This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
Beyond developing innovative, differentiated products, the number-one challenge today for software makers globally is finding new sustainable sources of revenue.
For most, mobilizing their products offers significant new monetization opportunities. These opportunities can be directly tied to four key industry trends that the best analysts out there are identifying and quantifying.
The Explosion in Connected Devices
According to IDC (News - Alert), the worldwide smartphone market grew 55 percent year over year in 2011 to 472 million, and will reach close to one billion units by 2015.
Gartner predicts worldwide tablet sales will exceed $200 million by 2014.
All of these devices will come outfitted with an array of real-time user content capabilities such as location, preferences and historical information, creating significant opportunity for new types of software and applications to enable productivity and reduce churn.
The revenue opportunity here is to exploit new context-aware capabilities such as location and real-time updating of core datasets in order to appeal to savvy workers who want to get the most done. According to Morgan Lynch, CEO at Needle.com, “Work isn’t a place; it’s an activity,” so give employees the best access to information at the right time to reap the benefits.
The Surge in the Mobile Workforce
IDC also says that the mobile workforce reached a staggering 1.1 billion people in 2010. And by 2013, IDC expects that 40 percent of the global workforce will be mobile.
This trend clearly indicates that significant software usage will be done via mobile devices, resulting in huge monetization opportunities.
The revenue opportunity here is to establish core mobile workforce offerings and expand usage to increasingly nomadic employees now, so that as this trend becomes the norm.
The Shift to SaaS (News - Alert)
Most enterprises have made it clear they expect cloud computing and SaaS to become the dominant – if not exclusive – software delivery mode in the future. With less than 5 percent of total revenue from the largest software companies delivered this way today, there are clearly first-to-market revenue opportunities across a range of applications for those who get to a SaaS delivery model quickly.
The revenue opportunity here is to gain first mover advantage, as less than 5 percent of software is SaaS-enabled today by looking for help in the right places and with the right partners. If you wait on hiring that perfect mobile team leader, for example, you’re going to get passed and then have to compete for second, third or fourth.
Ask people who have already made the mobile move either for themselves or for other companies as a managed service and get on the path, quickly.
The Growth in Mobile Commerce
Forrester (News - Alert) Research predicts U.S. mobile commerce will grow from $3 billion in 2010 to $31 billion in 2016. As the fundamental path of commerce shifts to mobile devices, more revenue will flow to companies offering compelling, innovative mobile experiences.
The revenue opportunity here is to position yourself as a key value chain player and capitalize on the purchasing shift to mobile. If someone can’t make a purchase on the fly, or when he or she receives a real-time recommendation, you’ve lost.
Attention spans are getting shorter; with mobile commerce you must strike while the iron is hot in an intuitive interface.
With less than 5 percent of software SaaS-enabled today and predictions for 50 billion connected devices with 40 percent of the global workforce being mobile, software makers face tremendous new business and product development challenges and opportunities. If you’re facing an uphill battle in the boardroom, these cold hard numbers and the straightforward opportunities to which they tie may just be able to help.
Edited by Braden Becker