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Dan Turchin

The App Store Phenomenon

Posted by Dan Turchin Sep 29, 2009
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-by Dan Turchin, chief executive officer and co-founder of Aeroprise. Follow Dan on Twitter.

 

I was on a panel last week about mobile app stores at the Silicon Valley China Wireless Tech Association’s Annual Conference. Dev Khare from Venrock moderated the discussion and Luke Bao from China Mobile, Curtis Sasaki from RIM, Brian Vogelsang from Qualcomm, Mark Anderson from HipLogic, and Charles Yu from hiSoft participated. The central questions: what does the democratization of mobile information - heralded by the rise of the app store - say about the future of our mobile lifestyle? What does the elimination of (now-clichéd) walled-gardens mean for everyone in the mobile value chain: developers, carriers, handset manufacturers, and end-users?

 

Thought I’d share a few impressions from my prep and what I learned from the panelists. First, by the numbers: five major stores have been announced to date. All are chasing Apple’s wildly popular, wildly successful App Store. To wit: can you name any of the others? They are BlackBerry’s App World, Google’s Android Market, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Marketplace, and Palm’s webOS Application Catalog.

 

Apple’s App Store now has more than 85,000 applications submitted by more than 20,000 publishers and receives more than 2,000 submissions per week (new apps plus updates). 40 full time Apple-employed reviewers vet about 1,000 applications weekly and the average wait time for approval (or rejection) is about 13 days. There’s currently a backlog of about 15,000 apps pending review – growing at about 1,000 per week. And as of this week two billion apps have been downloaded, or roughly 37 per device.

 

So why should you care? Well, in the enterprise we technically don’t care about app stores. In fact, most of our thinking about them is confined to figuring out how they get uninstalled or disabled. They present massive security threats and make managing mobile devices infinitely more difficult. They’re poorly designed for client-server applications, aren’t policy-based, aren’t cross-platform, and don’t support internal custom apps.

 

But those are all reasons not to care, you say. What gives? First off, in the future there will be enterprise-oriented, private app stores. They may or may not be better than current app distribution methods like the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) but they’ll exist. More important, whether you love, hate, use, or ignore app stores they’ll continue to reinvent how we use mobile devices. And because mobile will play a prominent role in your personal and professional future, you should care about them.

 

Here’s an analogy: the internet existed before broadband but it was a novelty. We (that’s the royal “we” in the geek chic community) used it for IRC, bulletin boards, and primitive file sharing. As dial-up connections were replaced, the internet changed. It became interactive, colorful, and dynamic – the hub of digital lives that didn’t exist before.

 

Mobile is undergoing that same shift – from pimply teen to varsity quarterback – only this time it’s more dramatic, it’s happening faster, and it was triggered by the rise of app stores. All of a sudden, handhelds are computing devices that are also phones. They’re judged less by whether or not they have a speakerphone and more by their strength as platforms for social networking, e-commerce, gaming, and business. The pace of change will only accelerate in the next few years – and app stores will continue to define the mobile experience.

 

A video of the panel discussion is available as a link from this blog post on iphonasia.com.

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.

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-by Dan Turchin, chief executive officer and co-founder of Aeroprise. Follow Dan on Twitter.


Never Go Thirsty Again

 

I heard this story from a public utilities customer last week: a key node on their SAN that stores customer data for use by the billing system was approaching capacity. Through a nifty BMC Capacity Management-Change Management integration, it spawned a change request that was routed to a change manager with budget authority to approve the $10,000 worth of additional storage required. That's where the process broke down.

 

The approval never made it to the assigned delegate and instead sat in a queue while the manager vacationed in Rome. While he was en route to Tuscany, the SAN reached capacity and the approval request grew moss. While he sipped Chianti, the financial system went down. While he pontooned, 11,000 customers had their water shut off because late payments weren't processed. While he boarded to return, the CIO asked for heads on platters before being told their new mobile change approval system would prevent this from ever happening again.

Rewind the clock. What should have happened? Mobile change approvals are powerfully simple. With a click or two from anywhere in the world on a BlackBerry or mobile phone, basic requests receive basic replies in real-time: approved or rejected. Approvers have wireless access to full request history including details about underlying assets and their business impact. In the future, our utility friends will have mobile workflow that spawns mobile approvals that escalate until a response is received when an urgent reply is required. Delegates can't shirk responsibility, priority events are appropriately identified, and critical systems never fail for lack of timely response.

Sad but true: this customer said they routinely have requests that sit untouched for weeks. With mobile approvals, they should sit no more than an hour. Currently, 85% of downtime is caused by unplanned changes or failure to react quickly to planned ones. That should go down at least an order of magnitude within weeks. All of this will be accomplished with no new investment in infrastructure and only minimal retraining. And most important, it will turn wasted time - waiting in line, commuting, etc. - into productive time for their busiest people.

 

This is not a technology project. It's a business project facilitated by mobile technology. The kind of project that was foreign two years ago, is a hot topic today, and will be standard practice in the years ahead.


Click here for more information about Mobile Change Management from Aeroprise.

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.

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-by Dan Turchin, chief executive officer and co-founder of Aeroprise. Follow Dan on Twitter.

 

 

Why is RIM's (NASDAQ: RIMM) ascension to the top spot on Fortune's Fastest Growing Companies (FGC) list a landmark event for IT? In part, because we put them there. But mostly because it validates what we've known for years: mobile applications are big. Big like the end of cubeville. Big like no more calls to the help desk or triage-gone-awry downtime. Big like the IT guy is Einstein with piercings.

 

But first, some historical perspective. The FGC list typically reads like the warning label on rat poison. To get on it, either drill for something scarce and toxic or sell loads of something that kills people slowly. Until this year. RIM hasn't cracked the top 20 in any of the past five years. Only one of the last five winners (Yahoo! in 2005) is a tech company. But now, enter mobile applications. Enter a year when Grandma bought a smartphone. Enter a year when applications made mobile devices THE must-have business tool. And all of a sudden the top spot goes to the company that is synonymous with the new way IT services get delivered. No surprise but certainly a landmark event.

 

Remember: what distinguishes the BlackBerry from all other handhelds isn't that the Governator uses one or Bono (Apple traitor) sings about them or half of all ever sold in the past decade shipped in the past year. What distinguishes BlackBerry from iPhone and other contenders is that it's the mobile platform for business. One that has been wildly successful because of how IT has stretched and pulled it into so much more than an email device.

 

Five years ago, you were at a disadvantage if you didn't have a mobile phone. Three years ago, if you didn't have mobile email. Two years ago, if you didn't text. This past year, if you weren't using mobile apps. From now on, it's mobile line of business applications that will separate organizations with a pulse and a future from everyone else.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.

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