Sramana Mitra: Can you help me formulate an ecosystem map for your enterprise mobility sector as you see it? Who are the players? Who are the competitors? Who are the partners? Who’s doing what and also, what are the trends in that general space?
I’ll kick it off with one major observation, which is the partnership between Apple and IBM that they have announced recently. They have also announced a portfolio of enterprise mobility applications. It seems to be a very big push from IBM into this market in partnership with Apple for the iPad. There’s clearly a trend that is developing there.
Tom Hogan: Great questions and you’ve got a couple of threads in there. Let me just talk about competition in the broad landscape and I’ll specifically address the partnership between Apple and IBM. Who is the competition? I would actually tell you, and I think you’d get validation from industry analysts, there are three ways to tackle enterprise mobile applications. One is you go build an app using an SDK from one of the native platform providers like Apple with iOS, Android, and Windows. The advantage there is you get a rich user experience which I think is the key to success given the proliferation of mobile apps.
To address the view that mobile is necessary but insufficient, you have to have a great app. I tell clients, “Don’t bother if you’re just going to spit an app out.” It’s going to get drowned in the noise. You have to build a great app. That’s one. The main disadvantage to that approach is, unless you think the world is going to go homogeneous Apple, which no one believes, you’ve got to write multiple applications for every potential platform that your customer or employee might want to use or consume. That’s not a very efficient approach but I would tell you right now, that is still the biggest competitor to strategic solution providers like Kony.
The second approach is HTML5. Think of that as, “I can now write a big monolithic application that contemplates all of those devices and endpoints.” The downside to that is you sacrifice the richness of the user experience that you get with native in addition to some performance and browser compatibility issues. It sounds harsh but I think of it as the worst of all worlds. You sub-optimize everything.
Sramana Mitra: To get it portable across all platforms.
Tom Hogan: Yes. The third is Kony where we think we’re differentiated not only because we give you that cross-platform capability like an HTML5 approach, but we also give you the richness of a native user experience like writing in native.
To your point on the ecosystem and competitors, I’d say the predominant competitor right now is, people are going to look back in three to four years and say, “Look at how primitive the apps from 2013 and 2014 were both in terms of richness, functionality, and ease of navigation.” As the need for rich UX and the number of apps skyrocket, which is happening as we speak, then the need for a platform versus writing individual apps to native platforms will very quickly surface. That’s the macro landscape.