Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Collaboration in a mobile first world - Tylr Mobile at CITE

I was flattered to participate in a panel yesterday at the CITE Conference (CITE =  “Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise”). The topic was “Collaboration in a Mobile First World”, featuring 4 mobile-first startups helping people work together on the go.

It was a fascinating discussion-- we covered what it means to be mobile first, what mobile first means to collaboration, and whether we’ll move from "mobile-first" to "mobile-only."

Mobile first is more building for a small screen

The panel agreed that “mobile first” means flipping the design pattern of enterprise systems on its head.

Think about CRM: Traditional CRM systems are a database of all your accounts and contacts, related to your open opportunities. You use a CRM by drilling down from an account to an opportunity to the people involved and, finally, to the open and recently completed activity history.

Our mobile-first apps for salespeople take completely the opposite approach. We start with the activity-- what you are trying to do right now to push your deal forward. Meeting with a customer? Responding to their email? Making a sales call? We ask how we can bring the right information and actions from all your different enterprise systems to help you get that action done… now. On a small screen. With one hand.

An app built for “one-handed workflow” is so fundamentally different that it has to be created from scratch. It actually hurts you to start with have the legacy design patterns of an app built for desktop usage.

Mobile brings collaboration to your workflow vs. forcing you to “be social”

A panel on collaboration 2-3 years ago would have been all about “social” enterprise apps. In yesterday’s panel, that word wasn’t even used. Later at the conference, Alex Rosen singled out enterprise social as the most over-hyped technology trend.

Today’s startups are focused on bringing collaboration into the tools people already use to work, not asking you to “be social” on an enterprise social network.

Our apps bring collaboration to phone calls and emails: Get an email, share it with the team. Finish a phone call, let your boss know about it.

That’s also true for the other startups on the panel: Cotap brings team and company-level mobile collaboration to traditional point-to-point messaging. Quip brings mobile collaboration to traditional files. RelateIQ brings mobile collaboration to sales relationships. All of us help people work with others on the go. None of us would describe ourselves as “social.”

From mobile first to mobile only

Today’s winners will be mobile-first. I closed the panel with a provocative prediction: Tomorrow’s winners will be mobile-only.

In the future, every workflow for every worker will start with a mobile experience. Why? Because the question “what should I do next” is one that your phone is uniquely positioned to answer. Based on who you are, where you are, who you are near, and what you want to get done today, your phone can trigger your next best activity.

Will we need to move to larger screens and different input devices to complete those activities? Sure. But mobile-only startups will be the winners as we transition to this new way of working together on the go.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mobile apps that help people flourish at work

Spring is in the air here in the San Francisco Bay Area-- despite our dry winter, it is remarkable to see everything around us flourish with the warm weather. Everything, it seems, except for people who feel "stuck" at work.

As part of our own day-to-day work, we get to observe people working in all sorts of organizational settings. Especially in the spring, we notice how few people truly flourish at their jobs.

After all, most of us love something at the core of our jobs-- that’s why we chose them. But everything around that core tends to poison the thing that we love. Paperwork, processes, procedures... all of these things drain the joy out of our work.

Unfortunately, technology has a tendency to make these things worse, not better. Most enterprise systems are built for companies, not for people, and brings us more and more things to log, approve, delegate or update.

This was bad when we were all spending most of our time at our desks, where all of this was manageable (barely). But now we are spending more and more time away from our desk, and it all gets pretty overwhelming. All that paperwork and all of those processes are now trying to get our attention through a 4 inch screen.

There's got to be a better way. Technology--- especially mobile technology-- should enable people to flourish at their jobs. Because when workers flourish, businesses flourish.

Imagine if you could work the way you wanted to work, wherever you need to work. All the paperwork, processes, and procedures just happen. You're able to focus on what it is that you love about your job.

Spring fever? Maybe. But we're working a portfolio of mobile work apps that we think will allow you to do just that...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Missing from AppsWorld: The potential for employee-facing mobile apps to enable business change

At AppsWorld over the last 2 days, there were two different camps talking about mobile app development.

Most of the conference was focused on consumer mobile apps. That camp is starting to think about their users as an “audience” to be engaged. The discussion was all about improving usability, simplifying onboarding, improving retention, reducing churn, unleashing virality, and iterative improvement on all these metrics. For folks building a company around their consumer mobile app, this is a matter of survival. Even for enterprises developing apps for their customers, there was a sense of “if we don’t do this, our competitors will.”

Discussion about employee-facing mobile apps had a very different tone. There was a grudging acknowledgement that employees expected to “BYOD,” but the rest of the discussion was about the needs of IT. How will these apps be developed, deployed, and monitored?

One panel featured enterprise IT developers building apps for both employees and for customers, highlighting this contrast. The panel was building native apps for their customers, to optimize the user experience-- usability was deemed too critical to do otherwise. Apps for employees? For all but one speaker, these were built as web apps, primarily to reduce cost. Sure, there’s an impact on usability. But as one speaker said off-stage, “what’s going to happen, are they not going to work here?”

Of course, there were exceptions. Paul Lanzi described managing an internal portfolio of over 100 employee facing apps when he was at Genentech. Kevin Neville described how United Rentals used an employee-facing app to improve the utilization of their fleet and reduce fuel costs.

But overall, mobile apps to enable employees felt like a chore vs. an opportunity. Let’s go through some of the obvious reasons why an attitude change might be in order:
  • Productivity: Usability isn’t just about aesthetics. Well designed, native mobile apps make it easier to make the most of the “micro-moments” that fill the day of your employees. Using those moments to be responsive to customers helps the company. Using those moments to check Facebook doesn’t. 
  • Compliance: If we make it hard for people to get their job done by giving them subpar mobile apps, they’ll switch to tools that better support the way they want to work. That puts corporate data into systems that IT hasn’t vetted for security and compliance. 
  • Transparency: When people work outside of our enterprise systems (or only use those systems when forced), we end up with lower quality data in those systems and less transparency into what’s really going on in our business. 
But this is just the beginning. As an industry, we’re just starting to see the potential for employee-facing mobile apps to do something much bigger: enable business change.

Changing a company’s direction is one of the biggest challenges in business. Whether it is rolling out a new product, selling to a new type of customer, or moving to a more efficient business process, business history is littered with well-intentioned changes that never leave the powerpoint page to become reality.

And where do these change become real? Literally, in the hands of your employees. That’s where your intended business change will either succeed or fail.

So think of those mobile “micro-moments” as “moments of truth.” Will your employees advocate your new product, or rely on the old offering? Will they follow the new operating procedure, or the way they’ve always worked? Will your employee live out your new values, or fall back on old habits?

What if you could be right there with your employees to help them through these moments of truth, no matter where they were working?

That’s the real potential of employee-facing mobile apps. Productivity, compliance, and transparency are a great starting point, but we won’t be realizing the potential of mobile work until we use them to as a tool to enable business change.

What does that look like? Stay tuned for more...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Facebook unbundled-- what it means for the enteprise

Zuckerburg's comments about the new Facebook mobile app strategy of "unbundling" has caused a lot of debate across the mobile ecosystem. What are the appropriate boundaries for an app? When does a "container" add value vs. detract value? And what can the enterprise learn from the experience of consumer app developers?

Facebook unbundled
Some background: as reported by Josh Constine in TechCrunch, Zuckerburg made the following remarks about Facebook's mobile app strategy in their earnings call:
For certain experiences, it’s always going to be kind of second-class in the main Facebook app. In order to make these things really be able to reach their full potential, I do think over time we’re going to have to create more specific experiences. We don’t know how far this goes. Right, obviously you don’t want to have 30 different Facebook apps. So we need to figure out exactly where that goes, but in general, I do think that you’re going to want to move towards more of these focused experiences over time."
Facebook has had some experience with this strategy, with mixed results. Two of their standalone apps, Camera and Poke, have not seen much traction compared to their "best of breed" competition, Instagram and Snapchat, leading to Facebook's interest in acquiring both companies. 

Facebook Messenger, on the other hand, is an example of how successful unbundling can be. Messenger got lost inside of the main Facebook app, and was redesigned as a standalone app. The standalone experience was prioritized--  if you have Messenger installed but tap the messages tab in the Facebook app, you’d be quickly app-switched to Messenger.

The result? They report that number of people using Messenger grew more than 70% in just three months, with a "large increase" in the number of messages sent. 

Another Case study: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an interesting case study in whether the same strategy applies to work-oriented mobile apps. LinkedIn has tried a number of different strategies for its mobile productivity apps:
  • Embedded: The LinkedIn Calendar is embedded within LinkedIn's other apps. Didn't know that LinkedIn had a calendar? You're probably not alone. You open a calendar app to see your calendar, not a social networking app. 
  • Standalone: The LinkedIn Contact app, on the other hand, is a standalone app. More successful? Unclear. Last quarter, it ranked #302 among business apps, according to Distimo, and doesn't appear in the top 50 results for "contacts" in the Apple App Store. 
  • Add-On: The LinkedIn Mail app (called "Intro"), is an add-on to a the native mail app. Setting aside the firestorm of security concerns, this is a new and unique approach. Has it gotten more traction than the standalone or embedded apps? The jury is out.
What does this mean for the enterprise?
In the enterprise, on the other hand, much of the interest has been focused on the concept of a container-- a separate partition for all your work-related apps. IT loves apps in containers. Containers makes it easier for IT to deploy, manage, and update apps. They make the deployment of custom enterprise apps much easier. And containers help keep enterprise data separate from personal data. 

The problem? From an end-user perspective, containers are like today's "swiss army knife" app that Facebook is moving away from. Facebook thinks people prefer standalone apps. There's some evidence that this will apply to workers as well. After all, workers don't see a hard separation between their personal life and their home life. They want to organize their mobile work however they see fit. If they wanted apps in a container, they would put them together in a folder. 

Our take? Someone will give the enterprise the best of both worlds. Workers should be able to work in native, standalone mobile work apps that are use-case driven: One place to go to respond to customer emails. One place to go to call prospects. One place to go to prepare for a sales meeting.

These different use cases, however,  are actually just different starting points for the same enterprise business process.  If I'm a salesperson, it doesn't matter whether I start with an email, a phone call, or a meeting-- my real goal is to take that next step forward in my sales process. 

That's why completely separate, "best of breed" apps aren't the answer either. In an enterprise setting, much is shared across my work activities. Each app shouldn't require its own separate security scheme, data policy, and extensibility framework. We need to keep these benefits of a container approach. 

The solution? We're working on it. We envision a suite of standalone mobile work apps, connected to the systems businesses needs to run, built on a flexible mobile platform that’s ready for the enterprise. Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Recapping a year of enterprise mobile work

We wanted to wrap up 2013 with a recap of what we’ve covered this year... our perspective on mobile work, the landscape of possible solutions, and the industry events that are driving us all forward.

Our perspective on mobile work comes from spending time with an incredible set of mobile workers from a variety of amazing businesses. We studyied how they work on the go, with the goal of identifying the problems with mobile work, and what we can do here at Tylr Mobile to fix it. Here’s what we learned… the top 5 problems with mobile work: We started with a look at the leading mobile productivity tool-- our mobile email inbox. Then, we laid out the problems with the bloated, hobbled apps that were built for enterprise IT, and the reasons why apps built for consumers aren’t a fit for the enterprise either. Then, we talked about the problems with silo’d mobile apps. Finally, we laid out why mobile work problems affect the entire organization: Every worker is mobile, mobile productivity affects organizational performance, and IT is struggling to fill the gap.

We’re not alone at identifying these problems, or trying to find solutions. Emergence Capital took a first pass at defining the emerging mobile business app landscape, based on conversations with over 100 early stage companies. Because they are so important to our customers, we also took a deep look at LinkedIn Intro and the new Salesforce 1 platform.

At a few key events this year, Many of these players gathered at a few key events this year to discuss these topics from a variety of angles. The first was Sales 2.X, where we joined 5 other startups presenting the future of sales and marketing. Next came DEMO Mobile, with a entire track on enterprise mobile productivity. Inbox Love is a small but growing conference for people who care about email. And of course, there is Dreamforce, which we covered primarily via twitter.

And of course, it has been a big year #1 for us at Tylr Mobile. Since we launched this blog with our vision for mobile work, we’ve announced our backing by the Alchemist Accelerator, Citrix, and Salesforce.com. We’ve launched our beta program, and are now 100% focussed on making our first handful of pilot customers wildly successful….. shoot me a note if you’d like to learn more!

Monday, November 18, 2013

One: Salesforce’s New Mobile App though the eyes of U2

Is it getting better?
Or do you feel the same? 

Will it make it easier on you now?
You got someone to blame ...

Salesforce.com kicked off their annual Dreamforce conference this morning with the availability of a new mobile app, called “Salesforce1.” So while Green Day might be playing the conference this year, we thought it was appropriate to take a look at “One” through the eyes of another band… U2.

Did I disappoint you? 
Up to now, Salesforce has maintained a portfolio of mobile offerings: Salesforce Classic, Salesforce Touch, Chatter Mobile, and a variety of “labs” products including the very popular Logger.

Chatter was the freshest app, but limited to consuming and interacting with Salesforce’s social feed. Classic was Salesforce’s first full native app, but was inflexible and slow to improve over time. Touch offered the flexibility of HTML5, but suffered from that technology’s issues with performance and offline access. The “labs” products were popular because they offered focussed access to specific functionality (e.g., logging meeting notes). The result of all this choice and experimentation? Some degree of customer confusion.

Did I ask too much? More than a lot...
Salesforce1 aims to end that. The name itself signals an ambitious attempt to bring all these efforts together, and its launch comes with the news that Touch will be discontinued (Classic will remain, as it still offers the best offline access).

One is an attempt to bring together the following things: the modern design of Chatter, the expanded CRM functionality of Classic, the extensibility of Touch (via HTML 5), and an increased focus on action, inspired by Logger.

And while we’re only a few hours in, our first impression is that, at the very least, Salesforce1 represents a much-welcomed rationalization of Salesforce’s mobile offerings today. It is a beautiful app, with impressive technology under the hood.

So, what does One mean for Salesforce’s mobile ecosystem?

We're one, but we're not the same
Salesforce1 doesn’t change the fact that Salesforce’s main play in mobile will be their platform. Benioff wakes up thinking about how to convince Wall Street that’s he’s not a potentially over-valued CRM company, but a vastly under-valued cloud platform. Salesforce is investing heavily in their API and mobile SDKs to enable an ecosystems of partners to prove this point.

Salesforce’s $1M Hackathon at Dreamforce this year is a perfect example-- the hackathon signals that Salesforce sees itself as a platform company. They wouldn’t spend $1M to encourage an ecosystem of mobile apps if they really wanted everyone to spend all their time inside of Salesforce’s own mobile apps. Remember that Salesforce makes money whether you use their UI or not.

As a standalone app, Salesforce1 is trying to solve a specific problem-- how to effectively access with your customer data on the go. But there are lots of other (much larger) problems with mobile work… earlier this year we walked through the top 5 that we see in the field everyday. Solving the broader problems of mobile work is what gets us out of bed in the morning here at Tylr Mobile. These are the problems that we are 100% focused on solving.

We think Salesforce1 will be welcomed by the Salesforce ecosystem. Because it is extensible, we have all sorts of ideas for how it will interoperate with WorkinBox over time to provide an integrated mobile experience.

We get to carry each other
What will an open, interoperable Salesforce1 enable? Look at the Veeva IPO-- proof that a large, profitable business can be built on the Salesforce platform. That’s a question that every startup in the Salesforce ecosystem has been hearing from investors for years.

Will the next Veeva be a mobile-first company, built to work with Salesforce1? We certainly hope so!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Feeling the Inbox Love

We were flattered to be asked to present WorkinBox at today's "Inbox Love" conference-- showing off our work to a gathering of people passionate about the future of email.

Overall, Inbox Love was an inspiring event... here are some of the things we learned:

Email is huge: According to our friends at Outlook, 149 billion messages are sent every year. Workers spend 28% of their time in email. Of course, the people at Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo all take email very very seriously. But the size of email creates opportunities for an entire ecosystem of innovation. Our host Joshua Baer summarized it best: "Email has some really BIG niches. You don’t have to make email for everybody to be successful."

Why? Different people need different email: Steve Whittaker is a Professor of Psychology at UC Santa Cruz.  He describes how one key difference in email requirements for people in different jobs: "If you are client focused, you take interruptions. If you are doing focussed design or development work, you can’t." Forced disconnection from email for 4 hours made this type of workers more effective and less stressed.

Email isn't dead. Google studied college students to see if there is truth to the idea that "young people don't use email anymore." They did find increasing diversity of communication tools while on campus. But geographic diversity (and employment) after graduation drove email usage sharply up. Their conclusion? Email isn't going anywhere. 

There is an art and a science to email productivity: According to Prof. Whittaker, "The research says foldering, filing, labeling are a waste of time.... Foldering people are no more successful finding information, but it takes them 4x longer. But some people do it anyway-- they just can’t tolerate a disorganized inbox”

Email matters: Google's Jason Cornwell describes doing user research on people's email habits. "When I say 'show me your inbox,' there’s this moment of shame. Its as if there are weeds in my garden. People feel overwhelmed, like they aren’t doing a 'good job." It is sad that this tool we all use, that makes us feel overwhelmed and depressed."

Add it all up, and this is why we spend so much time thinking about email here at Tylr Mobile: email is a natural starting point for solving the problems of mobile work. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LinkedIn Intro: Hacking your way to email productivity

As a team who thinks a lot about mobile productivity, we watched with some interest as LinkedIn announced their approach to mobile email this morning.

The concept? Completely obvious. Of course you want contextual access to services like LinkedIn as you work your way through your inbox-- it is one of the most commonly requested features of WorkinBox.

LinkedIn's approach? That’s where it gets interesting. We were surprised to see LinkedIn use a very unconventional "hack" to email.

You see, Intro isn't actually an email app. Its a brilliant-crazy co-opting of your entire email experience. You give LinkedIn permission to access your email. They then bring your mail through their servers, where they insert HTML into the messages before sending it on to your phone. You're asked to create a new provisioning profile on your phone that allows LinkedIn to install the Intro App, and change your email settings to access their servers to get your mail. Next time you check your mail, you see your messages + the header that LinkedIn has inserted into the message. The approach is described here, in their privacy policy.

Why do I call this approach a "hack"?

First of all, try to remove Intro. Partial instructions are here: you use the app to disconnect the account, and then manually remove all the profiles that LinkedIn has created to get different data from phone. Then you go to your email account and revoke LinkedIn's access.

The removal experience is an indication of how deeply Intro is penetrating your mail experience. This approach leaves us with three questions that we think our enterprise customers will be asking about Intro:
  • How does Intro affect the integrity of my email service? For a service used largely by people at work, LinkedIn will raise a lot of security concerns about how my employee’s email is handled with Intro. Will LinkedIn respect my company’s email retention/deletion policies? If my employees are using Intro, how will that impact my ability to comply if I ever get an email subpoena? Will my employees be able to access messages through Intro after they leave? 
  • How does Intro affect the integrity of the email message? When I send you a message, I expect you to receive what I sent you. There is uncertainty about what LinkedIn will insert into inbound and outbound messages over time. Advertisements? They say no. Perhaps the next performance review from my boss will suggest some alternative job opportunities, provided by LinkedIn. 
  • How does Intro affect the integrity of my mail app? Intro is using enhanced HTML messages as an unsupported way to extend Apple’s mail client. It seems to work today. Will it work as Apple improves its mail client over time? Who knows. 
Why did LinkedIn take this approach? Well, actually building and getting people to use a new  email app is really hard. (We should know: that’s what we’ve been spending our summer doing!)

The irony? LinkedIn COULD have a rich ecosystem of partners (like us!) helping them deliver contextual access to LinkedIn data from within email, if they saw themselves as a platform company instead of just a series of apps. At the end of the day, LinkedIn adds value to its users because of its professional graph, not because of the UI of its apps. Yet they can't fully capture the value of the graph because they so severely restrict where that graph can be consumed.

Will Intro by successful? I hope so: Intro demonstrates the value of contextually enhancing email with information and action.

Over time, people will need information and the ability to take action across all sorts of different sources in order to “be brilliant with people,” not just what’s in LinkedIn. Shameless plug: That’s what we’re trying to build. Drop me a note (ryan at tylr mobile) if you’d like to learn more!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sales 2.X: Why we’ve only begun to reinvent sales and marketing

Last week, Tylr Mobile was flattered to present at Sales 2.X, hosted by RocketSpace and the Sales 2.0 Conference. We joined 5 other startups in demonstrating the latest trends in sales and marketing automation.

Our takeaway? As an industry, we’ve only begun to reinvent sales and marketing.

The original idea of Sales 2.0 was to apply the social concepts of “Web 2.0” to the sales function. Of course, we don’t talk much about “Web 2.0” any more-- we now realize that this is an overly simplified way to talk about much broader trends in social, mobile, and cloud technology. In the same way, we now see that what was originally described as “Sales 2.0” is just the beginning of a broader reinvention of sales and marketing.

That was clear in last week’s demonstrations. Sales 2.0 was about dynamic web-based CRM. But what if your primary interface to your CRM system is another application you already use everyday, like your mobile email? That’s what we showed off, with WorkinBox. Or what if the next interface to your CRM system is your voice? That’s what we saw in the first public demonstration of Roobiq.

Sales 2.0 put twitter handles in your CRM database. But what if your customer database could show who in your company is best connected to every one of your prospects? That’s what we saw with Datahug.  Sales 2.0 made customer events more social. But what if your events could end up directly on the calendar of your customers? That’s what we saw with Eventable.

Sales 2.0 was about empowered salespeople. But what if more and more B2B sales don’t even require a salesperson? Bidzy showed how they sell to small businesses without any salespeople, through an automatic phone call offering to connect them to a live, qualified customer with the press of a button.

The sales function has seen dramatic change over the last decade. But last week’s demonstrations made clear that the next decade will see an accelerated rate of change. Customers continue to evolve how they want to engage with our companies and our brands. Our sales and marketing functions must continue to adapt.  Whether you call this process “Sales 2.X” or something else entirely, we’re excited to participate!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The “What” vs. “How” of Mobile Business Apps

We were flattered to be included in the Mobile Business App Landscape, published by Emergence Capital’s Kevin Spain in Gigaom. This map of our ecosystem is a much needed overview of an increasingly vibrant marketplace. Kevin set out to “define the emerging mobile business app landscape, based on conversations with over 100 early stage companies.” Basically, he’s segmented the business app landscape between industry-specific solutions, function-specific solutions, and apps that cut across these boundaries (including “productivity” apps like Tylr Mobile’s WorkinBox).

Why is this landscape needed? Because mobile apps are transforming the business software market, requiring a new way to evaluate app providers:
When talking with vendors that don’t have a specific mobile strategy, I keep hearing about how mobile is just a feature of cloud-based applications. Yet when we meet with entrepreneurs who are building “mobile-first” business apps, we can see a completely different way of thinking
This sounds familiar to enterprise vetrans like Emergence. This is exactly what on-premise technology vendors said about the web.  Web access to their applications is “just a feature.”  We all remember how that turned out!

This analogy, however, also highlights what is needed to extend the work started here by Emergence.  This is a fantastic map for “what” the new generation of enterprise mobile apps do.

What we need now is a way to talk about “how” business mobile apps are built. 

The technology industry’s conversations about the cloud took a giant step forward when we started to agree on how to talk about the “hows” of cloud computing. Were we talking about true public cloud, a private cloud, or some hybrid? Were we talking about SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS? Was the SaaS application truly multi-tenant? Different vendors had different answers to these questions, and the answers told us a lot about where that vendor stood in the transition to cloud computing (to help enterprises have these conversations, I helped develop a “cloud computing ecosystem map” for Appirio back in 2009).

So far, our discussion about business mobile apps is a lot less nuanced. We have mobile enterprise apps vs. mobile enterprise application platforms and “backend as a service.” We have HTML5 vs. native apps, and iOS vs. Android. We have this vague label of “mobile first,” or “mobile best,” which can be applied to features, products, or entire companies.

We need a better way to describe the “how” of a mobile business app. We don’t have this vocabulary yet, which is why we spend half our time here at Tylr Mobile talking about what we’re doing, and half our time talking about how we’re doing it. Here are some examples of mobile app architectural concepts that I’d love to have a more concrete way of discussing with our customers:

  • Integrated apps vs. stand alone: Lots of apps are intended to be used on their own, and aren’t integrated with existing tools. They create “yet another” place to go work. We’ve built an app with deep integrations with existing systems, designed to be used in conjunction with how you work today. 
  • Client-side vs. server-side integration: Integration can be performed on the server, or on the mobile device itself.  We think that client-side integration offers enterprises better control over security and scalability.  For example, look at what we saw with the 1M people waiting in line to try out Mailbox, an app with server-side integration.
  • Extensible apps vs. one size fits all: Can an app be extended to meet the specific needs of a user or an organization?  Not every use case needs this capability, but most enterprise apps absolutely require this, ideally via configuration by an admin.
  • Apps for organizations vs. apps for individuals: Does the app have utility for an organization, beyond the experience of the individuals using the app? Apps designed for organizational performance are fundamentally different than apps optimized for individual productivity.  

Over time, we think that some of the most interesting apps will bend or even break these distinctions-- giving us the best of both worlds.  For example, here at Tylr Mobile we want our integrated app to stand on its own two feet. We want to replicate the capabilities of server-side integration without the associated security risks. We want to make an extensible app that feels perfect out of the box, and an app for organizations that individuals absolutely love to use.

But before we can talk about bridging these differences, we need to acknowledge that they exist. Two mobile apps that set out to do the same thing can be built in fundamentally different ways. We look forward to starting an industry-wide dialogue on the “hows” of a mobile business app!