This week, App47 turns two. It’s cause for celebration on a few fronts. At a pragmatic level, we’re simply proud to have launched a successful company. We started in the teeth of the Great Recession, and to reach a point where we are truly thriving is worth shouting about.
Beyond the fact that we’ve made it, so to speak, is the reason driving our success — which amounts to a well-calculated gamble on mobile application management (MAM) being embraced by enterprise.
The “Eureka” moment came at the end of 2010. For years I have enjoyed a tremendous entrepreneurial partnership with Sean McDermott (App47 founder and current CEO of WindwardITS). In 2009, Sean and I had sold an enterprise-focused company, and were eager to try our luck in the consumer world. We were well versed in building mobile apps, stem to stern, and looked forward to seeing how that knowledge translated. But after about a year, our experiment in the consumer marketplace made one thing abundantly clear: Sean and I were not consumer guys. We were enterprise guys and that’s where we were going to flourish.
The breakthrough came when I realized that the enterprise development mentality was not yet being applied to mobility — specifically to mobile apps. We liked to build mobile apps, but we lost the usual visibility we had on other enterprise dev efforts — the ongoing communication and consistent monitoring during the course of the dev lifecycle and as the apps moved into production. Mobile apps, I was thinking, are just another innovation, they’re not immune to good developmental process or performance management expectations. What if we set up a platform charged with managing just that need?
I took the core idea to Sean: How do I instrument my application to better serve customers? He raised the stakes, adding the notion of enterprise mobility adoption, and our guiding principle emerged: As the enterprise adopts mobility (think smartphones and tablets) realization of ROI was going to be in the apps themselves, not the devices. Enterprise would need, indeed would soon demand, the appropriate systems management infrastructure. And so, App47 was born.
Fast forward to January, 2013. We’re having the right kind of conversations with more and more companies higher and higher up the food chain. And the thing is, they are the right kind of conversations. We’re no longer explaining what we do like we did 18 months ago; people understand that the enterprise is going mobile, and that apps are making it happen. There’s no need to convince decision-makers about the advantage of mobility and the need for smart app management. Companies are coming to us already informed and eager to make it happen. In short, we’re educating less and implementing more.
Today, we can claim 10+ million agents (on user devices). We’re processing 2000 events per second, 150 million per day, 4 billion per month! We’ve stood up more than 3,000 app stores, and more are opening constantly. So what are we looking forward to?
In terms of the enterprise mobile app market itself, I’m still determined to advocate for a more inclusive industry perspective. There’s a lot of adversarial posturing going on, MAM vs. MDM, Native vs. Hybrid, etc. Those kinds of showdowns are counter-productive IMHO. I think we need to maintain a “right tool for the right job” mentality. We need to remember that there are four pieces to this market called enterprise mobility management: MDM, Secure Container, MAM and Development. And not everyone needs all four.
When I hear some people say “MDM is dead,” for example, I raise an eyebrow (and I’m the biggest MAM advocate you can find!) MDM is still a smart approach for a lot of different reasons in a lot of different places. At App47, while we are MAM champions, we’ll still be the first to say that the lines around MAM, MDM, and Container are indeterminate. In truth, I think they all integrate to create a larger concept called Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). That shouldn’t be a competitive landscape; it should be a cooperative landscape.
That’s the point of view App47 will continue to advocate through 2013 and beyond. We’ll continue growing as MAM providers, and we’ll consistently advocate for that larger macro-view of enterprise mobility — EMM.
Bottom line? The past two years have been a blast, and we can’t wait for what’s next.