Defying all stereotypes of handing out cool mini iPads, Lawrence Coburn, founder and CEO of enterprise mobile app company DoubleDutch, decided to give all 27 of his employees the latest Android tablets as a holiday treat. He figured if his team is building mobile, cloud-based apps for events and enterprise companies, they had better be inspired to build for the Android platform as well as iOS.
Startups don't have bonuses, so this is their gift, Coburn said.
After personally spending some time with his new Android Nexus 7 from Google, Coburn said he appreciates Android since it can do cooler, more native stuff and developers have access to more leavers to build into app.
Coburn thinks people are spending more time on their phones and tablets than desktops, so it's a good way to enter the enterprise market.
"I think the big things going forward are apps with context. Apps that serve up pages at the right time based on different things. Integrations will be big for mobile and being able to pull information from apps that people use every day and deliver that content at the right time," Coburn said. "Delivering that at the right time will be a big deal."
For an enterprise company, the software system has to be better than the desktop system currently in place, or it has to embrace the current system and integrate with it. "There's no way people would rip out Salesforce for our CRM app, so we need to integrate with those services," he said.
DoubleDutch's current customer base includes UBM (publisher of BYTE), Cisco, Adobe, and Macworld.
The way software companies sell to the enterprise is changing. The process used to include a long check list of product features. It could be hundreds of items long. That may have worked well for desktop, Coburn explained, however, a lot of those features don't work on mobile.
The delivery of enterprise software is changing and so is its development. "The engineer team can try a new app without talking to me. They will go grab an app and try it out on a freemium basis and use it. They will pay for it with the company card. Software decisions are no longer top down. It is democratized. There is the cloud, which makes delivery and updating much easier," Coburn said. "Enterprise is super exciting. Enterprise spend is a third of the business spend in the US economy. The software side is up for grabs, since every system has been built for a different world and is tough to optimize on devices that are smaller and always on."
As for why he went with Android over iOS for the gifting choice, well, he said, "we can't hate Android. We have to deliver the magic on all platforms." While doing QA for Android can be quite extensive due to variability of device standards, its rate of consumer adoption can't be ignored.