Like it or not, enterprise mobile apps should not be created equally.
Design and usage considerations aside, there may be many varying criteria for how enterprise mobility apps should be modeled, created, and perhaps licensed.
There are at least three emerging classes of enterprise mobility users: (1) industrial mobile users [industrial mobile devices within the four walls – with constantly working connections], (2) occasional mobile users [in-the-field or remote users on tablets or smart devices – dial-in or WiFi connections], and (3) casual mobile users [middle management or executive users on tablets or smart devices doing inquiries or approvals – dial-in or WiFi connections].
Major ERP vendors, like Oracle EBS and SAP, are in the development and roll-out process of extending the footprint of their ERP software to mobile devices. These ERP vendors contend that users of their software should be licensed regardless of how the information is accessed – from a desktop PC, a tablet, or a smart phone. Their licensing schemes to date for these new mobile ERP offerings seem to be gravitating towards a “transaction” specific license so that only the users with that specific mobile transaction need are licensed.
BYOD users have grown accustomed to downloading free or inexpensive apps with very cool interactive features. Imagine the sticker shock when downloaded ERP licensed apps cost hundreds or thousands of dollars for a single ERP transaction!
The jury is still out on how this per transaction licensing model will stand because this is an important economic consideration by IT departments as they try to manage, control, transfer, and contain the growing cost of Enterprise Mobility.
2 thoughts on “All Enterprise Mobile Apps Are Not Equal”
You bring up an interesting point about the per transaction pricing model. This variable pricing seems to be occurring more and more as companies try move away from “one size fits all” mentality. You see this most recently in the new pricing structure for the Disney parks (Magic Kingdom costs $5 more) and with the new Xbox and the additional fees associated with the system. It will be interesting to see how the average consumer reacts to these changes, and even more worthy of observation to watch how corporations respond. In this recovering economy, if companies feel they are being ripped off, like in your Enterprise Mobile App story, and they stop investing there could be potential national effects. Of course, it could just mean a shift back to a less technology-focused style of doing business.
Thank you for your comments Kellee. I want to clarify that the per transaction model is not a one-time event – like it would be for a consumer-based purchase; but, rather is is a specific “type or class” of repeatable transaction task that performs a single business function.
For example, a mobile Enterprise application might be for remote purchase order approvals by executives who travel. That is the only function this app does and it may interface with only one specific ERP purchase order program. The usage licensing is highly restricted and can’t be expanded.
The conceptual idea is that only those who need that app should buy it. If one wants a different function for a different ERP program, that one would be licensed separately, too. Eventually, I expect there will be a full menu of mobile ERP transactions by each ERP vendor that one will be able to purchase a-la-cart.