South Africa’s second largest mobile operator believes that it’s pioneering the development of enterprise applications in the country, after launching 20 of these trial products last week.
MTN Business General Manager Victor Rakhale, for business to business sales believes that the enterprise app market will thrive just as well as that of the consumer app market. “I think we are going to be aggressive now with our service force and move into a leadership position as far as enterprise apps are concerned,” said Rakhale.
Whist many still may wonder if the market is ready for apps of this nature, Rakhale feels that the market will only be ready for enterprise apps once they are presented with the products. “…We are taking the Apple route, Steve Jobs doesn’t believe in consumer research. The customer only knows what the customer knows; he doesn’t know what the next best thing is. They only know what they want when you present it to them,” said Rakhale.
Included in the list of apps is a remote medical diagnostics tool, device backup and sync, asset tracking, transport and logistics, mobile surveys as well as cloud storage. But the mobile operator says that it’s looking at increasing the pool of available apps. MTN hopes that these apps will help streamline the effectiveness of business. As the apps are customised for business prices vary.
The applications are produced in such a manner that they are able to run on an operating system preferred by the company for which it is being produced. Rakhale says this is because each app is produced in a customised manner.
With the growth in the number of smartphones and tablets in the country, MTN Business believes that this is an opportune time to enter the enterprise app market. Andy Anderson, MTN’s senior manager for business marketing, said the company expects 80% smartphone penetration in the country by 2014. Anderson also pointed out that tablet devices are proving to be increasingly popular business tools.
The company appears optimistic about reaping the long-term benefits, in this arena, but remained mum in just how much revenue its hoping to generate in the short term from this endeavour, but maintains that this will now be a key area of innovation for the MTN Business team “…enterprise app’s are the frontier of the mobile workforce,” reiterates Rakhale.
MTN chief technology officer, Kanagaratnam Lambotharan said one of the advantages of the apps is the mobility that they offer. “It improves productivity, it improves the time that people take to close deals and I think it’s really exciting for us and I think that our customers especially in the enterprise space will really enjoy the offering.”
Many calls have been made by industry leaders- to increase the level of innovation production on the local front, and with MTN having taken the leap forward, Nomalanga Nkosi, the general manager for business marketing at MTN Business believes that the “Ayoba” network has headed the call.
“Through real time applications that drive business efficiencies and deliver to the market the ability to connect on an innovative platform – specific to the business sector – there is no doubt that the uptake of these enterprise applications will continue to increase and that businesses will start seeing the larger benefits and competitive market opportunities that can be derived going forward,” said Nkosi.