With 25 million tablets selling of in Q2, 2012 globally, tablets could very well have arrived as the third device in the mobile stack - PC and smartphone being the first two devices. But do we find productivity yet on the tablets? Or would they always remain as consumption devices?
Tablets aren’t really new. They’re big PDAs. We do calendaring, note taking, alarms, and notifications on tablets — but so could a PDA, all the way back to the Newton. We’ve been using this kind of touch-based organizer for over a decade at the executive level (remember the clumsy tablets from Microsoft?). They’re coming into their own stride, but we still struggle with leveraging them for productivity.
Many IT professionals are wondering how tablets are going to affect the enterprise. We’re all trying to work out if, when, and how these devices are going to impact our work. However, I’m not sure we’re asking the right questions about these devices. Given that customized, purpose-driven appliances and tablets are the best answer to the ever increasing productization requirements, the case is still largely inconclusive. We (Marketers in general) are all over the place trying to figuring out how to leverage mobile platforms. We’re looking desperately for a use model. This lack of a definite conclusion reflects the entire industry.
The classic innovation and monetization syndrome is that if we don’t innovate and implement this exciting new technology, our competitors will — but don’t worry, they’re as uncertain about how to proceed as we are.
Coming back to the use cases of Tablets for the enterprises, I see two major tablet applications:
- Better mobile connectivity than PDAs. In particular, tablets are able to give a more feature-rich browsing experience and reasonable email communication. They also tend to work better with web apps like OWA than previous mobile devices.
- Ability to design and deploy custom native apps.
The trouble seems to be one of convergence and transition. We’re transitioning from a desktop OS, application-based, business productivity environment — Office, Outlook, PowerPoint, and local applications running on a traditional PC. We use server-based back office, HR, and business processes platforms. Those are behind on developing meaningful mobile options, and they don’t yet rival traditional desktop PC methods in features and convenience. The value add of having a mobile device is offset by the limitations, where it’s an option.
Another driver is the convergence of cloud technologies and mobile devices. Public clouds make enterprises nervous, private clouds lose a lot of the supposed benefits of public clouds, and IT seems reluctant about adopting any cloud. But mobile devices are cloud pods. They’re lightweight devices designed to buzz around the cloud — gathering, creating, sharing, or moving information. Storing my private music and movies on the cloud is one thing, and storing my critical corporate IP there is another. The personal digital assistant part of the PDA is becoming a reality with Now and Siri, but we’re asked to place a lot of trust in allowing a cloud to collect meaningful information about us. Without that, we can’t reap the benefits of these solutions.
The enterprise challenge is that these mobile consumer devices take away the granular control of a PC. Ultimately, things are still sorting themselves out for tablets in the enterprise. It’s still very difficult to see where these technologies might take us.
Maybe Microsoft may have a few answers!
Despite challenging economic conditions, the increasing globalization of the Indian economy is leading to a growing need for modern software with the latest features and improved functionality – none so more as with Enterprise in India. With Indian enterprises continuing to embrace IT to improve productivity and drive growth, penetration of ICT infrastructure has been growing rapidly during the past decade. The primary drivers of growth have been domestic demand, the growing maturity of users and incremental enhancements in the technology. A combination of high domestic demand, presence of global vendors and entry of new small vendors with innovative products have made the overall ecosystem apt for robust growth.
Gartner expects the enterprise software market in India to grow at 13% in 2012, and revenue will cross $$3.22 billion in 2012. India’s enterprise software market is forecast to maintain its strong performance, with an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6 per cent from 2009 to 2016 – the third highest growth rate in the world.
In 2012, India will be the fourth largest enterprise software market in Asia/Pacific. The country is forecast to account for 11 per cent of the region’s total revenue of $29.33 billion USD for Asia/Pacific this year, the equivalent to 1.15 per cent of the total worldwide software of market share of $280 billion USD billion.By 2016, India’s share of the software market in Asia/Pacific is expected to reach 12.1 per cent, representing $5.4 billion in revenue, or 1.5 per cent of total worldwide software market revenue of $361 billion. In comparison to other countries in the Asia/Pacific region, such as China (with 27 per cent share of regional spending in 2011), the software market in India is still relatively small and evolving.
End users in Asia/Pacific are expecting to increase their spending on application and infrastructure software, with China and India being the most optimistic and leading the way for budget increases, followed closely by Malaysia and South Korea. The high intention to increase budgets in India is expected because of the rapidly growing economy, globalization of operations, and ongoing investment in India as a customer service-related outsourcing destination. Optimism regarding spending within Indian organizations reflects confidence in India’s regional economic performance, as well as the need to adopt better technology to effectively compete in a tougher global environment.
Tablet industry will need mass enterprise adoption for powering growth in 2012. Device makers/eco-system masters will have to customize to enterprise use cases. (Cue Android/Blackberry/Microsoft)
The Tablet PC was designed first by Microsoft and targeted at the enterprise segment mainly.
However, it was Apple and iPad with its unparalled experience which turned the Tablet PC into a consumer segment product mainly (That’s been the niche of Apple). Apple established the Tablet as a media consumption device as against smartphone(communication device) and laptops(computing devices). Apple made iPad the centre piece of its eco-system and still continues to add various other dimensions breaking one frontier after the other.The success of Apple spawned many others notably Android, Blackberry and even HP’s WebOS.
However, it was Amazon with its scale and expertise in media distribution that has now taken the pole position in low end tablet category.The Amazon USP is the media based services.Amazon Kindle Fire is exerting pressure on all tablet makers to reduce prices. Furthermore, with the introduction of iPad3,one could see iPad2 price down to at $300 levels. Android is an example of a strong competitor which has failed to create any impact in the consumer segment. The “Apeing Apple” strategy has not worked for Android (see image below). This is perhaps clear with the “missing in action” response that Ice-cream Sandwich has garnered post luanch.(A .6% presence inspite of Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG device makers pushing it). With the consumer segment taken by Apple and Amazon, there is little left for others. There are options of deep penetrative pricing as practiced by HP and Blackberry, but that doesnot translate in profits and viable business cases.
In 2012, tablet makers will have to go the “enterprise route” to find a foothold in a market which is fast polarizing towards Apple and Amazon.Again this will include a eco-system approach which will include application makers, cloud, telecom operators, MVNOs, value added service providers and other linkages with industries, Operators, functions and solutions which might always not strictly be from within the industry.
Device makers will need to decide which enterprise purposes can be supported by their tablets. The key drivers of successes in enterprises will be Optimization for specific use cases. I am listing out a 7 point use case optimization-
1. The stylus will emerge as an important input method which would enable consumers to annotate, make handwritten notes,
2. Similarly, voice enabled input could be a critical feature for creating compelling user experience
3. Tablet makers will need to drive development of apps and services optimized and uniquely well-suited for enterprise uses
4. Tablet makers will need to enable cross-platform interorperability between phones(smartphones), PCs, back-end legacy systems. Prima Facie, Microsoft has an edge in this.
5. Tablet makers will need to heed to security and piracy as key concern areas when addressing enterprise requirements
6. Device makers will need to Promote peripherals and ancillary services such as keyboard, cloud based services, pairing between office peripherals such as photo-copiers, scanners, servers etc in form of partnerships, shared GTM programs etc.
7. Device makers will have to evolve a new device lifecyle revenue model which balances the CAPEX, OPEX and service costs for optimum margins and sustained profitabilities.
2012 will see a lot of tablet device makers explore the enterprise segment as a viable and sustainable business case. The sooner the better.
Apps are the IN thing: here and now. Apple’s “There is an app for that” commercial says it all about the ubiquitousness of apps. With the huge success of apps stores for consumers, one idea that every app store is mulling around is extending the “app store” concept to enterprises.
Consumers love Apps because it allows them to find, purchase, deploy, use and maintain applications in an amazingly easy way. And because the consumers are searching and buying, they’re likely to frequently use and buy more applications. The concept has been wildly successful for Apple, and now it’s being extended to people with other brands of smartphones. This success has raised an obvious question from consumers who are also users of enterprise software: Why can’t it be this easy at work?
Most organizations have more applications than they know what to do with. Wouldn’t this conceptual model help us organize, deploy and maintain apps more easily? And wouldn’t being able to track downloads and usage help us plan better for the apps in which we should invest more, perhaps even the ones we should be sunsetting? It’s a very compelling idea, one that software vendors and service providers are thinking about to help sell more software and/or services.
However, the field realities for a consumer versus enterprise app store are vastly different. There are a few hurdles that must be overcome to make this idea work which stem from the differences between how the consumer app-store model works and the reality of enterprise apps for most organizations:
The issue of Homogeneity versus Heterogeneity
Much of consumer app popularity is possible because one company (Android, Apple, Ovi, RIM) controls just about every aspect, except for the actual code development. Unfortunately, enterprise software doesn’t work that way — companies have a wide variety of platforms and technologies underpinning their app portfolios. The first hurdle is to try to replicate the app-store usability in a heterogeneous environment without breaking the bank on development and integration costs. It would also require a level of cooperation between vendors that, to say the least, has been difficult to achieve.
Independent versus Integrated Apps
While there is no necessity what so ever to integrate apps for consumer use (why to integrate Calorie Count with TV times?), in an enterprise environment, it is very important to combine apps much the same way as different parts of an ERP chain. So the app store must accommodate the need for information sharing across discrete applications and maintain it seamlessly for end users. Maintaining integrations between enterprise apps is hard enough when IT controls the release cycles.
How to aggregate and deploy the content in an enterprise app store? The mobile app-store model has a very controlled deployment model, where the provisioning, billing and maintenance are handled by one vendor. Most organizations today, are likely to have a mix of apps that are on premises and in the cloud. Those wanting to pursue an enterprise app store must develop a standardized approach for provisioning these apps to end users when the apps may reside in distributed locations and have very different license agreements. Keeping track and ensuring license compliance will be critical to make sure your app vendor doesn’t come knocking at the end of the year with a huge bill
The goals and intentions behind an enterprise app store are good ones: Make software easier to deploy and consume for end users. The reality of making this work is another matter entirely. Many software vendors are using platform as a service (PaaS) as a way to deliver their and their partners’ apps in a consistent and structured way. Service providers are exploring what some call “service marketplaces” to deliver more choices and easier consumption for customers. It is expected that vendor and service provider communities to drive some interesting innovations in the next 12 months to start clearing some of these hurdles. However, in the current scenario there is little or nothing to drive Enterprise apps and its adoption, very unlike the consumer apps.
Tablets were the hottest category this CES and that’s with a reason. As against Laptops, PCs and Netbooks which have a single digit growth forecasts (Forrester), the most conservative estimate puts the tablet category at a growth trajectory of 27%. The numbers could be as high as 73%.
What started as a consumer focused gadget and category is starting to spread its wings into the enterprise segment. In the consumer segment, the Tablets are fast becoming an integral to a digital lifestyle. Apple quite simply leads head and shoulders above others in terms of an integrated digital media space. Google’s Android is the only other platform that had the best shot at giving Apple iPad a run for its money. The start delivered by Samsung Galaxy Tab was shot in the arm. CES launches: Motorola Xoom and the T-Mobile G-Slate — will be strong competitors to the iPad, at least for consumer use. While Google has a tough task trying to maintain the sanctity of its multiple versions which is fragmenting the Android platform, the Android tablets also are some distance off the enterprise segment.
Usage @ Enterprise Segment: As consumers adopt tablets, they will undoubtedly want to use their personal tablets to access enterprise systems from outside of the office. individual behavior for helping the iPad make its way into businesses. Sales teams and employees that already have remote access to enterprise systems will seek to drag their personal tablets onto enterprise IT networks from outside the office.Buyers seeking to use personal tablets for occasional work purposes aren’t ready to ditch their work PC or laptop. Rather, they would augment their work machines with personal tablets to access email, calendar, and enterprise Web applications when not at work and not accessing the laptop.It’s important to note that while the tablet will be a personal device, the ability to use it for work purposes when needed will factor into purchase decisions.
Enterprises will resist user requests for accessing enterprise systems from personal tablets, citing enterprise security, administration, and management requirements. Device vendors will work to address these enterprise needs, while balancing against the backlog of consumer-focused used demands. When they do, IT will, at times grudgingly, accept personal tablets onto the network.
The iPhone and iPad’s growth in the enterprise followed this trend. Android tablet adoption in the enterprise is likely to tread the same path. However, compared to that of Apple, Google’s readiness in the enterprise category is far behind.The Moto Xoom doesnot mention enterprise readiness in its website. Synching, Securit, Enterprise-level networking has not been the top priority in the Android tablets.
The simple and effective manner in which Apple is communicating the iPad’s business-readiness, “Mac in the Enterprise” for instance, if even for occasional usage, deserves not just kudos: It begs for imitation from Android device makers.