile app store downloads will reach 102 billion in 2013, up from 64 billion in 2012. While free apps will account for 91% of these downloads, in-app purchases (IAPs) will account for 48%t of app store revenue by 2017, up from 11% in 2012.
So it’s no wonder that mobile device – and application – management is drawing increasing attention from businesses. “We look at mobility as helping a business organization change the dynamics of customer engagement,” said Sam Ganga, EVP, Commercial Division, Digital Management, Inc., a major provider of mobile enterprise solutions and services. “Fundamentally mobility has to drive business outcomes… loyalty… brand… efficiency… and also manage my risk, risk of losing data,” he said.
Ganga said DMI is probably the largest pure-play mobility player out there with 1,500 plus mobile sites and apps, and more than 500,000 devices under management. The company got a little bigger last month when it completed the acquisition of Golden Gekko, a designer of enterprise mobile application solutions.
There is no shortage of competitors looking to carve out a bigger slice of an enterprise mobile market which is facing more than its share of problems. “More than ever, companies are facing a hugely dangerous mismatch between their existing IT architectures and services and the business need for innovation in the modern digital economy,” stated Yankee Group Principal Analyst Chris Marsh in a recent brief. “Under pressure to re-envision their processes as mobile and cloud enabled, the majority of companies are being held back by legacy services, infrastructure, protocols, standards and thinking.”
Last month Dell announced a number of new mobility offerings, adding Windows 8.1 to its Google Android and Apple iOS focus. Both IBM and SAP have made major commitments to addressing mobility, app development and management. It’s a major focus for HP Software, as well as for CA Technologies. In reality, the challenge is trying to find an IT vendor that isn’t involved with some aspect of mobility. Despite the Yankee Group brief, it’s not all doom and gloom from a customer perspective, said Ganga. We’re seeing that some of the organizations that are more mature have established that mobility is here to stay. “Now it’s about how do I get this to be a more systemic approach across all of my systems…”
DMI is seeing the same things most other vendors and analysts are reporting, that organizations must balance the need to turn out applications that customers, partners and staff demand quickly while ensuring that they won’t cause more problems than challenges, including those of security and governance. “The world of mobility is all about speed.”
If a large company deploys multiple apps, such as 50 apps a year, the end user expects that there will be at least 4 or 5 updates per year, which will mean that there is 250 updates per year, he said. “It is difficult to manage all these apps and required updates.”
This is putting increasing pressure on IT, and making the use of external service providers more attractive, said Ganga. “Once you get to a point where people are lining up and asking for apps… and quick releases… in-house can’t deal with that request for speed;. Just like the introduction of any new technology, service organizations initially tend to become experts in it. We certainly see a lot of companies coming to us with that enterprise view…”