By Sam Liu
Recently we have seen carriers enter the enterprise mobility space, specifically Verizon Wireless’ private app store for business and AT&T’s mobile app management solution. This is a good indication of the continued maturation of enterprise mobility.
Carriers are known for supplying commodity voice and data plans to corporations along with a selection of mobile phones, but as enterprise mobility takes off with the “consumerization of IT” these same carriers are looking to move up the value chain by providing higher level (and potentially higher margin) services.
Not known for being visionaries, the fact that carriers are now offering business oriented apps and a solution for managing such apps within the company is a sign that the enterprise market may be ready for broad adoption. We’ve already seen the volume of consumer style mobile devices enter the business environment. Now the apps and the ability to manage them will follow.
The idea that carriers are offering an app store is not new. Some have tried in the past, but most have failed to catch on. Yet the success of the Apple App Store continues to motivate others to mimic behavior. This time around however, by focusing on the business sector carriers may have more luck. While some of the largest of enterprises will still procure technology solutions from traditional IT vendors, small to medium businesses may opt for a single supplier or a managed/packaged service approach from carriers. Also, SMEs/SMBs may be more likely to purchase standard off-the-shelf apps than large enterprises.
Just in the last few months, we’ve seen tremendous interest and entry in the enterprise mobility space – from media and analyst coverage to active customer interest; from new technology solution providers and now carriers also making a play. In a rapidly growing emerging market, it is natural to see multiple players enter the game. And at some point, consolidation will happen. But in the meantime it helps validate the space and provides customers with options. As they say, “a rising tide raises all boats.”