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Productizing Tablets for Enterprises – The trade of between Productivity and Mobility

Posted in Enterprise Computing, Mobile Computing by Manas Ganguly on July 27, 2012

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!

The consumerization of enterprise

Posted in Enterprise Computing, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on July 14, 2012

Social Media may be a recent enough phenomenon, but it is making the elephants in enterprise dance.

The global enterprise software market which is currently valued at $280 bln is going through a full scale renaissance. Gone are the clunky, licensed business products once churned out by the likes of Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Up and coming are cloud-based, intuitive, software-as-a-service applications with social components created by a host of young, disruptive companies. And the big guys are now beginning to play game. In a spate of recent acquisitions, monies worth $2.25 bln have been spent by Enterprise majors to acquire start-ups providing a social platform.

The five factors driving this trend are as under

  1. Easy to use and intuitive UI to drive the next generation of business software.  Anyone who is aware of the Oracle enterprise systems would agree on how geeky it was and the man hours of training required to master Oracle. Deep down that trend is changing
  2. Software by definition has become a cloud based service piece as against a legacy thing that was bought, installed, integrated and resourced at enterprise. Licensing model led to build up of very heavy upfront costs and the need to maintain security and privacy at premises. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) instead treats software as a pay-as-you-go subscription, much like cable or phone service. Hardware and software is all centrally managed by the provider on cloud-based servers, including upgrades, backups and security
  3. The payment mechanisms are changing. As against a CAPEX led purchase earlier, SaaS solutions like Dropbox and LastPass percolate through the workplace organically, introduced casually by employees. If these apps indeed fill a niche, eventually CIOs take notice, opting into buying the enterprise versions. That’s the magic of the Freemium models.
  4. The Facebook approach in Enterprise is promising and delivering. The enterprise of today works across departmental silos with a lot of co-working and co-creation at hand. Collaborative project execution represents one of the most profound – and widely overlooked – advantages of new-generation enterprise software.
  5. Business computing goes mobile as BYOD soars. Availability of business critical data and information systems are hall-marks of new age mobility enterprises. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon lets employees circumvent and subvert clunky, legacy PCs bloated with yesterday’s enterprise software.

So even if the Facebook IPO bust plateau-ed out on Social, the integration of Social and enterprise has great promise. It promises to phase out a $600 billion legacy behemoth- on-premises software, data centers and PCs.

The Mobile & Social Enterprise space

Posted in Enterprise Computing by Manas Ganguly on July 11, 2012

Enterprises are moving fast especially with the BYOD phenomenon increasing in relevance. Enterprise computing is now evolving from a work space to any-where, any-time computing aided by the cloud, omnipresent across locations and devices and securitized in nature. Services which have augmented the Social and Mobile Enterprise experience include Yammer – a messaging tool for colleagues which allows companies to create a private social network for employees, document-sharing site Dropbox and project-management tool Basecamp.

Big guns such as Microsoft have increasingly moved to adapt its Office products – including Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, which generate about 50% of its profits – to an age where people work, share and communicate online. Microsoft’s Office 365, was the first big shift of its word processing products into the cloud. Documents are available over the internet and on a number of devices.

At the same time, Google is attempting its own challenge to Microsoft’s workplace crown with its Google Apps suite, which includes a web-based alternative to each Microsoft Office product.

With the consumerization of enterprise, enterprise majors are increasingly resorting to inorganic methods to augment their capabilities in the connected work space. The enterprise marketers of the 90′s and early 2000′s waited a long time before diving into social. Perhaps they wanted to see the sector prove itself and the social networks begin to cater to their needs through APIs as well as owned media presence platforms like Facebook Pages. Perhaps they believed they lacked the know-how to produce social marketing products themselves. In either case, giants like Oracle, Adobe, Microsoft and Webtrends have found themselves lagging behind, and without the months or years of lead time needed to build social marketing tools in-house. So we’ve seen a massive wave of consolidation as everyone tries to attain products in the four big areas of social marketing: publishing, advertising, applications, and analytics.

India’s enterprise software market (2012 thru 2016) – Gartner

Posted in Enterprise Computing by Manas Ganguly on June 11, 2012

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.

The Three Platform paradigm in connected future of technology

The future belongs to connected experiences over a large range of devices starting from Smartphone, Tablet, Networks and not limiting only to TV, Vehicles, Home appliances and more. As a new era of convergence sweeps in, increasingly its evident that the Apple, Android and Windows will lead this march of convergence into the future.

Apple leads by the experience example on a relatively modest number of its own devices. The key will be the experience factor which will power Apple as a high margin and profitable enterprise. The key challenge for Apple will be to enable experiences seamlessly across platforms and devices. Apple will not be in the game of out-innovating Android. It will be more about how well it is able to merge exepreince, interface with technology services on various platforms and devices.

Android will emerge as the mass vehicle. Being open and free will anchor a lot of innovation, some of it across some very new devices and interfaces. The key here is Android’s flexibility which will provide sound base for innovation across platform and devices. The challenge for Android will be in terms of providing a common user experience. There may not be any pure Android experience since innovation on various platforms will add to disintegration of the “pure” Android Interface and experience. This is both good and bad for Android (the Amazon example) because it would mean staying ahead of the curve at the cost of not having an interface as good as Apple.

Microsoft Windows will consolidate its Enterprise position and leverage its advantage across legacy platforms and security.  Microsoft however has been loose in bringing innovation to markets. For every Kinect, there is a surface which is not yet commissioned. However, Microsoft’s niche has to be the enterprise and with its Windows8 it is trying to establish credibility across mobility experiences. Microsoft may still be lagging the “killer app” in enterprise mobility- and a Balckberry acquisition can give it just that edge in terms of the Blackberry infrastructure. There are some reports of a acquistion afoot. Interestingly enough Blackberry has put off its QNX platform till end of 2012. If one wishes to read between the lines … a struggling Blackberry puts off QNX almost indefintely, a Microsoft is fishing for “the killer enterprise app”, RIM is a prime sell off target, Microsoft had evinced interest…. is the acquisition a near reality?? We shall see

The evolution of the Tablet PC Market: From Consumer to Enterprise

Posted in Enterprise Computing, Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 7, 2012

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.

HP’s Future: Of Cloud, Convergence, Applications and Analytics

HP is developing a portfolio of cloud services, from infrastructure to platform services, and will also deploy an open cloud marketplace combining a secure consumer apps store and an enterprise application and services catalogue. HP’s scalable, converged infrastructure and leadership in software, services, PCs and web-connected printers, is a huge advantage as going forward to define, deliver and run the truly connected world that spans cloud and connectivity, from the consumer through the enterprise.

The HP marketplace will integrate consumer, enterprise and developer services and will support multiple languages. The platform will be open to third-parties, although HP will vet applications for security and interoperability to maintain the integrity of the marketplace. The cloud service will also be device-aware, sending the appropriate services to the correct device; it will be intuitive and suggest applications the user might need. HP plans to build a full cloud stack and help customers to transition to hybrid cloud environments.

In the near future, the impact of cloud and connectivity is changing not only the user experience, but how individuals, small businesses and enterprises will consume, deploy and leverage information technology. HP also intends to be a leader in the area of connectivity through existing and upcoming context-aware consumer and enterprise devices.

The company plans to address real-time analytics for “big data,” the combination of structured and the much faster growing unstructured data set, the development of which HP’s pending acquisition of Vertica will help. The new “big data” appliance uses HP computing power combined with real-time, high-speed analytics from Vertica Systems. HP expects to have the HP-branded appliance ready for market in the second quarter of 2011. The proposed HP Vertica solution will offer a choice of delivery options – from appliance, to software, and in the cloud.

Why would enterprise apps be non-starters (for now)

Posted in Enterprise Computing by Manas Ganguly on January 16, 2011

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.

Deployment Issues
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

Summary
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 and Enterprise: How Apple leads Google

Posted in Enterprise Computing by Manas Ganguly on January 13, 2011

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.

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