Mobile Enterprise Apps New Opportunity for the Channel

The channel has an opportunity to make inroads in the burgeoning enterprise mobile applications market, as vendors build one-size-fits-all apps that need customizing for their end user customers, according to Frost & Sullivan.

An opportunity definitely exists in the mobile workforce office,” said Jeanine Sterling, senior industry analyst, Mobile & Wireless Communications at Frost & Sullivan. The majority of companies are already convinced of the business value.”

The mobile applications space is ripe in the enterprise sector, with Frost & Sullivan forecasting a $10.9 billion market by 2015 in just four application categories mobile office, mobile workforce management, mobile field asset management and mobile sales force automation. And as more vendors jump into the fray, more applications will require customization, which spells opportunity for the channel.

In its recent report, Premium Mobile Enterprise Applications -Whats Working in North America?” Frost & Sullivan surveyed 300 mobile and wireless purchase decision makers and found that the majority of respondents are already convinced of the business value of enterprise mobile applications. In fact, 30 percent to 50 percent said they believe the technology is very necessary,” and 40 percent to 60 percent are already implementing enterprise mobile apps. There is definitely a value perceived, implementation going on, and a high rate of satisfaction among users. Think there is a lot of opportunity in this space,” Sterling said.

For those companies that already have started implementing enterprise mobile apps, about 20 percent to 25 percent used an outside party for their customization or integration, she said. But when we went back to our sample and asked what were the barriers to purchase, the big factor was anticipated cost. And part of that was customization or integration expense,” Sterling added.

As more applications are developed, however, more apps will need customization and/or integration and those services can be big areas of potential for the channel. ISVs in particular and their smaller counterparts have built-in customer bases that need to be mobilized,” she said. They are showing they are very interested in this space and partnering with or buying mobile platform vendors. Systems integrators a year ago were trying to figure out how to make money in this space, and now they are starting to figure it out. The focus now among application and platform vendors is to minimize customization required for customers.”

Until that occurs, however, customers looking to utilize mobile enterprise applications will need help from the channel to custom fit the apps into their business models.

For the channel, its a matter of them getting in there and getting familiar with this space,” Sterling noted. A lot of the opportunity is actually just good old-fashioned marketing figuring out who the high potential targets are and why they arent jumping into this space just yet.

The most difficult part may be getting those customers to understand over the long run there is an ROI,” she added.

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