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To the pleasure of our Mobile
Device Brokers and Liquidation Pros, Mobile devices are quickly becoming the replacement for the enterprise PC.
But, that fact has both corporate IT departments and software vendors running to come up with ways to solve a a lot of issues.
From the enterprise IT perspective, the most common approach has been to standardize on just device type and build the infrastructure
and management layers around that particular device, usually RIM’s Blackberry and Blackberry Enterprise Server.
The huge growth
of smart phones and tablet PCs, all because of the success of Apple’s iPhone and iOS but
also Google’s Android operating system with HTC and Motorola leading the way with some
innovative mobile devices, has messed up this simple enterprise approach. Add to that the inclination of the new social employee
to work around IT and just do what it takes to get the job done and we have the makings of an enterprise mobile IT nightmare,
and that’s just on the hardware and OS end of it. The apps side of enterprise is in some ways in a lot more trouble.
Many of the traditional enterprise apps
are not mobile. Enterprise vendors have rushed to put together some limited apps that work on selected devices but in general
these apps are very limited in function and in some cases very light on experience especially when compared to the mobile
apps that are available for the iPhone and Android devices from the consumer side.
Mobile job workers need full
enterprise functionality but often end up mad and pissed off, and pulling around heavy and too large notebooks.
Vendors are struggling to get more functionality
mobilized and at the same time make some money at it and most mobile apps have been add-ons
for existing customers at little or no charge (of course that’s no surprise, if the features aren’t
there who’d pay for them anyway?).
There are basically a few ways that apps are getting into the hands of mobile workers. There’s the browser
approach, with vendors just reformatting some of the enterprise app into usable pieces.
The second is the virtualized
mobile desktop approach, which currently is enabled by a a few unique platforms. Basically, this makes any enterprise
app available to the mobile worker in a secure environment that doesn’t need features like remote device erase because
nothing resides on the mobile device.
This approach seems to make IT satisfied, although some apps are more usable than others. It is a very quick and
easy solution for businesses that can mobilize the entire set of enterprise apps today and works particularly well on the
iPad and other slate computing devices.
The last approach is to build and deploy
native apps for each OS. This is the most complex, especially if the vendor goes the way of building each one individually.
Making profit off these apps also isn’t necessarily a sure way. Native stand alone apps that are sold through the Apple App Store
or the Android Marketplace are making money, they’re not the issue. The issue is the apps that enterprise vendors are
pushing out to give some access to enterprise SW assets. Browser based apps are generally not apps that add enough value to
justify even smaller price tags and most often are “included” as value add to the original license.
Virtualization is great for the virtualization vendor and certainly
some are monetizing it, but of course the enterprise SW vendors don’t have opportunity there. Native apps really offer
the best opportunity from several perspectives, better user experience (potential for better UX
anyway), over time more functionality and easier to justify additional licensing fees (if the level of features and functions
is robust enough).
Expect to see many more native apps over the next few years, which should increase their value
and show growth for the enterprise apps vendors.
This means that Mobile Device Brokers will see a LOT of
valuable like new Mobile Devices in the IT Asset Disposal pipelines.
The last category is mobile middleware, something
that’s not too big, but very important to making businesses device run on its own. The middleware
provides the remote apps delivers, security and remote wipe capabilities, among other things. Many believe that this is a
category that should see excellent opportunity for growth as more businesses open up to supporting multiple devices and employee