The New Enterprise Battleground: Scoring Todayâ??s Return on Mobility for Mobile App Platforms
With mobile, social and cloud technologies fusing at an increasingly rapid and disruptive rate, enterprises need to re-envision the applications supporting their business process as mobile and cloud-enabled to successfully affect the business transformation needed to be competitive in the modern digital economy.
However more than ever before, companies are facing a hugely dangerous mismatch between their existing IT architectures and services and the business need for innovation in the modern digital economy:
Legacy technologies and approaches: The majority of companies find themselves encumbered by legacy services, infrastructure, protocols, standards and thinking. Over time these have accreted into a technological estate fundamentally ill-suited to enabling new, more mobile and social business models.
SOA doesn't go far enough to empower enterprise IT: In an effort to gain greater agility, many companies adopted a service-oriented architecture (SOA) using HTTP Web services to expose the functionality of large business systems to other large systems and to desktop devices without the need for re-programming those systems or endpoints. SOA provides some benefits but hasn't provided new ways for companies to gain sustainable competitive advantage, as data is still locked up in systems-to-systems interactions that limit its ability to provide greater business value.
Traditional approaches limit innovation: Companies have had three choices to mobilise their processes. They either custom-developed applications, used a prebuilt "off-the-shelf" variant from a packaged application developer or enterprise software vendor, or used a mobile application platform. The first two do not provide ways for companies to scale their mobile innovation, and traditional platform approaches are also obsolete.
Old application platform approaches are obsolete: Just as traditional enterprise IT architectures prove limiting in the mobile era, so too do the traditional application development approaches. Through its emphasis on proprietary technologies, binary architectures and on-premise installations the MEAP model has become obsolete.
Mobility Turns Companies' Data into Inventory
The explosion of mobile devices, social networking applications and cloud services further solidifies the need for a new approach. The continuous immediacy of the mobile interface between a company and its users frees data from the internal systems housing it and in fact turns it into inventory. This requires enterprise IT to be measured in a new way - from evaluating the costs of internal systems to determining how continuous returns can be generated by recycling this "data inventory" to iterate new products and offer more compelling mobile services.
Companies Need to Measure the "Return on Mobility" from their Mobile Application Platform
In this shift, traditional financial metrics such as total cost of ownership (TCO) lose their relative value. New metrics need to be created to measure the impact on business success of continuous investments in this more agile and iterative cycle of product and service development. Affecting this shift, however, requires a new, more agile middleware. It is crucial for both vendors and procuring enterprises to demonstrate the Return on Mobility (RoM) that these platforms can provide.
Yankee Group has recently published two reports using real-world data from customers to score and rank ten different mobile application platform vendors - Adobe Phonegap, Appcelerator, Antenna Software, IBM, Kony, SAP, Salesforce's Force.com, Sencha, Spring mobile solutions and Xamarin. They were evaluated in terms of the current Return on Mobility they provide and the degree to which they are set up to provide a positive Return on Mobility in the future.
In doing so, a clear tier of RoM Contenders Salesforce and IBM emerges. SAP is not far behind in the Challenger tier, which also includes Sencha, Spring Mobile Solutions and Adobe PhoneGap. Part two of this research report offers a blueprint for future platform success and evaluates the same 10 vendors' current capabilities and vision against this blueprint to provide their future RoM score. Over the next three years, Salesforce, IBM and SAP will be challenged strongly by Appcelerator and Antenna Software.
To receive a copy of the Executive Summary for these reports please contact www.yankeegroup.com
Written by Chris Marsh, Principal Analyst at the Yankee Group