The future of the North American mobile enterprise applications market depends heavily on the ability to define and wirelessly deliver valuable data to an expanding array of devices and connections. Four premium mobile data applications that have been developed for the enterprise sector will be key components in growing mobile communications usage, revenues, and profitability over the coming years. These include handset-based mobile resource management (MRM), mobile sales force automation, mobile office email and PIM, and mobile field asset management.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (wireless.frost.com), 2009 North American Mobile Enterprise Applications Outlook, finds that these premium solutions earned carrier-generated revenues of over $2.3 billion in 2008, and estimates this figure will reach $10.3 billion in 2013.
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"Carriers and vendors recognize the enterprise as a high-value customer and therefore are actively working with vendors to develop and promote attractive mobile data solutions for this segment," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Jeanine Sterling. "At the same time, business customers are beginning to see the benefits of mobilizing already-established corporate systems such as CRM, inventory management, and payroll, and are looking for outside expertise and assistance to make this happen."
More market-oriented carriers and vendors understand that successfully selling premium mobile solutions into the workplace will have several attractive benefits. Compared to the consumer segment, the enterprise segment offers less price elasticity, which eases the pressures on vendors to discount prices. After the purchase has been made, enterprise customers tend to display more stickiness and less churn.
Thus, premium mobile enterprise applications can present a striking win-win scenario, enabling vendors and channels to create more mobile connections and drive up data average revenue per user (ARPU). Business customers leverage and optimize their previous investment in critical back office systems by extending this functionality into the field and onto the mobile worker's handset.
However, end users are apprehensive about the cost of these premium services. In fact, according to a Q1 2009 Frost & Sullivan survey of North American IT decision-makers, cost is cited by interested parties as the most prominent barrier to uptake.
"Whether these cost concerns are a temporary reflection of current tough economic conditions or a deeper failure in vendor and channel marketing strategy, concerns regarding implementation costs and return on investment (ROI) form a very real purchase inhibitor," explains Sterling. "Neutralizing customer worries about implementation expense should be a top priority for premium enterprise application channels. This task should be addressed on two fronts: first, by getting creative with the solution's actual pricing strategy; and, secondly, by more effectively marketing the solution's ROI story."
The hosted software as a service (SaaS) arrangement that is available for many of these premium mobile applications allows business customers to pay for the software and data usage on a pre-defined and affordable monthly per-user basis. However, if the application requires an upgrade to more powerful mobile devices, this can incur a sizeable one-time expense. Substantial systems integration requirements would similarly entail high expenditure.
Vendors should look for creative ways to lower large upfront hardware or backend integration investment, possibly by spreading these costs across the solution's ongoing per-month price point. Aggressive marketing and promotion efforts should then showcase the straightforward productivity gains, expense reduction, and customer satisfaction benefits that this family of premium mobile solutions provides.
2009 North American Mobile Enterprise Applications Outlook is part of the Mobile and Wireless Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: Consumer Location-based Services, Mobile Banking, and Mobile Content. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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2009 North American Mobile Enterprise Applications Outlook / N518