Kony’s Bold Vision For Enterprise Mobile Services


While there is an increasing sense of inevitability about the penetration of mobile cloud services into enterprises – since they are being overrun globally by mobile devices – actual penetration growth has not been overwhelming, estimated by some at about 20% per year.

For smaller independent players this has led to numerous mergers in the various segments of enterprise mobile services – examples are listed:

Antenna Software MADP Pegasystems
FeedHenry MBaaS Red Hat
Good Technology MDM/MAM Blackberry
AirWatch MDM VMware
Fiberlink MDM IBM
Verivo MADP Appery (Exadel)
Nukona MAM Symantec
AppCentral MAM Good Technology

MADP – mob. apps dev’t platform; MBaaS – mob. backend as a serv.; MDM – mob. device mgt.;
MAM – mob. apps mgt.

Kony – A Recognized Independent Enterprise Mobile Leader

However, Kony is one company that has pushed ahead independently and is very favorably reviewed by analyst groups (e.g., Forrester Gartner, 451 Research). In a recent interview Dave Shirk, President of Product Strategy & Marketing, made it clear that Kony has a very broad vision of the future, which heavily involves the Mobile Cloud.

While the table above lists the basic segments of the mobile enterprise business, Kony has crossed from the MADP (mobile applications development platform) segment into a much broader involvement in enterprise mobility, which the company characterizes as solutions to: “define, design, build, integrate, deploy, and manage amazing apps at each step of your mobility journey.”

Expanded Scope – MADP, MBaaS and Specific Apps

Shirk divides the business into three areas: 1) MADP (mobile applications development platform) which includes a toolset as well as a platform for enterprise app development; 2) MBaaS (mobile backend as a service) mobile middleware; and 3) Specific apps, which the company describes as “quick start templates and task-based apps.”

Kony has over 20 patents. Shirk points to their visual design patent in the area of app development. The Kony Visualizer product allows the developer to import elements from Photoshop, for example, directly into the mobile app. Kony claims that Visualizer can reduce app development time by 50%.

The Visualizer integrates with the Kony Studio platform with open standards tools for developing native and other apps. In addition the company offers Kony Management which provides capabilities for MDM (mobile device management) and MAM (mobile applications management).

Shirk also mentions Kony’s patent in the mobile middleware area. Kony MobileFabric provides MBaaS (mobile backend as a service) capabilities that integrate with the app development platform. In the CRM area Shirk points out that Kony “mobilizes” SAP and Oracle implementations, and often ties into Salesforce as well (for example, where a Salesforce user might want to tie into other internal company systems, e.g., warranty or quoting systems).

Vertical and Horizontal Focused Apps

In the apps area, Kony offers both vertical-focus and horizontal apps. Shirk states that the breakdown of apps between the two categories is about 50-50. Apps include: retail banking (e.g., personalized mobile banking), field service, HR and healthcare apps (allowing individuals to manage their healthcare needs).

Kony has over 300 enterprise accounts. CitiGroup is the largest and Aetna is another major account. Shirk says that about 80% of accounts are Fortune 500 size organizations. Kony has had a 90% renewal rate this year. Their typical contracts are for three-year subscriptions with service provided under a SaaS model.

Shirk also emphasizes the security features of Kony’s platforms, highlighting that they have received certifications for: PCI (Payment Card Industry), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) and FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) compliance. He states that their core encryption framework has been developed inhouse and allows for multi-factor authentication, including using touch or biometrics.

IoT Capability

Shirk also states that there is a full IoT engine in the company’s latest platform release. While there is considerable hype about wearables, such as watches, he observes that the action in IoT for enterprises is more in areas such as industrial complexes and hospitals.

Another area is autos, where all of the car companies have been developing IoT strategies. He alludes to one app where data can be streamed from the car, for example, to alert parents if a child is driving and is in an authorized area. Kony supplies the mobile linking technology for the app. He also mentions apps for healthcare monitoring from mobile devices that Kony has worked on.

Vision, Mobile Cloud, Outlook

Shirk states that “the device is not where it is at; the app is where it is at.” He states that full management capability must be built in. Kony has positioned itself to participate in the full range of the enterprise mobile app development and utilization ecosystem.

The vision is extremely far-reaching. Shirk foresees that, with the industry at such an early stage of development, even the most powerful entrenched players can be toppled. He points to a study out of IDC that 25% of enterprise software dollars will go to mobile in 2016. He calls the Mobile Cloud “the next big shift.” He points out that client companies are being propelled to address mobile out of “fear of Uberization.”

Kony has grown to a 1200 person company with 550 in R&D. Having obviously resisted the forces that led others into early mergers, it is more likely to be a good candidate for a future IPO.

Visit their website: www.kony.com