Showing posts with label app store. Show all posts
Showing posts with label app store. Show all posts

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kony Executive Burley Kawasaki on Best Tips for Attaining Speed in Mobile Apps Delivery

A BriefingsDirect interview on the growing need for mobile apps and Kony's newly announced tools to help the line of business go mobile.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Kony, Inc.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect interview, coming to you from the Kony World 2015 Conference on Feb. 4 in Orlando.

I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout this series of penetrating discussions on the latest in enterprise mobility. We're here to explore advancements in applications design and deployment technologies across the full spectrum of edge devices and operating environments.

For our next interview we welcome Burley Kawasaki, Senior Vice President of Products at Kony.

Burley Kawasaki: Hi, thanks, Dana. Glad to be here. It has been an exciting week. There are lots of great customer discussions and partner discussions going on.

Gardner: Before we explore the Kony World news, what's going on in the enterprise mobility marketplace? What are enterprises looking for in their mobility strategy?

Kawasaki: Obviously, mobility has proven that it’s not just a passing fad. It's really evolved over the last four or five-plus years. Initially, most companies were just trying to get one or two apps out in the public app store.

Many started with some type of branded consumer apps, what are called business-to-consumer (B2C) applications, and they were willing to make the investments to make it have a fantastic user experience. They would try to make this a way for customers to experience and engage the brand. A lot of times you saw this being built and launched by the marketing organization inside an enterprise.

Now, what we're seeing is a shift. As people are looking for the next set of ways to exploit mobility, they're looking internal, inside their enterprise. They're looking at what I refer to as or business-to-employee (B2E) applications.

But instead of one or two apps, there are literally dozens or hundreds of mobilized processes and applications that most larger enterprises are looking to build as they start looking at all the internal processes. It could be mobilizing sales or employees, looking at support out in the field with field technicians, or providing self-service access to vacation requests.

There are a number of challenges this creates. One is lack of skills. If you're building one or two, you can probably muster the technical expertise or you can outsource and hire an agency or someone to build it. If you're looking to supply dozens -- some larger enterprises are looking at hundreds of internal-facing mobile apps -- that really highlights the imbalance between the demand from the business stakeholders and the supply of IT skills, resources, and technical talent.

Gardner: So, it's important in the marketplace for enterprises to recognize that this is a problem, this gaping hole between what is demanded in terms of mobile apps and development and what they can deliver. How are Kony and others in your ecosystem, your solution partnerships, coming together to allow them to leap that hurdle?

Build applications quickly

Kawasaki: Kony, since day one, has focused on how to drive faster and faster acceleration of the full development process. That's part of our core value proposition of rapidly delivering great mobile apps by providing tools and platforms to help build applications more quickly.

When we talk about building anything custom, there is a certain amount of time, typically three to six months that you spend, not just for the development, but to map out the requirements to do all the testing and final deployment. And with any custom software development, you can only compress it so far, and there's a certain amount of skills and expertise that you need.

To answer your question, we think that there needs to be other types of models for ultimately creating these internal mobile applications. The trend that you're starting to see, and that we believe is really going to take off, is a move away from custom, bespoke development of each and every app, to much more of an assembly and configuration model.

If you look at building a home, for example, there was a time where you had to custom build all of the parts to your home. You would go out, cut down the trees, and do everything from scratch, but that was a hugely inefficient process.

Now, essentially, homes are componentized. You can find standard sizes lumber parts. Large parts of your home may be prefabricated and it's just a matter of assembling and configuring them to meet your needs.
Many industries have realized the benefits of moving to assembly and configuration, as opposed to custom built.

We've seen the same assembly across a number of industries, like the auto industry. Many industries have realized the benefits of moving to assembly and configuration, as opposed to custom built.

We're seeing this in software as well. There was a day where everyone used to build their own enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or their own sales automation system. Now, people have moved to the configuration of packaged software. Mobile applications are now at the tipping point where they need to have a different way that will address the explosion in demand that I was describing.

There are a couple of things that we think are required to create this new model. One is that you need to have an ecosystem that provides pre-built components. Obviously, you can't assemble things if there is nothing to assemble from. So there needs to be an ecosystem of components.

Then, there needs to be some type of tooling that allows you to assemble the components without having to be a developer, but more of a visual drag and drop type of composition experience.

And then once you have done that, it can't just be a pretty picture. It needs to actually somehow run and make its way down to your phone or to your device. So there has to be some type of execution or dynamic run capability behind the description of what you have created.

Those are the three requirements. Of course, we have just announced this week some software that addresses each of those categories.

Major announcements

Gardner: Well, let's delve into them a little bit. There were three major announcements around your Marketplace, your Modeler, and also an example of how these come together in your first prepackaged application called the Kony Sales App.

Kawasaki: I'll talk about each of these. I'll start with the Marketplace. As I said, to make this practical and useful for our customers, we need to be able to create a way to find and discover pre-built components. Some of these components Kony may build ourselves, but we're also working with a number of very talented leading edge partners of ours -- independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators (SI’s), who are also contributing prebuilt components.

This week, Feb. 4, we launched Marketplace. If you go out to, you can browse. We're adding partners on an ongoing basis, but you'll see some of the early solutions that are available in the Marketplace. That’s the first part of the announcement.

The second piece is around how to assemble these into an actual application, a new product called Kony Modeler. Unlike some of our prior products, our developer tools, these do not require development backgrounds.

The typical profile of a user of Kony Modeler would be either a business analyst or someone closer to the business who knows how to drag and drop, to define what the end-user experience should be for your mobile app, knows how to describe the process or the workflow that has to occur, knows how to take those forms that they've painted, and be able to map it to some backend business data, coming from a system like SAP or Salesforce.
Unlike some of our prior products, our developer tools, these do not require development backgrounds.

As long as you can do that, you don’t have to be a developer and drop into code. You can describe this visually. You can drag and drop. Then, when you're done, the important thing is that it’s not just a picture that you print out and you throw over the wall to your developer. This description of your application then gets pushed out instantaneously to our cloud run time.

We've extended our backend-as-a-service, what we call Kony MobileFabric, so that it takes this model, this description of the mobile app, and will download it to your device and run it. Then, the next time as an end-user, if you are using one of these apps, you just automatically get whatever changes or updates have been made. You don’t have to go out to an app store and find a new app. It just automatically is part of your app.

As an analogy, in the same way if I use any software-as-a-service (SaaS) software, I won't have to install a new app on my laptop. I just go out to my web browser, and next time I log in, it's always up-to-date.

Gardner: It sounds as if this has some of the greater elements of platform-as-a-service (PaaS), but the tooling is designed for that business-analyst level. It also gives you some of those benefits of rapid iterations. You can change and adjust. You can customize to different types of user within the group that you're targeting. And all of this, I assume, is at also low cost, given that it's a SaaS based approach. Tell us a little bit about why this is like PaaS, but PaaS-plus.

Non-developer experience

Kawasaki: PaaS typically has been targeted primarily toward developers. And it’s maybe a higher level productivity for developers, but you still have to write code against software development kits (SDKs) or other application programming interfaces (APIs). Kony Modeler provides a non-developer experience.

The other big thing, and you pointed it out, is that it really does lower all of the infrastructure, hardware, and software costs that are required, because it’s purely cloud-based. It makes it not only lower cost from a total cost of ownership (TCO) standpoint, but it also accelerates the whole development cycle.

I think about this as a shift away from a classic waterfall-type model, to much more of an agile model. In the old model, you spend three to six months trying to go through and nail the requirements and hand it off to your dev team. Then, they go off, and you find out, only when it's in final QA, that it doesn't look right on the device, or it comes back and the business has changed their mind. That never happens, right?
It makes it not only lower cost from a total cost of ownership (TCO) standpoint, but it also accelerates the whole development cycle.

Modeler allows you to very quickly iterate a working application to release in a matter of days and be able to do testing with your end-users. Based on their feedback, I can make updates on an agile basis and continuously iterate on functionality or enhancements to the application.

Gardner: Burley, it also sounds like you're able to bring A/B testing type activities to a different class of user, where you don't always know what your requirements are precisely, but you can throw things on the wall, try them out, see what works, and iterate on that. I don’t recall too much of that capability being available to a business analyst type of user.

Kawasaki: You're correct. Usually, there is this very extended process, where a business analyst has to document everything in some thick specification, and even if you have it wrong or you are uncertain, whatever you communicate out to the dev team is what they go off and build.

So it’s not that this does away with requirements, but it does allow more flexibility to change or to test. And I'd agree. I think the responsiveness will allow much more experimentation and innovation. It's better to fail fast. If you have tried something out and it's not delivering the results, you haven't invested a huge amount of time and cost to learn that.

Gardner: And another appealing aspect of this for IT and operations is that this isn't shadow IT. This is under the auspices of IT. They can bring in governance. They can audit as necessary and make sure the right backend sources are being accessed in the right way, with the right privilege and access controls. They can monitor security. We talked about how it's better than PaaS, but it's also better than shadow IT for a lot of reasons.

Lack of skills

Kawasaki: It is. We were talking earlier about the skills shortage, and if you look at the stats or the data, most industry analysts predict that up to 60 percent or 70 percent or more of mobile development is outsourced today, to either an interactive agency, a systems integrator, or someone else, because of lack of skills.

So it has been outsourced to some third party, and who knows what technologies they are using to build the app. It's outside the typical controls or governance of IT. So it's not only shadow; it's dark matter. You don't even know it exists; it’s completely hidden.

Yet, at some point, inevitably, those apps that you may have outsourced for your first version, it’s not just a first version release. You want to update it sometimes monthly. So it has to come back into IT at some point, for no other reason than it's connecting and talking to enterprise data in the back end. It's connecting to other IT controlled systems, and so there is a huge amount of risk and costs associated if these things are completely hidden off the grid.

Gardner: Let's take this from the abstract to the concrete. We actually have an application now in play called the Kony Sales App. Who is that targeted to, how does it work, and what do you expect to be some of the proof point metrics of this in usage compared to how organizations conduct themselves with customer relationship management (CRM), especially if there is multiple CRMs in play in an organization?

Kawasaki: That's a great point. First of all, this is the first of a series of what we call ready-to-run applications. And the reason we call it ready-to-run is that it's a packaged app. This isn't a custom or bespoke app, but it's pre-connected and pre-integrated to the common back end, in case of CRM what most companies are using, something like Salesforce or SAP on the back end.
So we've taken a task-oriented approach and created a modular micro app approach that really is meant to be very easy and engaging for the end-user.

So it comes ready to run, but like packaged software or SaaS software, it allows you the ability to configure and customize it, because everyone’s sales processes or their user base is going to be different. That's where the Modeler tool allows you to configure it.

So when you purchase Kony Sales, you get not only the application, but the use of Kony Modeler to be able to customize and configure it. And then, as you make changes, you push it live, and again, it deploys using the SaaS model you were describing.

To talk a little bit more about Kony Sales, we think it's a new style of mobile apps, what I will refer to as a micro app. Historically, people thought of CRM software, and I am overgeneralizing, but as big, somewhat monolithic, applications.

One of the historical challenges with CRM usage is that you had to bring your laptop with you, and sales reps are notorious at not completing data in a timely fashion. It takes a lot of mandates, top-down from the sales leadership, to get data into the system so you can get accurate reporting. It's one of the age-old problems.

We believe that if instead of trying to get the whole CRM application crammed down onto a four-inch screen, with all the complexity that it requires, you target very specific action-oriented micro apps that a sales rep can do very quickly on the go, that doesn't take a lot of training, and doesn't take a lot of thought. They can very quickly look up and see their accounts, or they can very quickly log a call they have made.

So we've taken a task-oriented approach and created a modular micro app approach that really is meant to be very easy and engaging for the end-user, which in this case is a sales rep.

User experience

Gardner: And again, for the understanding of how this all works across multiple endpoints, regardless of what your sales force is using for their mobile device, this is going to come down. They are going to get that user experience and that interface that the craftsmen behind the app demanded and designed.

Kawasaki: That's right. Kony Sales is multi-channel. It works across phones, tablets, iOS, Android, and importantly, it does not replace your existing CRM data. It extends the CRM systems you already have, but makes them much, much easier to very quickly get access to.

Also using Mobile First types of approaches, and by that I mean if you are a sales rep, very likely you are on the road or in an airplane. How many people have tried to use whatever CRM client, even some of the web mobile experiences, to get data into Salesforce or SAP? It's all web-based, HTML5-based, and it doesn’t work if you're not online.

One of the things we designed in from day one was that you have to be able to operate in an "occasionally connected" mode. So if you are offline, either because you're out in the field talking to your customer, or you're in an airplane you can still have the same easy access. Then, when you're connected again, it will synchronize and handle updating SAP or Salesforce in the background.

Gardner: We're almost out of time, but I wanted to look a little bit to the future roadmap. Now that we have the model of the Modeler, the Marketplace and these ready-to-run apps, what comes next -- more apps, bigger marketplace, or is there another technology shoe to drop?

Kawasaki: It's more apps certainly, and not just from Kony, but from our partners. When we did some of our initial planning and research, the most commonly mobilized processes were ones that were customer facing or customer impacting, just because of the benefits and the ROI.

So we started with sales. We're going to release our next one, which will be around field service. It really helps engage at the point that you're supporting and serving your customer.
It really helps engage at the point that you're supporting and serving your customer.

There are a set of these that we are working on, but I think also importantly, we're working on really making our partner ecosystem trained, ready to use Modeler, and to build very unique and differentiated applications to publish to the marketplace.

We have a couple of examples of these ready-to-run apps that are compelling from our partners that you will hear more about, and that list will continue to grow over the coming weeks and months.

Gardner: And of course there's a lot more information online at about these products and services that you've announced. And you are going to be taking this out on the road to Frankfurt, Europe, Dubai, and the Middle East quite soon.

Kawasaki: That's right. It's going to be fun getting to engage our global customer base and talk about some of the innovations and get their input on what types of apps they're trying to build.

Gardner: Well, very good. I'm afraid we'll have to leave it there. We've been learning more about how advancements in mobile applications’ design and deployment technologies are bringing new productivity benefits across the growing spectrum of edge devices and use cases. And we have seen how quality, speed, and value are rapidly increasing, thanks to the Kony mobility platform approach.

So a big thank you to our guest, Burley Kawasaki, Senior Vice President of Products at Kony. Thank you, sir.

Kawasaki: All right, thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And a big thank you also to our audience for joining this special podcast series coming to you directly from the Kony World 2015 Conference in Orlando.

I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout this series of Kony-sponsored BriefingsDirect IT mobility discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Kony, Inc. 

A BriefingsDirect interview on the growing need for mobile apps and Kony's newly announced tools to help the line of business go mobile. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2015. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Embarcadero Technologies' AppWave Modernizes PC Desktops with App Store Convenience

A sponsored podcast discussion of how enterprise app stores can bridge the gap between software development and improved PC software distribution and maintenance. Learn more about AppWave.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Get free AppWave download. Sponsor: Embarcadero Technologies.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on the productivity gap between modern software and the aging manner in which most enterprises still distribute and manage applications on personal computers.

At a time when business models and whole industries are being upended by improved use of software, we're also seeing mobility, cloud services, and data analytics. IT providers inside of enterprises are still painstakingly provisioning and maintaining PC applications in much the same way they did in the 1990s.

Furthermore, with using these older models, most enterprises don’t even know what PC apps they have in use on their networks and even across thousands, in many cases, of notebook computers. That means they're also lacking that visibility into how, or even if, these apps are being used, and they may even be paying for licenses that they don’t need to pay for.

So while the software inventory and business service management initiatives are helping along these lines, there's a general lack of control over PC applications. I don’t think you can solve that without including new ways to engage the PC users directly. This is really a function about the use and the users, not just the applications and the PC.

To learn more about how things can be done better, I recently interviewed the President and CEO of Embarcadero Technologies, Wayne Williams, to examine the ongoing problems around archaic PC apps management and how new models -- taking a page from the popular app store model -- can rapidly boost the management of PC applications. [Disclosure: Embarcadero Technologies is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Wayne has more than 15 years of experience in founding and leading companies. He was appointed CEO of Embarcadero Technologies in 2007 and he is a former COO, Senior Vice President of Products and CTO at Embarcadero.

I want to welcome you to BriefingsDirect, Wayne. It’s good to have you with us.

Wayne Williams: Good morning. Thanks for having me, Dana.

Gardner: As I said, it’s kind of ironic that, on one hand, we have software taking over in a larger sense how businesses are run and how industries are being innovative in reaching customers in new ways. This has been highlighted recently by Marc Andreessen in some of his writings. At the same time, the corporate PC, also driven by software, is still sort of stodgy and moribund, at least in the perception of how it’s being used productively.

So let’s unpack this a little bit, Wayne. How is it that software is advancing generally, but PCs remain, in a sense, unchanged?

Williams: I've been asking myself that question for many years. I've spent most of my life in software, and I'm embarrassed to say that the industry has really done a poor job at making software available to the users, which is the fundamental issue.

Windows is clearly the dominant PC platform but it has fundamental design flaws, which sowed the seeds for the problem.

Part of the story

But that’s only a small part of the story. Software vendors are so focused on building the next great application and on features and functions in that application that they've lost sight of what really matters, which is making sure that the application that you build gets used, gets in the hands of the users, and that they get their work done.

When I look at the PC industry and where it has come, the applications themselves have improved dramatically. I can’t imagine being as productive as I am without Microsoft Outlook, for example, for email and calendaring. And Adobe Photoshop. I don’t think you can find a photo anywhere that has not been edited with Photoshop. It’s incredibly powerful.

But unfortunately, a lot of the gains that really could be made have been wasted, because it’s very, very tough to get an application from a vendor into a user's hands.

Gardner: It seems to me that while the technology is somewhat unchanged since the '90s, the users are a different breed nowadays. We have different behaviors and different levels of anticipation and expectation around what productivity is all about. We used to call these productivity apps, but now productivity comes from being able to innovate, self-start, even learn from your peers -- that social fabric type of an interplay.

Are these some of the core problems? We're at a dissonance between expectations and behaviors on one hand and the same old local area network (LAN) level of management on the other.

At the end of the day, all technology is about productivity. Software certainly is about productivity.

Williams: Absolutely. That’s a great point. At the end of the day, all technology is about productivity. Software certainly is about productivity. And if you're going to radically increase the productivity of a team, the knowledge that team can share about what tools are used for what job is critical knowledge. That’s why we’ve built in the ability to rate and review apps into AppWave. Team members can find the best tool for the job based on peer feedback.

Gardner: What about this as it applies to application development and deployment? I know that Embarcadero has been involved with that for an awfully long time. Is there something of a disconnect between development, gathering requirements, creating an application, and then the operations, thinking about operations through that adoption pattern, and user expectation and behaviors?

It seems as if we're still stuck in this era, where there's a wall between the two, but some of the activities that you have been up to strike me as trying to close that, or at least create a feedback loop, or a life cycle benefit, between apps, how they're developed, how they're used, and then how they are iterated on.

Williams: There are a few ways to look at it from a development perspective. One way is that software developers are probably the most aggressive in terms of the need for productivity, the most aggressive users of applications and tools and all the issues that surround that.

At the end of the day, software developers, whether at a garage start-up or one of the large software vendors, are passionate about solving a problem, creating software that solves a problem, and getting it into the hands of their users. That’s what really drives developers.

Important disconnect

he problem is that there's a disconnect between creating your software and getting it into the hands of the users. You very rarely are talking about this happening in seconds, which it should. It’s something that happens more on the order of months or quarters in a large company.

Gardner: I have to imagine that this contributes also to the security problems. So many organizations now are really doubling down on what they need to do for security, recognizing that it’s not something you buy out of a box, that it’s really part and parcel of process, methodology, standards, and governance.

There must be some benefits by closing this loop, as you pointed out, when it comes to bringing better security and then making automated changes that bring even better security on an ongoing basis.

Williams: There's a whole host of problems that emanate from the root problem, the root problem that we're talking about, and security is one of them.

You have an environment which is high-friction. It reminds me really of a state of manufacturing before the Industrial Revolution, where you had processes that were slow, expensive, unpredictable, and error-prone. That’s how PC software has operated over the last 20-plus years.

When you have an environment that is so high friction, users will go around it.

When you have an environment that is so high-friction, users will go around it. So you have this process with the PC, where IT tries to get more control and locks down the environment more, and the business users that need to get the work done find ways to get it done.

We have large customers that have a policy: When somebody is hired, all controls are turned off so that they can get their desktop together and get the apps that they need for the first three days. Then they'll lock it down. That’s not a good environment for security.

Gardner: That’s begging for trouble. You mentioned the core problem or the root problem. I wonder if you wouldn’t mind fleshing that out a bit for us. What do you think the real root problem is here?

Williams: The root problem is that software should move at the speed of light, yet it moves at the speed of a glacier.

Let me give you an example. In a mid- to large-sized company, if an employee is looking for a special pen for a new project, they can go to a catalog, take out a pen, and they can usually have it the next day, and that’s a physical good.

Software is virtual. So it could and should move at the speed of light, but for many of our large customers it takes quarters to get software into the user’s hand.

Looking for productivity

Gardner: So we've identified the problem internally. As I said, it's ironic, because when we look to the larger landscape of business, we're still in a tough economic situation around the globe. People are looking for productivity.

Marc Andreessen wrote recently that software is really revolutionizing how we procure things like entertainment and books and how we discover new products and services online. We can do this as a consumer. Doesn’t it seem almost absurd that, at a time when individuals using some of the tools that are available on a retail basis, are leaps and bounds ahead of someone who is just trying to get some basic work done in a large corporation?

Williams: Yes, you can take a fairly simple device like a smartphone from Apple or an Android device and find and run applications literally in seconds. Yet you have this sophisticated environment with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of software sold every year, powerful hardware and processing power, but it's like pulling teeth for a user to get the applications she or he needs.

Gardner: Wayne, you and I have been around long enough to know that the way to instigate change in an enterprise environment is not necessarily to attempt wholesale radical shifts. You need to work with what's in place and recognize that investments have been made and that those investments are going to continue to be leveraged.

So let's start defining the solution at a high level here. We want the applications that have been developed. We want the interfaces and data that folks are used to to continue to benefit them. But we also want to start energizing this new sense of empowerment that people have through their personal lives and their consumer roles and bring some of these things together.

What I see from our big customers is that for every commercial app that they license they will have 10 that are built internally.

Craft for me, if you could, the vision about retaining what's good about the enterprise and what's been invested in and brought to the daily grind, but at the same time start to bring innovation and allow people to exercise their behaviors and their empowerment.

Williams: As far as what's good and what can be retained, there's a great footprint of hardware out there, PC hardware. A massive investment has been made.

It's the same with software. There are tons of software, both licensed and built internally. And the internal part is really important. What I see from our big customers is that for every commercial app that they license they will have 10 that are built internally. And while there is very little visibility into how commercial licenses are used, there is some, but it's little. And there's zero visibility into who’s using internally built software, for the most part.

There have been massive investments made in software, and unfortunately, a lot of the productivity that could have been realized hasn’t been. But the good news is that it can be.

When I look at the opportunities, it's really two constituents, which you described. You talked about the user for a second and then you talked about the investment and what can be reused, and that’s really management, typically IT management, which is centralized. AppWave is about bringing these two stakeholders together.

Gardner: How can we do that? I'm familiar with what you've been doing with developers. Developers have unique requirements, but it seems like you've gained some insight and some technology in serving their needs in a fast-paced, agile environment, and can now bring that to the larger group of consumers within the enterprise.

Removing friction

Williams: If you look at mobile software, the friction between the user and the app is removed, and the results are fantastic. For us, that was a great proof point, because we started on AppWave before anybody had heard of the Apple App Store.

For PCs, the problem is much more difficult and it's much larger. Mobile software is about a $10 billion industry, and PC is somewhere around $300 billion. So the opportunity for productivity gains and overall results is much, much bigger, and the problem is much more difficult. Now, with AppWave the mobile experience -- find, run, rate, review -- comes to the PC. So the agile enterprise has tools to support it.

Gardner: So bringing that mentality of search, discover, share your experience, ease of access when you want to then act on that kind of information, almost instant gratification when the app comes down, being able to run it, and then upgrade it along the way with very little oversight, very little maintenance, certainly very little disruption, you have to ask yourself -- why would I want to do it any other way?

How do we bring these together? How do we bring the app store experience to IT? How do we enable them to bring that to their own constituents, their own users?

Williams: The key is the system. With the enterprise app store we bring two constituents together: users and management.

For users, there are really three principles that drive everything that we do. One of them is self-service, the next is socialization, and the third is instant gratification.

You mentioned a few things that are core principles. For users, there are really three principles that drive everything that we do. One of them is self-service, the next is socialization, and the third is instant gratification.

As a user, when I have a problem to solve and I'm looking for an app to help me solve it, I want to be able to find it myself, quickly. I want to understand what my peers are saying about that app. When I decide I want to try it, I click a button and run it. Everything we do goes through one of those filters. It’s about the user experience.

From a management perspective, for IT they need centralized control and visibility into real usage. So those are two principles that really drive everything we do with AppWave from a management perspective.

People talk about the consumerization of IT now, and initiatives like "bring your own device." The key for IT is to put an environment in place that draws users in and gives them what they're looking for, but you can still maintain overall control and have real visibility into who is using software and when.

Gardner: I'm curious. With AppWave, is there the opportunity to bring down apps fresh, or more frequently than the typical install, lockdown, patch process that we're familiar with now? Is there a hybrid model that incorporates some of the goodness from other trends like software as a service (SaaS) or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), but allows the same PC apps, the rich graphical user interfaces (GUIs), the investments that have been made in the code and logic to remain?

Results is conflict

Williams: This is one of the difficult engineering challenges we had, and it goes back to my first point about Windows sowing the seeds of some of the problems. If you look at Windows, it's designed around the concept of sharing and sort of a utopian view, where applications could all share parts, and typically those are called DLLs in Windows. Unfortunately, the end result of that is conflict.

When a user wants to try a new application, that application is installed and will typically conflict with other applications that were previously installed. The problem gets worse when you get into new versions.

In the PC market, most vendors update their software multiple times a year. For example, we put out new release of every major product once a year and then we will have point releases typically quarterly. You have an awful lot of change, and every time there is a change, you stand to break other things that are already installed on your computer.

That was one of the things we had to tackle, and we did with AppWave. That folds into instant gratification. If I'm a user who has an existing version of a particular application, and I need either the older version or the newer version, I should be able to click a button and be productive. I should be using it in seconds.

Gardner: Well, we've defined our problem. We recognize that it's severe. We recognize that the environment is propelling people for change. We know that people have alternatives in the market for at least some apps, and we have been describing some of what is required of a solution, at least at a high level. So I guess it's time now to really dig in a little bit. Describe for us what AppWave is, what it does, and how it came to be?

At the heart of it, we removed the dependencies that applications would have with other applications and with the environment in general.

Williams: AppWave is an enterprise app store for PCs that provides self-service. Users can very easily type in a search term and get a result. The result is a set of applications. Then they can click and run those applications, read ratings and reviews from their peers, and they can be assured that when they do run those applications, they're not going to disrupt anything else that they have on their PC.

Gardner: Tell me a little bit about that problem you mentioned a moment ago, that ability to bring down new or quickly upgrade or change apps, but without losing the config, the importance of the legacy, the use and trail of what that application has done for the user. How did you solve that?

Williams: Years and years of engineering, but at the heart of it, we removed the dependencies that applications would have with other applications and with the environment in general. Each of these applications is able to stand on its own, which means you can have multiple versions of a particular app and move between them painlessly with no concerns.

I think that’s important for just about any knowledge worker. I've seen company after company -- and ours is no different -- afraid to move, for example, to the newest version of Office, because they're not sure if documents from the old version are going to work properly. Problems like that are gone, because you can easily move from version to version with the click of a button.

This is particularly important in R&D,where a tremendous amount of time is spent retooling to go from one configuration of applications for a particular system.

Prior to having AppWave, developers had multiple PCs, one for working on the new release that’s going to come out this year and then one for going back and fixing bugs on last year’s release.

What are the metrics?

Gardner: As you pointed out, Wayne, you've been doing this for some time. A lot of R&D, starting with tools, is probably the hardest category to crack. And you've seen how organizations have adopted and used your AppWave approach, creating this storefront, making those apps available to solve some of these issues that plague PC software distribution.

What have people gained from this? Do we have some metrics? Can we look at some examples? What do you get if you do this properly? How impactful is the shift when you go from say a traditional distribution to an AppWave and an app store distribution model?

Williams: I can give you a few examples. It's been amazing for us certainly. We drink our own champagne. We've made incredible gains, with the biggest gains being in two areas.

One is in R&D, where teams generally produce a daily build of most of the products. Those apps, when they come off the build machine, are now immediately available to all of R&D. It's particularly important for QA, because the downtime that you would have retooling and getting a new app is gone. It’s literally seconds. So we've seen some great gains internally with R&D.

We've also seen it with sales. We've got roughly 20 products. We put out a minor release once a quarter and majors once a year. So if you just looked at the explosion of that set of apps that a salesperson would have to have on their PC, just in two years, it’s 160. That historically has been a problem. It’s just a productivity drain and it’s error prone. Now that problem is gone.

What’s most exciting is when a customer really sees that this can help them get to market quicker.

There are certainly metrics out there as far as productivity and under-utilization of software and over-utilization of software, but I think what’s most exciting is when a customer really sees that this can help them get to market quicker.

A large financial services company had a nine-month rollout cycle for of a new version of a PC app. They had a really pressing business need to get this done before the holidays, their biggest season. It was impossible using their current methods for PC software distribution. With AppWave, users were upgraded to the right version of software in minutes.

The thing that they loved about that whole experience wasn't really the metrics. Certainly they put together their ROIs and they were impressive, but what that really did for them was that it allowed them to move quickly, to solve the business need in a time that would really make a difference.

Gardner: And at a time when software is more important than ever, they're going to gain an advantage by being able to deliver that software, put it in the hands of their employees, and also put it in the hands in the market, learn from that market and adjust, it just seems like you get generally better business agility, particularly when you are in a software intensive field which, as I said, most companies are nowadays.

Williams: One of the things that's frustrating for me, seeing how the software industry has matured and grown over the years, is that everybody talks about ROI. There's nothing wrong with the concept of ROI, but what I see often is a forest-and-trees problem, where people will lose sight of what the real goal is.

Losing sight of the goal

hey will get so buried in a metric here and a metric there to build up an ROI, that they will lose sight of the goal. What’s the goal? The goal is to get my product or service to market sooner, better, and with better quality than the competition. That ROI is almost immeasurable.

Apple is a great example. This is a company that was in serious trouble for a number of years. It's the most incredible turnaround success story than any of us have ever seen. And all of that may not have happened if the iPod was a year late. Sony wasn't totally sleeping. They owned consumer electronics, and given a little more time, they probably could have stopped that move.

It’s so important for people to remember that software is going to help you get your product or service to market sooner and better, which is going to help you beat your competition.

Gardner: I'm afraid we are about out of time, Wayne, but I wanted to look just at a couple of the building trends now that point to the future. We're seeing tremendous uptake in mobile devices and tablets. We're seeing people who want to be able to combine their roles as consumers and individuals at home with what they do at work.

This is blurring the lines between on-premises, doing work within a corporate environment, or over a VPN even. But they need this. This is how they're going to be productive. It's putting an onus now, a different level of requirements, on IT, on developers.

It's all about getting the right app in the hands of the user as quickly as possible and that should happen on all relevant platforms.

Is there something about AppWave and what we've been talking about that can be brought into the mobile and even cloud spheres, these trends being sort of locomotives in the market right now, that brings together them and what we have been talking about?

Williams: Absolutely. Our view is that, at the end of the day, it's all about getting the right app in the hands of the users as quickly as possible and that should happen on all relevant platforms. So certainly mobile tablets, Android tablets, and iOS, iPads, are very cool and powerful devices that we are certainly going to support.

The important thing to remember is about getting the app to the user, regardless of what device they're using. So whether it's a tablet, a PC, or it's their own PC, as opposed to the company PC, they should still have access to all the apps that matter, with all the same kind of principles we've talked about, instant gratification, very easy to find. Those are all things that we're covering in AppWave.

Our initial focus was all about solving the PC problem, because in my view that’s the big problem. That’s where so much productivity has been locked away. We've solved that for the PC now and we certainly will support other popular platforms as they emerge.

Gardner: Well, very good. I hate to say we will have to leave it there.

You've been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion on how enterprise app stores are quickly creating productivity improvements and speed the value benefits for those PC users and across the applications that they are accustomed to. This is something that’s been of interest to IT departments and those users as well.

I'd like to thank our guest. It's been a very intriguing discussion. We've been with Wayne Williams, President and CEO of Embarcadero Technologies. Thanks so much, Wayne.

Williams: Thank you, Dana. Have a good day.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, as always, thanks for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Download the transcript. Get free AppWave download. Sponsor: Embarcadero Technologies.

A sponsored podcast discussion of how enterprise app stores can bridge the gap between software development and improved PC software distribution and maintenance. Learn more about AppWave. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2012. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Enterprise App Store Trends Point to Need for Better Applications Marketplace for ISVs, Service Providers, Mobile Business Ecosystems

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on the development of enterprise app stores and application marketplaces for ISVs to extend and modernize the applications delivery model to better serve employees, customers, and partners.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download the transcript. Request an app marketplace demo. Sponsor: Partnerpedia.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on the fast moving trends supporting the escalating demand for enterprise app stores. As enterprises and most business users have rapidly adopted smartphones and made them mission critical to their work and lives, tablets are fast on their heels as a similar major disruptor.

RIM, Apple’s iOS, and Google Android devices are rapidly changing the way the world does business ... and does software. Riding along on the mobile device wave is the complimentary App Store model pioneered by Apple. The App Store is rapidly gaining admiring adopters from many quarters, thanks to its promise of reducing cost of distribution and of updates, and also of creating whole new revenue streams and even deeper user relationships.

Those seeking to make application store benefits their own -- and fast, before someone else does -- come from a diverse lot. They include vendors, service providers, and communication service providers. Interestingly, though, it’s the users that have shown the way to adoption by demonstrating a comfort, a willingness, and an affinity for a self-selection process for downloadable mobile (and increasingly enterprise) applications and services.

The users are really quite happy with paying for what they have on the spot, as long as that process is quick, seamless, and convenient. So the onus is now on a variety of business service providers and enterprises to come up with some answers for app stores of their own and to serve their employees, customers, and partner ecosystems in new ways.

This can't be done haphazardly. The new app stores also must stand up to the rigors of business-to-business (B2B) commerce requirements, not just consumer-driven games.

So to learn more about how the enterprise app store market will shape up, I'm here with a panel to delve into the market and opportunity for enterprise app stores, and to find out how they could be created quickly and efficiently to strike, as it were, while the app store iron is hot.

Please join me now in welcoming our guests. We're here with Michele Pelino, a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Welcome, Michele.

Michele Pelino: Hi, how are you?

Gardner: I'm great. We are also here with Mark Sochan, the CEO of Partnerpedia. Hi, Mark.

Mark Sochan: Hi, Dana.

Gardner: And we're here also with Sam Liu, Vice President of Marketing at Partnerpedia. Hi there, Sam.

Sam Liu: How are you doing, Dana?

Gardner: I'm great. Michele, let's go to you first. This whole applications marketplace concept is something we hadn’t even thought of perhaps two or three years ago, and it's moving very rapidly. The trend is also happening across categories.

Usually we can sort of slice and dice these things, but we are looking at consumer, business, enterprise, and service providers seeking app stores. Maybe you could sort of paint a picture for what's going on with business applications, now that we have seen the app store model really pick up and become attractive to consumers.

Importance of mobility

Pelino: In order to provide some context around the momentum that we're seeing on the app store side of the world, it’s really important to take a step back and recognize how important mobility has become to enterprises overall, as they are interacting with their employees and their customers and their partners and providers as well.

We do surveys at Forrester of enterprises in both North America and Europe to better understand those priorities and how mobility fits into overall technology initiatives. We find that three of the top priorities that are being focused on by many enterprises are related to mobility.

That includes deploying new devices to their employees. It includes supporting more types of applications for not just the employees that are working outside of the office and the road warriors that we all think about when we are thinking about mobile workers, but also expanding applications for workers who are actually in the office.

So this broadening of mobility includes many types of workers and applications that address not just the traditional email/calendaring applications, which are widely deployed by most companies, but is also pushing those applications down into line of business worker types of applications, which are tied to particular types of employees in an organization.

They're applications that may be designed for the sales team, customer service, support, or marketing. They also might be applications that are tied to the needs of particular vertical industry’s logistics or supply chain management or enterprise asset management types of applications.

Many firms are broadening the types of applications that they're deploying to their customers, partners, and suppliers, as well as to their employees.

All of these applications are where we're seeing the momentum today. Ultimately, many firms are broadening the types of applications that they're deploying to their customers, partners, and suppliers, as well as to their employees, and this momentum is continuing.

The other thing that’s driving some of this momentum is that individuals, not just employees, are going out and buying lots of different smartphone devices and mobile devices. You touched on that in your earlier comments around tablets, slates, and different types of smartphones that are out there. So, this momentum isn’t just happening within the corporation. It’s actually happening outside of that, and it's what we would call the consumerization of IT.

This means that many individuals, consumers, are driving requirements into the corporation and into the IT organization to get new types of applications on their devices, whether those devices are personally owned or ones that the corporation has as well.

This consumerization trend is also happening to drive these requirements into the organization and to really generate more momentum around applications in general as well as smartphone devices, tablets, and other types of mobile devices.

Gardner: So we have the consumers, the users, very much aligned with this trend. They seem to have adapted to it rather easily. We've also seen an ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) involved, where they see opportunities to create direct relationships or marketplaces and get new revenue. We've even seen some companies like Zynga and some of the other gaming corporations, taking off based on this apps model.

What's the last leg on the stool? It seems to me that their will be new types of app store providers. Michele, for those organizations thinking of doing this, what do they need to consider? What's important from a B2B perspective of doing an app store?

A lot of momentum

Pelino: One of the things to think about, when you are doing an app store, is to recognize that there's a lot of momentum around app stores in general and that came from the initial foray that we had seen from the device manufacturers like Apple and RIM. All the different device manufacturers have application stores tied initially to a consumer-oriented perspective.

The momentum around those app stores has driven corporations to start thinking about what they can do to more effectively and efficiently support their requirements around applications.

The thing with corporations is that IT organizations still want to control which version of the applications are in there and what types of apps an employee might have access to in a corporate environment, as opposed to what they might be doing in their personal world. Security is always a key issue here.

All of these things are really driving the need for these application stores -- but at an enterprise level. More and more applications are not just coming from what the IT organization wants to put out there, but also line-of-business workers within the organization are driving more and more application requirements.

By implementing these application stores, I, as an individual employee with a particular role will have access to certain applications. Another employee may have access to other applications that are tied to their role in the organization. And you could broaden that concept out to interacting with partners, suppliers, and customers as well.

The IT group is getting pushed by the end users and organizations that have become very comfortable with how they can search, browse, try, download, and purchase applications.

That’s where this momentum for application stores is coming from. It's not just coming from the IT organization, but it’s coming from line of business workers who want to have applications out there for their customers, employees, and partners.

Gardner: Mark Sochan at Partnerpedia, there's a need now for an IT department or an enterprise organization to take advantage of this trend, but to do it in a way that’s amenable to them, that suits their requirements. Is this a big opportunity for IT to do something differently but perhaps even do something better than the way they have distributed software in the past?

Sochan: Absolutely, Dana. Adding to some of the comments that Michele made about IT consumerization, there is no doubt that the IT group is getting pushed by the end users and organizations that have become very comfortable with how they can search, browse, try, download, and purchase applications. As a result, that has raised the expectations of how those same workers would like to be able browse, search, and download applications that could help them in their business world and with their productivity.

But, there are some pretty big differences between the consumer world of buying a 99-cent Angry Birds game versus downloading business applications. So some of the things that IT groups are having to think about and sort out are security and data governance, and how data that is specific to the device can be managed and, if need be, removed.

There are also issues about how the IT group can enable worker productivity and increase the satisfaction of the user base. [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Savings and efficiencies

Finally, there's a need to try and find cost savings and efficiencies. If you had everyone just buying individual applications, then you wouldn’t have the benefit of bulk license purchasing or the ability to purchase through normal corporate buying processes that result in larger scales of economy.

Gardner: Michele, back to you. I know this is still early and this is a very fast-moving and dynamic marketplace, but do we have any sense of how big this is going to be? Not necessarily numbers, but do you think that most enterprises are going to want to adopt this sort of a model?

Also, this all reminds me of a couple of years ago, when we talked in services oriented architecture (SOA) terms about registry and repository, making a list items of services and/or applications, and then users could pick and choose and start beginning to make processes from them. Is this something that you at Forrester expect to be pervasive or is this going to be on the fringe?

Pelino: This is the beginning of a pretty key momentum driver in this area. What we're seeing now is that some of these key drivers, are coming together for large, medium, small enterprises who must figure out how to expand their applications and capabilities. What we're seeing now is that some of these key drivers are coming together for large, medium, small enterprises who must figure out how to expand their applications and capabilities.

Also, as Mark said, you still have to have some control over this. You have to deal with corporate requirements around purchasing and all of the requirements internally as well. All of those factors are coming together.

About 30 percent of enterprises are using application stores do deploy some of their applications at some level.

Our surveys say that about 30 percent of enterprises -- that’s medium, large, as well as small enterprises -- are using app stores do deploy some of their applications at some level. It’s not that they're doing everything that way today. That’s the early stage of this, because this is an evolutionary path. It started on the consumer side and now it’s going into the enterprise.

As I think about what our survey data would say going into 2011, I have a feeling that, that percentage will jump pretty dramatically. More enterprises are dealing with that pain-point of the complexity of getting these applications out there, of having to have some control over which version, monitoring them, tracking what's going on with the apps, ensuring that everybody is getting the application that they should ... or not.

Those kinds of things are very important, certainly at a corporate level, and so this is driving a lot of that momentum as well, and security can't be lost in that picture either.

Gardner: Sam Liu at Partnerpedia, how do we help enterprises step into this? Is there a path? Is there some methodology, or track record involved? If I were an IT manager, I am thinking, okay, I have to build, I have to buy, or I have to partner -- or some combination to get an app store up and running.

If I have an app store that’s serving my employees, the chances are that I'm going to need to have one that’s going to be able to stand up to the rigors of delivering apps and services and business value out to my customer end-users as well.

How does an organization like an enterprise, a vendor, or a communication service provider start the process of thinking about architecting and providing an app store?

Early stages

Liu: We've talked to a number of different enterprises and various industries, and most of them are in the early stages of researching and trying to figure out what this means to them. They know that tablets are coming, but actually today’s problems have as much to do with just devices already in-house, such as smartphones.

What we're hearing in terms of platforms is that the top three platforms they're trying to figure out are iOS, Android, and the platform coming from RIM.

In that research phase, some of the issues that they're concerned about are more traditional IT policies and compliance issues. They understand the motivation from the user standpoint and the value of that, but they're really trying to understand the landscape in terms of those more traditional issues around IT control and compliance, such as security.

The other thing is that they're also more open to outsourced or cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based solutions, as opposed to something that may be completely managed in-house via traditional software. The issue there is that they want to make sure that it actually can connect to the very secure session in the corporate environment, and that by outsourcing they are not giving that up in terms of the security and control.

What we recommend is to start with a scoped project. Don’t try to solve all of your problems at once. Figure out what you need today and build up a roadmap for how you want to get there tomorrow. So you might want to start with the current devices, such as phones and focus on maybe internal applications or select third-party applications. Deploy a project from that and then figure out how you want to evolve that towards other devices and other platforms. [Request an app marketplace demo.].

They're looking for some blended model between complete end-user autonomy and some better corporate control.

Gardner: Mark Sochan, this isn't just about the technology of being able to serve up an application. This is also about billing, invoicing, the money trail, and then making that auditable. In certain industries, it’s a bit more of an integration issue.

How do you walk into an enterprise or a vendor and help them sort through, not just the delivery of these apps, but also the management of the charge-backs and/or processing of credit cards or other means of billing?

Sochan: At Partnerpedia we've been working with a number of the leading tablet vendors and some of the largest enterprise customers to understand what are the business problems and what are the priorities that need to be solved.

Overwhelmingly, what we're hearing is that most customers are not satisfied with just having an open marketplace that you might see from, say, the Google Apps Marketplace. They're looking for some blended model between complete end-user autonomy and some better corporate control. That’s the first piece of feedback we are hearing.

The second piece is that there is a need to have some sort of branding. Most enterprise companies want to have some branding, so that it’s very clear to their users that this is their marketplace, this is their store. And that store has a combination of third-party built applications, similar to what you might see if you went into an Apple App Store or into the Google Android marketplace.

Custom built

ut, you also see applications that have been custom built specifically for that corporation. That is, bite-size pieces of applications and business process productivity that is specific to a person’s role in that organization. Plus, some higher-end applications are coming from some of their business partners.

Because there are a variety of different sources of these applications, there are different business models that need to be addressed. The one that may be most familiar to all of us would be the ones that are the similar kinds of applications that we might find in the Apple App Store or the productivity type things, whether it’s news and information or time management or calendaring.

Then, as we move to the custom-built applications or the in-house applications, it’s also important to be able to have a way to side-load those applications and make sure that those applications are available and discoverable by the people in the organization that they are relevant to.

There's a whole idea of personalization that goes far beyond what we've seen on the consumer side, where basically everyone is presented a very similar experience in the enterprise side.

It’s very important to personalize much further to a marketing executive, for example. That’s going to be a very different set of applications that have been pre-approved and that are relevant to that marketing executive, versus someone who is on the production floor.

There's a need to have a lot of control and flexibility for the corporation to either pre-purchase those licenses and to manage those licenses effectively.

Finally, depending on the type of application and the user, there's a need to have a lot of control and flexibility for the corporation to either pre-purchase those licenses and to manage those licenses effectively. Then, they can both purchase and manage the distribution of those license, and be able to reclaim them as employees leave the organization or devices are lost, as well as allowing, as appropriate flexibility for the end-users to actually make purchases directly based on their budget. [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Gardner: Michele Pelino with Forrester Research, I don’t know if this is a bit outside of your field, but it seems to me that that from an IT procurement perspective we have been talking about smartphones and tablets.

When you think about the app store model as a way to distribute and manage applications to all devices -- including PCs -- you can start to get better efficiencies over licensing. You can really meter who gets applications and how often they're used and use that to decide what apps to keep or what to throw out. You can also have a better means of updating and adding security patches in a way that’s automated and centralized, rather than going from point to point.

Do have any thoughts about the IT efficiency aspects of an app store model, if we take it beyond smartphones and tablets to the entire endpoints the users use?

Evolving over time

Pelino: That is how this could evolve over time. We've been starting on the mobile device side of the world -- smartphones and tablets, those types of devices. But, at a corporate level, there are other types of endpoints that you need to manage and deploy applications to, and you want the same kind of control. You also want to have a sense of how much you are spending.

Sam mentioned, as a service type of delivery model or a per user type of delivery model, you can use different kinds of models here to keep control of the cost and have efficiencies around cost that you might not have today, because there is lots of overlap happening.

There are benefits as well, when you're thinking about individual end users who might have devices that they use in certain situations. When they're at their desk, maybe they have their laptops or desktops there. So, ultimately, you could have the same environment to integrate what an individual end-user or an employee could get in terms of the apps that they're able to get and always have a consistent experience for that.

The other side of that is just having a recognition that at the IT level, as much as they would love to control this, there are lots of devices around the bend. So even in the mobile world the devices we see today are not the ones that are going to be here tomorrow and there is more and more, almost on a day-to-day basis, being announced and put out there for end-users, whether it be enterprises or consumers to use.

How do I keep that in line? This app-store model is certainly one way to do it. But, when you think about it at the IT organization level, it’s not just about mobility. They have to think about the endpoints across the organization and this could certainly be relevant in that case as well.

The ability to create a very rich catalog of information makes it much more compelling and gains a lot more commitment from your partners.

Gardner: Mark, we're hearing about the benefits for an internal app store where IT, for example, might get better software distribution benefits. I know that Partnerpedia has been working with a number of early adopters on storefronts and branding around app stores. Are you finding that there is a capability here that you can, in effect, create the same app store for internal distribution as well as external, where you would be taking apps and services out to a wider audience, be it B2B or business-to-consumer (B2C)? [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Sochan: Absolutely. If you look at the core essence of an app store, there is a repository or catalog of information that makes it very easy for a company’s customers be able to find, browse, and look for products and services, not only from the vendor, but also related products and services that are of value from that vendor's ecosystem.

It almost doesn’t matter what kind of company it is. Most companies have some extended ecosystem of value-added partners. The ability to create a very rich catalog of information that your customers can browse and search and look for related products and services makes it much more compelling and gains a lot more commitment from your partners.

Because you're now providing them with of a go-to-market benefit directly to the customers, and from the customer’s perspective, they see tremendous value in your company’s products and services, because they see the richness of the ecosystem around it.

At the heart of it is this catalog that can be highly personalized. You can imagine that if you're now able to personalize this for your customers, where your customers are coming into this marketplace and they are not just seeing a generic marketplace, they are actually seeing a marketplace that’s been personalized to them.

Marketplace knows

This means that the marketplace already knows which products your customers have purchased from you and therefore is making a pre-selection or presenting them with information that’s very specific and related to the footprint that, that customer already has of your products.

In some cases, in a more consumer-oriented world, you may want to actually go to a transaction and actually enable purchasing. But, our enterprise customers are telling us that, equally important, if not more important, in the first steps is to have a very sophisticated lead capture engine, so that you can capture that interest that your customer has expressed, and been browsing and expressed interest in a particular product.

Then, you can route that, as appropriate, into whatever customer relationship management (CRM) system is being used and more effectively follow up with that customer, either with your own direct sales force or with passing that lead to your partners for the appropriate follow up.

Gardner: This is interesting. App stores in the enterprise seem to be the gift that keeps giving. We have distribution benefits, but now we are looking at some marketing and business intelligence (BI) benefit, where we can segment and provide a different fa├žade or set of applications and services to different constituencies, know who they are, create a relationship, gather metadata about their activities, and then better serve them with the next round.

Back to you, Michele. Is there a marketing and a BI benefit through the app store model that allows for an efficiency in gathering information and delivering products and services significantly better than some of the past models, where these have all been in sort of similar silos and it has been difficult to integrate and pull them together?

As you have all of your customers, partners, and suppliers accessing these application stores, as well as your employees, you can then target those individuals with appropriate information.

Pelino: You can imagine that now, with the capabilities that you have, you're going to be able to track and understand better what individuals are doing. Are they using certain applications? What they are doing? When they are doing it? As well as better understanding how you might be able to package and put together capabilities that might be more valuable to your customers in a manner that will be useful, in an individualized manner, not just basic bundles or combinations of services.

From the BI side of this, we've only started scraping the surface, because we are in the earlier stages. But as you have all of your customers, partners, and suppliers accessing these application stores, as well as your employees, you can then target those individuals with appropriate information. Not necessarily marketing all the time, but appropriate information, if it’s for employees and partners and suppliers, and for the customers, certainly marketing and promotional activities could be tied in here as well.

Gardner: It sounds very good in theory. Mark, tell us a little bit about some of the ways that this is actually being used now. I know you can’t always tell us the names of the folks you're working with, because you are an OEM supplier and they may still be in pilot in terms of their own app stores, but how are these ideas really coming into fruition? What’s really going on on the street? Some use cases for this enterprise app store concept?

Sochan: What’s happening on the street is that a number of tablet vendors are seeing that having a branded app store capability around their tablets is a critical checkbox item to creating a whole product that is valuable to the enterprise. That’s the first thing that we see happening through our direct relationships with our vendors and customers.

The second thing is that the enterprise customers and consumers of these tablets are looking and starting pilots right now, where they're setting up their own branded app store to make it easier for their internal users to be able to browse and find and demo'd applications and these pilots are starting now. [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Gardner: Do you have any metrics of success? Are we too soon into this? Have you got any users that have put some of this into practice and said, "We did blank and then we got blank in return. There was a percent increase in this or a decrease in that?" Do we have any metrics that demonstrate what the payoffs from doing this are?

Trove of data

Sochan: As Michele motioned, there is a really exciting rich trove of data and BI that you get, because now you can see what users are interested in. You see what they are browsing.

All of us are very familiar with the Amazon-like model, where you rate products and services. The exact same thing is now enabled in these branded app stores, where the users are in real time rating the number of stars for that application. More importantly, they are giving their comments about what they found useful and areas that they would like to see improvements, which creates this very exciting innovation cycle.

Where previously you had very complex monolithic applications that got delivered and had a couple of year cycle, now you're seeing bite-size pieces of innovation that gets immediate feedback from the end-users. The developer sees that feedback almost instantly and is able to immediately respond with either bug fixes or feature enhancements.

What’s really exciting to me is just how fast the innovation and that feedback loop happens that just spurs more innovation.

Gardner: Before we wrap up, maybe we could step out a little bit into the future and think about some of the implications for this.

It's bringing up the value of the information into making better business decisions, and that business intelligence I think should not be underestimated.

Michele, how far do you think this can go? We've talked about how it could come back and affect the PCs. I am thinking that it really could change the way businesses operate in terms of their revenue, relationships with their customers, central repository and means of managing both marketing and innovation and then distribution.

Pelino: If you think about the evolution of where this could head, you're starting with the central piece of the value proposition to many of these mobile devices and tablets, which is the application, and that’s absolutely critical.

You're going to be proving out the value of the applications in these app stores. But, benefits that can be achieved are efficiencies around cost. You've got benefits around having all this information about your customers, your partners, your suppliers, your employees, or anybody interfacing with these application stores -- depending on how you're implementing them -- that you can now use to leverage and broaden out your relationships with them at various levels.

This is absolutely critical. It's bringing up the value of the information into making better business decisions, and that business intelligence I think should not be underestimated. The other side of it is, when you think about the complexities that are facing the IT organization at a real tangible level, that’s not going to go away.

As we look to the future, the complexities around these devices, around the tablets, the slates, the smartphones, the other devices that are the more traditional devices and endpoints that companies have to manage and deal with, that complexity is going to continue.

Managing complexity

hen you think about where this can head, recognizing that companies are going to be looking for more efficient ways to manage that complexity, these application stores are one way to do that, and they provide a pretty cost effective way potentially, because, as Sam mentioned earlier, some of these are dealt with as a service, per user basis, per use basis, and so there is efficiencies around this that you can’t underestimate either.

Gardner: You almost want to throw another acronym out there, which would be something like "business services as a service."

Pelino: That’s not a bad idea. But, as you think of the future, there are a lot of opportunities to really build this out and have a critical impact on the strategic initiatives of the organization. It may not be just a tactical thing that the IT organization is implementing. It’s a very strategic potential for an organization to implement these stores.

Gardner: Mark Sochan, are you talking at that executive level with some of your customers? First, maybe you ought to quickly summarize what it is that the Partnerpedia is delivering to the market and then follow on with are you selling this to IT people or to strategic thinkers who are really looking at this as a business strategy.

Sochan: The core of the Partnerpedia offering is a white label, cloud-based, branded app store, that allows very efficient discovery and delivery of applications. The internal benefits for the internal facing app store is the capability for IT members to be able to pre-purchase select applications that they want their users have available to them. And also providing the capability to brand that app store so that it follows the company’s logo and it has a very consistent corporate look and feel.

The internal benefits for the internal facing app store is the capability for IT members to be able to pre-purchase select applications that they want their users have available to them.

Then, giving a way for users to be able to very easily search, browse, and look for applications that are specific to their role in the organization.

Finally, the license management of that software, allowing the IT department to be able to track licenses that have been purchased and downloaded, as well as be able to reclaim those licenses as is appropriate, when an employee either no longer needs that license or has left the organization or has lost the device.

And looking more to the future, we are also working very closely with customers that are building a private branded marketplace. And I distinguish between an app store and a marketplace in that a marketplace is much broader than just applications. It can be hard goods, products, services, or offerings from partners and provides just a much richer way for customers to discover value-added offerings from a company. [Request an app marketplace demo.]

Gardner: Who are the folks who seem to be most interested in this? Is this something you're selling at multiple levels, or do you really have the ears yet of that business strategy?

Sochan: We're seeing it in a few different industries. Certainly high-tech is an area where this lends itself very well, because most companies are moving to a cloud services world and so they're looking for new and more innovative ways to combine and recombine multiple solution offerings to come up with more valuable offerings to their customers.

Driving opportunities

his is also driving opportunities for innovation and business models. how the customer pays for it. Having these bite-size pieces of innovation lends itself to new ideas and new business models in which there can be not only just actual new sources of revenue that can come out of this, because now it’s a channel to the market.

Gardner: Michele, are there any resources at Forrester that you could point people to, if they wanted to explore this a bit more? Are there some reports, some URLs, any place that you would suggest people go to at Forrester to learn more?

Pelino: As I was talking I was referencing a few points of data from various reports that might be relevant, and you can get to those links through the Forrester site.

There's one report that sets up the complexity that’s facing many organizations that I touched on very early on, called "Managing Mobile Complexity."

There's another report that’s coming out very soon around mobility in the cloud. We've been talking about these delivery mechanisms, cloud-based delivery mechanisms for applications and services, especially around mobile devices and applications and services.

Having these bite-size pieces of innovation lends itself to new ideas and new business models.

Gardner: Mark Sochan at Partnerpedia, are there some reports, resources, white papers, ways in which people can learn more about your approach to the market and this notion of the white label in the cloud app store as a service?

Sochan: We have some great white papers that people can access from our website at, that will give very useful insights into some of the best leading practices in this area.

Gardner: You've been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast discussion on the fast moving trend supporting the escalating demand for enterprise app stores.

I'd like to thanks our guests, Michele Pelino, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Thanks, Michele.

Pelino: Thanks so much.

Gardner: And Mark Sochan, CEO at Partnerpedia. Thank you, Mark.

Sochan: My pleasure.

Gardner: And also Sam Liu, Vice President of Marketing at Partnerpedia. Thanks, Sam.

Liu: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again for listening and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Download the transcript. Request an app marketplace demo. Sponsor: Partnerpedia.

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on the development of enterprise app stores and application marketplaces for ISVs to extend and modernize the applications delivery model to better serve employees, customers, and partners. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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