Analyst Perspective: To Build Or To Buy

By  Jeff Goldman — June 11, 2010

This is the latest in a series of in-depth interviews with industry analysts, discussing their perspectives on key issues related to BlackBerry devices.

Samir Sakpal is Program Manager for North American Mobile & Wireless at Frost & Sullivan, focusing on emerging trends, technologies and market dynamics in the mobile and wireless communications industry in North America. Sakpal's research studies at Frost & Sullivan have covered several areas of mobile communications, including MVNOs, mobile messaging, and mobile enterprise markets.

Sakpal says it's important to keep in mind that the world of enterprise mobile apps is still in a relatively nascent stage. "What we've seen over the last one and a half to two years is that... comprehensive end-to-end solutions and enterprise application platforms have made it easier for enterprises to deploy both out-of-the-box third party applications and homebred custom applications," he says.

And Research In Motion's introduction in April 2010 of enhanced Java and web development tools, Sakpal says, was key to encouraging enterprises to build their own customized applications. "The web-based tools [will] help developers to look at RIM as a more user-friendly kind of platform to build their own application... and I think enterprises will now start to generate the right level of interest in developing their own apps," he says.

Third party providers, Sakpal notes, are helping in that effort as well. "From an app deployment perspective, platforms that are being fronted by someone by Antenna or Sybase are very helpful in creating a more comprehensive, end-to-end platform deployment solution for enterprise... those platforms are critical in managing everything on the same scale," he says.

The decision of whether to purchase a prepackaged application or to build one from scratch, Sakpal says, often comes down to the size of the company itself. "Cost is a major factor for building your owns apps versus perhaps buying something that is available out of the box and can fulfill your larger objectives," he says.

Regardless, Sakpal says, turning to a cloud-based offering can be a good way to explore your options before taking on the expense of building a custom app. "Applications for key functionality areas can be made available through a SaaS-based model... [which] gives IT organizations the ability to first get to understand how these apps are working out for them, and how much it really is benefiting their bottom line ROI," he says.

Particularly in the current economy, that's a key consideration. "Once you get into the larger deployment mode, you want to make sure that you're getting the required ROI benefits from your deployments... Not just from a cost perspective, but even from a manageability perspective, you want to know how it's going to shape up in terms of managing those apps," Sakpal says.

To that end, Sakpal says it's crucial to keep in mind that the mobile device marketplace is changing as well. "It wasn't too long ago when you talked about enterprise mobility that you knew, 'Okay, this enterprise is a BlackBerry shop,' 'This is a Palm shop'... and today, employees are walking in and saying, 'This is my phone -- make it compatible for whatever I need to use it for in the enterprise space,'" he says.

And that kind of fragmentation, Sakpal says, is only going to increase over time. "Companies are now almost being made to allow personal-liable devices into the enterprise space... so you have to build apps which would be compatible with different operating systems," he says.

Enterprises also, of course, have to ensure that their employees actually use the new apps. "Mobility in the enterprise space being as nascent as it is, the biggest challenges they face... [are] being able to build scalable and robust applications, being able to effectively deploy those applications -- and then obviously the challenge of managing them at a level where users will continue to use those applications," Sakpal says.

And ultimately, while the majority of companies are currently turning to out-of-box solutions, Sakpal says that's likely to change. "It's just a matter of time until they realize that, yes, this is something we can do -- and they'll start building their own apps," he says.
 
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Analyst Perspective: To Build Or To Buy

By  Jeff Goldman — June 11, 2010

This is the latest in a series of in-depth interviews with industry analysts, discussing their perspectives on key issues related to BlackBerry devices.

Samir Sakpal is Program Manager for North American Mobile & Wireless at Frost & Sullivan, focusing on emerging trends, technologies and market dynamics in the mobile and wireless communications industry in North America. Sakpal's research studies at Frost & Sullivan have covered several areas of mobile communications, including MVNOs, mobile messaging, and mobile enterprise markets.

Sakpal says it's important to keep in mind that the world of enterprise mobile apps is still in a relatively nascent stage. "What we've seen over the last one and a half to two years is that... comprehensive end-to-end solutions and enterprise application platforms have made it easier for enterprises to deploy both out-of-the-box third party applications and homebred custom applications," he says.

And Research In Motion's introduction in April 2010 of enhanced Java and web development tools, Sakpal says, was key to encouraging enterprises to build their own customized applications. "The web-based tools [will] help developers to look at RIM as a more user-friendly kind of platform to build their own application... and I think enterprises will now start to generate the right level of interest in developing their own apps," he says.

Third party providers, Sakpal notes, are helping in that effort as well. "From an app deployment perspective, platforms that are being fronted by someone by Antenna or Sybase are very helpful in creating a more comprehensive, end-to-end platform deployment solution for enterprise... those platforms are critical in managing everything on the same scale," he says.

The decision of whether to purchase a prepackaged application or to build one from scratch, Sakpal says, often comes down to the size of the company itself. "Cost is a major factor for building your owns apps versus perhaps buying something that is available out of the box and can fulfill your larger objectives," he says.

Regardless, Sakpal says, turning to a cloud-based offering can be a good way to explore your options before taking on the expense of building a custom app. "Applications for key functionality areas can be made available through a SaaS-based model... [which] gives IT organizations the ability to first get to understand how these apps are working out for them, and how much it really is benefiting their bottom line ROI," he says.

Particularly in the current economy, that's a key consideration. "Once you get into the larger deployment mode, you want to make sure that you're getting the required ROI benefits from your deployments... Not just from a cost perspective, but even from a manageability perspective, you want to know how it's going to shape up in terms of managing those apps," Sakpal says.

To that end, Sakpal says it's crucial to keep in mind that the mobile device marketplace is changing as well. "It wasn't too long ago when you talked about enterprise mobility that you knew, 'Okay, this enterprise is a BlackBerry shop,' 'This is a Palm shop'... and today, employees are walking in and saying, 'This is my phone -- make it compatible for whatever I need to use it for in the enterprise space,'" he says.

And that kind of fragmentation, Sakpal says, is only going to increase over time. "Companies are now almost being made to allow personal-liable devices into the enterprise space... so you have to build apps which would be compatible with different operating systems," he says.

Enterprises also, of course, have to ensure that their employees actually use the new apps. "Mobility in the enterprise space being as nascent as it is, the biggest challenges they face... [are] being able to build scalable and robust applications, being able to effectively deploy those applications -- and then obviously the challenge of managing them at a level where users will continue to use those applications," Sakpal says.

And ultimately, while the majority of companies are currently turning to out-of-box solutions, Sakpal says that's likely to change. "It's just a matter of time until they realize that, yes, this is something we can do -- and they'll start building their own apps," he says.
 
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