Saturday, September 01, 2012

Enterprise App for the Masses


I have been reading lately about the new trend for 2013 in app development will be Enterprise Applications. As the Weopedia describes it: "An enterprise application is the term used to describe applications -- or software -- that a business would use to assist the organization in solving enterprise problems. When the word "enterprise" is combined with "application," it usually refers to a software platform that is too large and too complex for individual or small business use."

There is a big argument about how Enterprise App are going to become the norm in the future given the raise of Digital Natives (Update Nov 2012: Read this for an explanation on Digital Natives). Read this article (Digital natives and enterprise consumerization? It's simple as ABC) by Jonny Evans at CITEWorld about how (and why) the new generation (Digital Natives) are going to require a different type of Enterprise App, if you want more explanation.

I believe there is a big need for a simple plug-and-play Enterprise App that any medium and small business can implement. The need that I am describing is for small or less sophisticated business (i.e. Businesses in the developing world).


Imagine a tablet enterprise app (probably starting with iOS) that any IT guy can connect to the database of the company to extract few but key metrics from the company´s accounting system. Maybe even something as simple to converting an excel file to a beautiful dashboard in your iPad. Something that the executives, leaders and managers at the company will appreciate to see everyday in their tablets. We do not need to start with something very sophisticated (e.g. do not try to have an app that automatically links to the company´s database). If we make it pretty simple (e.g. linking the app dashboard to an excel that the IT guy can configure himself and linking it the app), the price for this app can be really inexpensive (thus my title: For the Masses).


Lets assume that we can charge something like $1 for each "client" app and $25 for each "server" app (Client–server model). The company will need one "server" app that is managed by the IT guy and multiple "client" apps for the managers. Lets assume that in average each company will have one "server" app and five "client" apps. That makes it $30 per company. If we think we can capture a million companies with this app we can generate $30M in revenues.

Now, it may make more business sense to sell it as a SaaS instead of a one-time sale but I am not sure how use to buying SaaS are small and medium business in developing countries. This business model will probably make more money if it ramps up. I am just afraid that it won´t catch fire without a large investment in marketing. The other model (one-time sale) it may more sense to have it catch fire. Maybe after it catches fire we can implement some additional services to the mix.