Mobility, App-as-a-Service Driving New Wave Of Innovation

The latest numbers reinforce the new anywhere, any time, anything mobile reality that is transforming the business world. This week IDC reported that worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to surpass 1 billion units in 2013, representing 39.3% growth over 2012. By 2017, total smartphone shipments are expected to approach 1.7 billion units, resulting in a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.4% from 2013 to 2017.

Gartner stated that smartphones accounted for 55% of overall mobile phone sales in the third quarter, and mobile phone sales are on pace to reach 1.81 billion units this year, a 3.4% increase from 2012. According to Flurry Analytics, the worldwide connected device installed base was 1.045 billion units.

Throw in the fact that an estimated 70 billion mobile apps are expected to be downloaded in 2013, and it’s easy to understand why there is a growing “develop for mobile first” movement. Another new Gartner report states that bring your own device is an applications strategy, not just a purchasing policy.

“Designing your applications to meet the demands of BYOD is not the same as setting usage policies or having strategic sourcing plans that mandate a particular platform,” said Darryl Carlton, research director at Gartner. “The community of users has expanded to include suppliers, customers, employees and a very broad range of stakeholders. “We are no longer developing applications for deployment to an exclusive user base over which we exert standards and control.”

Another new survey, from Citrix, has identified mobility as a top priority for the enterprise. Most (71%) believe mobility is a top priority, but 63% believe it to be the greatest factor in helping their organization gain a competitive advantage. Of the organizations surveyed, approximately half have implemented technologies to support mobile devices, with 48% using mobile device management (MDM) and 47% using mobile application management (MAM).

Back in September IBM and SAP provided their viewpoints on what is driving mobility and development. Now SAP (Tony Kueh, VP of Global Product Development, SAP Mobile Solutions) is back, this time with HP (Genefa Murphy, Director, Mobile Product Management, Analytics and User Experience, HP Software), to provide some thoughts on how this trend is continuing to reshape enterprises.

Mobility is driving substantial change, said Kueh. “It is wildly obvious to us: enterprises are going through a period of renewed innovation. They’re doing it in a way that also aligns with the overall architectural strategy, which is a sense of openness, to establish a foundation that they could be free of control of a single vendor.”

If mobility is changing everything, then taking advantage of these changes is driving mobile app development, said Murphy, with “enterprises building applications for competitive differentiation”. HP has been working with IDC to develop a mobile maturity model, and one finding is that 80% of apps being developed are Web apps.

However it’s still early days, she said, as organizations ramp up to deal with both B2C (business to consumer) and B2E (business to employee). A lot of customers are still still trying to figure it out, with out including scale, security, federated identity and access management, said Murphy.

“Increasingly every customer is thinking cloud first, or why not cloud,” said Kueh. This attitude – “they’re used to cutting a check for monthly services” – makes the concept of application development as a service more attractive.

Murphy agreed that app development as a service is gathering momentum. “Because in mobile seeing is believing, customers are starting to look for quicker ways to develop, build and deploy an application,” she said. Customers roll out apps quickly and get feedback from customers, both manually and automatically, and then make changes based on that feedback, she added.

AaaS (application as a service), ADaaS (application development as a service) or whatever you want to cal it, is nothing new to Digital Management, Inc., a provider of mobile enterprise solutions and services, which believes 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, it said.

Kueh is not as convinced about the need for speed. “While it may feel like there’s a lot of rapid development, what I’m seeing is applications are getting more sophisticated.”

There was interest in more frequent updates but now we’re only seeing 3-4 releases a year, he said. The other aspect in regards to the app store he noted is it’s no longer about how many apps you have, but which apps you have.

“We’re starting to see stickiness around specific ecosystems or brands that make the number irrelevant. It’s around what, rather than how many.”

Regardless of how many, or how fast, securing the apps is becoming more important, said Murphy. “We can now focus on things that in the first incarnation of mobility were ignored, like security”.

In addition to security, there is more focus on quality and performance. If it doesn’t have performance, it’s very easy for users to go find another application, she said.

Going forward, HP will focus more closely on security, “building security capabilities into our platform so that it is seamless to the end user”, she said. Murphy also expects to see more offerings in AaaS in the next few months.

SAP believes it is years ahead in delivering a consumer-like experience in the enterprise space, said Kueh. For the future the company will continue to reach out to developers with its open strategy, and focus on delivering an “extremely fast” time to value.


Author: Steve Wexler

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