SM: The example that I was giving you earlier along the same lines has exactly the same argument because these corporate rewards and recognition merchandise vendors find an efficient channel to sell through, and with repeat purchase patterns and that’s very attractive to them.
SS: That’s exactly right.
SM: What do you see in terms of gaps and opportunities for early stage entrepreneurs to look at, based on all the things that we have discussed?
SS: It’s interesting. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a better time to be an entrepreneur within the technology industry. The level of engagement that exists today between individuals and computing is a magnitude above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen in my life. A lot of this, of course, is being brought on by mobile computing and the cloud computing services that cater to mobile devices. This is an amazing time on the consumer side and the enterprise side to be in the technology industry. Obviously, you have to decide: Hey, look, what particular business problem do I want to solve? And how do I go about solving it? But today, if I’m a young entrepreneur starting out, all my resources would be devoted to mobile computing and solving whatever business problem I want to solve, whether it’s consumer or enterprise, I’d solve it via mobile device.
Just to give you some perspective on that, a year ago, when we just got going launching our mobile products – and we, obviously delivered natively on the Apple iPhone and iPad and, of course, Android devices – our usage – we had 17.5 million users of our Web-based cloud services – our usage in mobile at that point was nearly zero. Today, just a little bit more than a year later, we have 2.5 million mobile users. If you think about it from an enterprise perspective, we might be one of the largest, if not the largest deployments of mobile applications for enterprise software anywhere in the world.
SM: Part of it is also because the nature of your application is very much something that people would want to use.
SS: Even though that’s true, I think the reality is that people embrace mobile applications because of the convenience around them, and they offer a level of functionality that traditional computers don’t. We’ll come back to that in a second. Mobile is where transactions will move, whether you’re talking about applications or content and commerce. Coming back to the point around mobile devices providing more functionality, if you think about it from a developer’s perspective, there’s a level of technology that’s available on mobile devices that’s above and beyond what I can get on laptop computers, not the least of which are GPS, NFC functionalities that say, look, I can get more understanding of where you are and what you’re doing. And things like NFC also allow you to use things emit, but imagine NFC chips used to open a hotel room door. What if once you land, we could within Concur, check you into a hotel, get you the right code, pre-program it into the NFC chip on your phone and that allows you to walk into the Sheraton in Manhattan, go up to room 1602 and this phone has the right code to open up this door?
You’re going to see a set of functionalities that are inherent to these types of devices that are above and beyond anything you could do on desktop or notebook computers.
SM: I think payment on the mobile phone is improving by leaps and bounds.
SS: Yes, absolutely. In fact, I think you’re going to see … the traditional things you have in your pocket are your keys, your mobile phone and your wallet. I’m going to argue that in, given another three years, the only thing I’m going to have in my pocket is my mobile phone. It’ll have my keys within it. It’ll have my wallet, my identification mechanisms all built in within it. They only thing that you’ll need is your phone.