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Mar 21, 2011

Trying to Stay Sane at Mobile Madness!

The Xconomists are one of the most talented and connected bunch around. The second annual Mobile Madness event did not disappoint the over 300 attendees who showed up. I was on the panel with Mort Rosenthal, CEO of Enterprise Mobile, Ken Singer, CEO of Ondeego, and Santiago Becerra, CEO of MeLLmo (Roambi) and the conversation was intense - both partner and competitors strapped in for a great talk - heated at times but all good/open discussion as to the future of enterprise mobile Apps and the future of the Enterprise App Store.

Three major points I’d like to make here:

1. Business to Employee Apps MUST be killer.

Your Apps need to be as good if not better then the Apps people are getting off the consumer App store. A warning to Enterprise who are considering building mobile Apps: THIS IS A ONE AND DONE SCENARIO - DONT BUILD CRAPPY APPS FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES.

For instance leveraging location Metadata is KEY and should be used to make Apps smarter for your employees. The killer sales App automatically knows when you drive into a customer parking lot, queries your SAP/Oracle/ CRM data and displays the last 5 orders from that customer, builds a custom presentation that you present off your iPad, offers up the latest tidbits of info coming off the social nets regarding the product, and maybe even provides some just-in-time training with "life lines a la who wants to be a millionaire" (phone a PM - connects you to the product manager in your company that is responsible for the stuff that your are selling!), links to PDF that automatically highlights new feature sets, etc.

2. Crowd sourcing for Killer B2E App ideas.

Your employees can be the absolute best resource for killer App ideas. Genentech, Kraft, GE and other innovators have put out the formal "Call for Innovation in Mobile" and gotten back really transformative ideas that will no doubt improve the lives of their employees through Apps.

The key to crowd sourcing is WIIFM – What’s In It For Me - besides the company building killer Apps for employees - they also need to be compensated for these ideas - so give-aways like iPads, iPhones, etc. make great perks for great ideas. I have even seen companies give away dozens of Macbook Pros for employees who want to build their own Apps and contribute them to the company in the name of productivity!

There are several great resources for this and my favorite is Appswell. Call Dan Sullivan at Appswell and he will help you understand how to leverage the collective intelligence of your workforce through this type of B2E crowd sourcing.

3. Enterprise App Stores

Four years ago Apple proved that the "App Store" is the de-facto standard for deploying and managing mobile Apps. I remember back to the TREO days trying to download Apps off the internet and pulling my hair out (insert picture here - I have none left!) trying to remember where all these URLS were for all the Apps I downloaded. Each App had to be updated separately and that required going back to the website and, at times, even entering in all my contact info again - nasty stuff. Today your company must leverage the EASE (pun intended) of use you get by setting up a great B2E App store that is a total “win win” for both your IT staff and your mobile workforce.

IT gets a fully secure/enterprise integrated environment to create, deploy and manage in-house Apps and employees getting that "no instructions required" way to get internal Apps over the air anytime they need to within the Enterprise App Store paradigm.
* * *
The industry is clearly moving from B2C Apps to B2E Apps in a big way. I have been banging the "ubiquitous enterprise mobility gong" since I was Director of Enterprise at Apple and now, spurred mostly by iPad, Enterprises are taking mobile strategies built over the past 3 years, and really diving into B2E App development this year. I am thrilled to have gotten Apperian into such a great position to help companies accelerate these efforts to build both killer Apps for employees using our enterprise SDK for IOS and Android and then deploy and manage them securely using EASE.

Thanks again to Wade Roush and the fantastic team over at Xconomy for inviting me to this event. Here is to staying sane until the next Mobile Madness!


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