- Will MEAP become a commodity? Yes, if it forces developers into proprietary software.
- Pure-play Kony differentiates on innovation and use of industry standards/open source technologies.
Now that mobility is mainstream, does the current mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP) market model risk becoming like a commodity service? There’s no way that MEAP is a market area that no longer innovates or experiences upheaval, outside of downward pricing pressures. However, the concern is for those mobile app platforms that restrict developers to the confines of proprietary software with no way to add open source tools. This boxed-in approach risks becoming like a commodity service, incapable of innovating. Fortunately, leading mobile app platform providers realize this and have been moving towards open standards, such as JSON and REST services, supporting developers’ desire to use open source tools for app development/deployment involving infrastructure, tool sets, plug-ins, and development languages.
While traditional middleware providers IBM and SAP primarily differentiate their mobile app platforms as being a component of a more comprehensive, mature portfolio including security and lifecycle management, pure-play providers need to differentiate not only on product quality, but also by integrating as many disparate systems as possible in embracing open standards.
Earlier this month I attended Kony World in Orlando and noted Kony’s emphasis on proving its platform is not moving towards becoming a commodity service, but has evolved to address key innovations, such as backend integration, using industry standards and open source technologies. Kony’s design tool, for example, illustrates some of its innovative qualities, helping to keep Kony competitively positioned. The Kony Visualizer toolset provides app designers with a way of prototyping or previewing native and HTML5 mobile apps, collaborating with other members of the team, and once done, passing the app on to the developer to build functionality via the cloud such as MBaaS for connecting the mobile app with various data sources.
Kony will be talking a lot more about its MBaaS capabilities in the next few months, but in a nutshell, its offering includes security (encryption, authentication), backend integration, push messaging, synchronization or offline capabilities, service orchestration, and device detection for providing appropriate services to a particular device. Considering the bulk of the work around mobile app development entails backend integration, innovations such as MBaaS will ensure MEAP offerings do not become commodities.