How fast has mobile adoption been progressing in enterprises? “Exponentially slower than I ever thought it would,” responds Adam Bookman of Propelics.
Propelics is a leader in developing mobile strategy plans as well as mobile apps for a wide range of enterprises. Bookman is one of four Co-founder/Partners in the firm.
Enterprise Mobility: 3-Stage Maturity Curve
Bookman describes a three-stage Mobile Maturity Curve that his firm uses to assess enterprises. In the first stage devices come into a company and then the need is felt to track them, mobile device management (MDM). In this stage, simple uses such as email and contact lists become common.
The second stage involves applications. Bookman describes this as “porting over important apps from desktops to mobile – apps such as Salesforce, SAP, Cognos.” This stage does not involve any transformation of functionality.
The third stage, he states, “turns business processes on their heads.” While it involves creating apps that transform how the processes run, he states that it generally is like the Wild West, because there is not a clear definition of corporate goals and strategies with respect to mobile’s potential.
He notes that some companies state that they have hundreds or more apps, for example, some drug companies. But these numbers may be inflated by product literature about a given drug in many languages.
Propelics’ Growth from Strategy to Mobile App Development
Initially, Propelics, which was founded in 2011, focused on helping companies develop a strategic approach to mobile capabilities and implementation. However, the company has moved beyond this focus. Bookman explains that clients wanted Propelics to stay involved with actual implementation.
This led Propelics into development of custom mobile apps for their clients. It also includes app testing. The company has grown from about 30 employees in 2013 to about 100 currently. This growth has been financed from profits; the company has not taken in outside financing.
Bookman reports that they serve a very wide range of verticals. However, he does mention Retail, Pharma, Banking and various Service Industries among their client base.
Apps Business Development – New Products
The company has moved on to offering its own mobile apps for general use. It recently released three specific applications.
AuditHere (which has also been called SureAudit) is a software app that the company describes as capable of use for auditing “any person, place or process.” These can include “employees, customers, safety regulations, behaviors, stores and much more.” It allows the auditor to use a mobile device, iOS or Android, to simply record answers, capture data and attach photos or other information. Bookman indicates that the company will come out with vertically focused versions of the app.
ExactMeeting enables easy location and booking of conference space for meetings – again from a user’s mobile device. Bookman states that in the company’s discussions with clients there was a strong need expressed for such an app – to avoid wasted time and inconvenience associated with finding meeting places in different locales.
Lead2Capture, a third app, was designed specifically for Credit Unions. Bookman explains that these organizations have to attend hundreds of benefit fairs. (These are sponsored by large employers to expose employees to choices among benefit programs.) The software allows easy organization of leads and even will send out emails automatically to individuals as follow-ups. Bookman states that Credit Unions experience a 60% click rate on these follow-up emails.
These three initial apps are offered under a SaaS (software as a service) model. Bookman states that they have users for all three of the apps. The apps are priced on a monthly fee basis. Bookman believes that Propelics will probably be able to get patent protection on some of the features of the apps.
Wearables, Other Growth Areas
On the subject of wearables in the enterprise market, Bookman states that it is “very early.” He observes that, “Most companies are doing nothing.” He states that the company is building some apps that incorporate smartwatch capability and mentions that they intend to use taptics capability in connection with the RoomFinder app.
Propelics was founded in 2011. Their initial revenue model has been one of pricing of fixed time for a fixed price. Bookman states that the revenue currently is about 40% derived from strategy work and 60% from apps development.
However, this is a very dynamic company, moving their own business model in a number of interesting directions. One new direction is a services model. Bookman reports that they have recently started testing support as a service. This would provide a recurring revenue model.
In addition, Propelics started the Mobile Research Council. Bookman told us that this grew out of contacts with company clients that evolved into meetings to share ideas on various mobile issues and innovation possibilities. They eventually formalized it and brought in Lopez Research as a partner. They list members including: American Airlines, UPS, Wells Fargo, Southern Company and others.
We are particularly interested in Bookman’s evaluation of the slow progress of mobile in enterprises. We featured an article about Kony recently, which also noted the slow progress of penetration of mobile cloud services in major organizations (“Kony’s Bold Vision For Enterprise Mobile Services,” 11/9/15).
Another article we published about Red Hat, noted one of their surveys that showed fairly aggressive adoption of mobile apps and mobile strategy in enterprises. Our comment was that most other surveys showed more restrained numbers regarding mobile penetration. (“Red Hat – Integrating Mobile & Cloud: Enterprise Mobile “Maturity,” 11/23/15.)
It appears to us that Bookman is focused not just on whether enterprises develop mobile apps, but whether they have an overall plan and are innovating by using mobile capabilities (which quite naturally combine with cloud) to actually transform business processes. We accept his evaluation as quite likely to be accurate, although discouraging.
Another comment he left us with reinforces the point. He stated that when he and his colleagues started in 2011, they thought that the opportunity in the Mobile Strategy end of the business probably had “about an 18 month runway. Now four years later,” he said, “there is still a lot of runway.”
Regarding competition to Propelics, Bookman reveals that they mostly face giant IT companies, such as Accenture, IBM, Cognizant. (Red Ant and Kony, by the way, are companies whose products, such as MBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service) Propelics recommends to clients.)
Propelics is at an interesting point in their development. Having grown impressively and profitably, without requiring outside financing, they are now adapting their model from basically one based on contract revenues to add recurring revenue products and services, and, presumably, subscription revenues. We regard them as an innovative player in the critical area of how mobile cloud will transform business processes and models.
Visit their website: www.propelics.com