Mobile Computing Should Prove to Be a Boon for the Channel
While there may not be much profit in reselling mobile computing devices, the opportunities associated with reselling mobile computing applications is a whole different matter.
As organizations of all sizes become more comfortable with mobile computing devices they are starting to look for applications that leverage a near ubiquitous form of computing that requires very little training.
ClickSoftware Technologies, a provider of mobile workforce and service management software, this week launched ClickAppStore, where customers and solution providers can access a variety of business applications for mobile computing devices along with a visual development tool that makes it possible to integrate mobile applications with each other and back-office systems.
Gil Bouhnick, director of mobile solutions for ClickSoftware, says many of these applications will be used to replace paper-based processes and applications that were originally created for expensive proprietary mobile computing devices. In general, Bouhnick says that most companies decide which mobile computing platform they are going to use before they get around to thinking about what business applications they deploy on them.
But as mobile computing reaches a critical mass it’s clear that mobile applications represents a major growth area, which accounts for why companies such as SAP are moving to acquire mobile computing application providers such as Syclo, a provider of a suite of mobile computing applications. SAP envisions not only integrating those applications with SAP applications across the enterprise, but also integrating Syclo with the mobile computing middleware technology that SAP gained via its acquisition of Sybase.
To one degree Bouhnick concedes that ClickSoftware competes with Syclo, but Bouhnick notes that ClickSoftware has existing partnerships in place with SAP. When it comes time to engage customers, Bouhnick expects that any competitive issues will be set aside in the name of making the end customer happy.
In the meantime, solution providers have multiple mobile computing options. Besides reselling packaged applications solution providers can also opt to develop custom applications for customers. The tools for building these applications run the gamut from integrated development environments (IDE) and 4GL environments on one hand, to customizable application frameworks on the other.
What’s more than apparent right now is that customers are starting to think more about how mobile computing can be used to enhance specific business processes. That creates an unprecedented opportunity for solution providers that not only includes the mobile computing applications, but also updates to all the back end systems that will need to be upgraded to support these devices. In addition, mobile computing devices and applications bring with them a massive set of security issues that need to be addressed.
In short, every new mobile computing device that finds its way into a business environment is a potential boon for solution providers. In fact, mobile computing may prove to one of the best things that happened to the channel in recent memory regardless of whether or not solution providers ever resell a mobile computing device or not.