Is the Indian Enterprise Market ready for Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADP)?

Much of the technology analyst mind space in the recent past has been devoted towards the emergence of mobile technologies and its impact on the enterprise technology landscape. Rapid consumerization of these technologies has had a pervasive effect on the enterprises’ way of functioning and these have led to significant changes in the enterprise technology eco-system. From a technology vendors’ standpoint, it has also led to the advent of three key and very distinct mobile technology categories:

The Backbone: Infrastructure providers viz., Wireless technologies (2G, 3G, 4G), Devices (Feature phones, Smartphones, Tablets), High Speed Networks (Fiber link), Telecom services providers, ISVs etc.

The Enrichers: Applications that enrich the infrastructure viz., Operating Systems (iOS, Android, Windows, BB, Tizen), User Experience (UI/UX Technologies), Enterprise mobile applications and platforms (MADPs, IDEs), Security solutions, Integrators (Channel to backend integrations)

The Managers: Device managers, Security managers (Identity, Policies), Mobile application managers, Enterprise mobility management (EMM)

All of the aforementioned technology categories need to co-exist and interact seamlessly to create an effective mobile eco-system. And only this would enable enterprises to truly reap the benefits that a mobility driven business-model can deliver.

However, different markets are at different points in the mobility curve. Maturity levels and adoption of these technologies have also greatly varied across industries within a country or geography. So, the strategies that vendors in each of these categories could follow would drastically differ for each market as well as for a given industry.

The Indian Context

Amongst all major mobile markets in the world, growth of the Indian mobile market is amongst the fastest. And with significant near-to-long term upswings expected in the GDP growth rate, it is but prudent but to expect India to be a key driver of growth of technology vendors in this space.

But are Indian enterprises ready? In this context, analyzing the Indian enterprise mobility market would be an interesting case in point.

  • With respect to the backbone, significant progress on the infrastructure front has been made in the last decade. Recent budgetary allocations and policy focus towards broadband penetration, hardware manufacturing and setting up of a digital economy will further this advancement. Enterprise customers across industries will keep embracing these technologies for services such as IP telephony, meetings & conferences, customer outreach programs etc. So there is significant growth potential in the telecom and telecom services sector in the Indian market.
  • A good way to analyze the growth of the other two technology categories (viz. mobile applications and mobility management tools) could be to get a few answers to the following questions:
    • Have enterprises really started to think of mobile usage beyond emails and calendars for their office activities?
    • Have office concepts such as BYOD, Anytime-Anywhere-Secured access, mobile-based collaboration etc. become mainstream?
    • Has mobile technology investment strategies transitioned from an “opportunity to address or market-forced” phase to a “mobile-only or mobile-first” phase?

The answers to all of the above questions, point to the fact that Indian enterprises are yet to understand the value that mobile applications could bring in and hence have not fully realized the importance of,

  • Having a platform approach to enterprise mobile app development or
  • Having an enterprise wide strategy and management tool for mobile application management, security configurations and devices management.

Hence, there has been a slow growth in this sector till date, but one that is surely expected to grow up (as shown below)



MADP and EMMs: The Indian market, still in Phase A but looking upwards!!!

Phase A: A critical mass within the target customer segment expecting to go beyond mails & calendaring and do business and other jobs using mobile devices is achieved

Phase B: A critical mass within the target customer segment realizing the need for mobility platforms (MADPs) & management solutions is achieved

Phase C: A critical mass within the target customer segment realizing the need for an enterprise mobility management suite is achievedThe Vendor Context

Given the current market context, vendors in each of the above mobile technology categories, especially in the applications and management space, need to tread a very careful path.

A few possible strategies that ‘the enrichers’ and ‘the managers’ could follow include,

  • Structure an Apps-as-a-Service (AaaS) Model; this can be used as a starting point for creating the initial know-how and industry appreciation
  • Need for a constant ‘educate’ & ‘engage’ phase about the mobile way of doing business; use marketing events and sessions, possibly through a partnership mode across categories so that economies of scale advantages are not lost out
  • Create a well-defined and well-coordinated sales & marketing ecosystem within their organization
  • Follow a more consultative selling approach, hence expect direct selling to be higher (as a percentage of gross sales) compared to channel sales
  • Expect volume play, i.e. initial average ticket size would be low, hence a very strong sales operations team needs to be in place
  • Sell specific products such as Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP), Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management (MAM) etc., and specific solutions required for the industry rather than end-to-end EMM and other mobility suites
  • Services component will be high (as a percentage of gross sales) as customers will expect hand-holding
  • Follow an alliances strategy (or acquisitions/ partnership/ M&A model) for creating an eco-system across the three technology categories

The conclusion:

Mobile as a technology tool is bound to restructure the way Indian enterprises function and compete in the market. However, there is a long way to go before organizations in India truly realize the benefits that a mobile driven economy could provide.

Incredible India: The story is yet to play out…