- Three years ago MEAP/MADP services were a standard part of Tier 1 operators’ enterprise mobility offerings
- Many report problems monetizing MEAPs, while others have disbanded them altogether
Current Analysis recently updated our bi-annual profiles of the global managed mobility services offered by U.S. and European operators. While burgeoning use of mobile applications in the business segment is a hot topic, it is not clear that the operators are faring that well as the providers of these applications, in spite of initiatives announced years ago to enable application development and back-end integration through mobile enterprise application platforms. The term “MEAP” is not used very widely any more in the application platform provider community, discarded in favor of mobile application development platforms (MADP); more importantly the market has evolved as cloud-enablement has spurred on “as a service” offers provided directly to enterprises rather than resold through the carrier channel. Mobile back-end as a service (MBaaS) from companies such as Kony and FeedHenry, and platform as a service (PaaS) offerings such as Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Red Hat OpenShift, and VMware vCloud Air are being adopted directly by businesses to allow them to develop business applications, to readily provide mobile access to these apps via the cloud or build native mobile B2B/B2C apps that may reside on the mobile device. Cloud-based app platforms are also leveraged by ITSPs such as IBM, Accenture, CSC, and HP to develop mobile apps for their business customers. PaaS provides opportunities for the ITSPs looking to support the infrastructure enterprises need to support agile and rapid mobile app development. At the same time pre-built mobile applications by companies such as SAP, and IBM together with Apple, are saving time and effort for operators, ITSPs and other channel partners, and enterprises themselves.
A number of operators are asking themselves whether their role in the mobility market should be to develop applications. Aside from the need to build up an internal group of software developers, or partner with every MEAP/MADP vendor, another early premise of carrier-offered MEAP services was to offer the MEAP tools to enterprise developers as a service, but it was not clear that a middle-man such as a carrier added much value in the supply chain. While operators want to offer a full suite of enterprise mobility services, and mobile application development, enablement and delivery needs to be part of this somehow, not all operators are finding a natural path to monetize these services. Pre-built apps, customizing/tweaking apps built by third parties, or partnering with ITSPs may be a less expensive and more profitable way for operators to offer mobile applications to businesses that want a one stop shop for enterprise mobility.