Guest author Jesus Rodriguez is the CEO and co-founder of KidoZen.

Mobility is one of the most transformational trends in the modern enterprise. Smartphone and tablets have changed how employees fundamentally use their computers, which means the entire notion of enterprise productivity and software development must be rethought. Many companies are on the forefront of the changing enterprise, but as companies catch up, the target moves yet again.

Despite its importance, most organizations still experience tremendous challenges when selecting an enterprise mobile platform. The reason organizations struggle is based on an incredibly simple factor: fragmentation. In order to address these challenges, we believe the enterprise mobile market is heading for a level of consolidation that will produce what we call the third generation enterprise mobile platform.

First Generation: Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms 

The first generation of enterprise mobile solutions, following the launch of the iPhone, were dominated by the mobile enterprise applications platforms (MEAPs). From app design to deployment, MEAPs proposed a one-size-fits-all solution to enterprises, like IT boxes of yore. While the concepts behind MEAPs resonated well with enterprises, the technical implementations proved to be incredibly limited, invasive and cost-prohibitive for organizations looking to deliver modern mobile experiences. 

Second Generation: Innovation And Chaos

After the failure of the MEAPs, the market witnessed an explosion of new technologies that sought to address some of the limitations of the MEAPs. As a result, the market became extremely fragmented with dozens of solutions providing different and specialized capabilities of an enterprise mobile solution including: 

  • Mobile app development.
  • Mobile backend-as-a-service.
  • Mobile app testing.
  • Mobile app performance monitoring.
  • Mobile app distribution.
  • Mobile app management.
  • Mobile device management.

While the current level of innovation in the enterprise mobile ecosystem clearly benefits enterprises, it also creates a significant challenge from the technology-selection standpoint, most companies need to select four or five vendors in order to assemble a complete mobile solution.

Coming Next: Consolidation & Emergence Of Third Generation Mobile Platform 

The increasing fragmentation of the enterprise mobile technology ecosystem combined with the need of enterprises to embrace end-to-end solutions and the commoditization of the mobile device management (MDM) market are signaling an inevitable level of consolidation in the enterprise mobile space. We believe this market consolidation will create a new group of more complete enterprise mobile platforms that fully leverage best-in-class innovations in the space while avoiding the constraints of the traditional MEAPs. Agile, easy-to-integrate platforms. We refer to the group of platforms that will emerge from this consolidation as third generation enterprise mobile platforms.

The third generation enterprise mobile platform will combine solutions from various categories of today’s enterprise mobile ecosystem into a more compact mobile stack. In that sense, we easily envision an enterprise mobile platform that combines  mobile backend-as-a-service,  mobile app performance monitoring and mobile app testing offerings. From the technology standpoint, third generation enterprise mobile platforms are likely to leverage innovations of modern enterprise mobile stacks, such as cloud delivery models or cross-platform development, while maintaining the right levels of openness and simplicity to allow the continuous evolution of its value proposition. This approach highly contrasts with the path followed by first generation mobile platforms such as the MEAPs.

The emergence of third generation enterprise mobile platforms will not only be important for enterprise customers but for the entire enterprise mobile market. From today’s completely fragmented ecosystem, third generation enterprise mobile platforms will signal to the market which platform categories can survive as standalone offerings and which ones will become features of bigger platforms. While we can’t know for sure the capabilities of the third generation mobile platform, there is one certainty: the third generation mobile platform will be the first iteration of the platforms that will eventually dominate the enterprise mobile world.