SIPAlert Daily – Learning the right mobile business model for you
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 19:35
I sat down next to Larry Schwartz, president of Newstex, at a roundtable at the recent SIPA Conference. The subject was tablets, and Schwartz showed me some of his company’s intricate and attractive mobile-design work—banner ads, interfaced rows of pictures, branded mobile apps.
“Things have changed a lot in the last 18 months,” he said. “There are a lot more self-serve tools. The hardest thing to figure out [for going mobile] is, how are you going to use it? What’s the purpose? What’s the model? There are some people who take all their time trying to find the perfect colors. Really.”
Schwartz will join Ed Keating, chief content officer for BLR, this Thursday in the second of SIIA’s Mobile Essentials Webinar series—Monetization and Business Models. SIPA/SIIA/ABM members can listen free by registering here. The first webinar made the business case; this one will help you build the right model.
Considering that this is just an hour of your time about something that might become a huge percentage of your business, it’s highly recommended. Mobile commerce now accounts for about one out of every 10 e-commerce dollars. Integrating mobile platforms into your overall business models and strategy is crucial.
A blog post on the comScore website at the end of last month listed five things that every marketer should know on this topic. It’s a helpful list:
1. Be there. “One out of every three monthly visitors to the average digital retailer website comes exclusively on mobile platforms. …retailers who do not (at a minimum) optimize their mobile browsing experience or introduce mobile apps are effectively turning away a third of their potential customers.”
2. Know thy customer. “Mobile apps drive smartphone retail engagement, while mobile browsing wins on tablets.” You probably don’t have the time or resources “to develop a fully optimized experience for every platform. Knowing how your customers engage with retail on their phones and tablets can help you better prioritize your efforts.
3. Prioritize. “Smartphones drive a higher share of m-commerce dollars than tablets, but less on a per device basis.” Tablets are gaining in numbers, however, so you’ll have an interesting decision on where to first focus your user experience.
4. Know thy content. “Retail category browsing can vary considerably by platform.” Basically it’s common sense but still important to think about. Is there a visual component to what you are selling or how you are selling? Perhaps you want people to see charts and graphs in your marketing? Speakers’ faces. That might do better on tablets, where apparel and home furnishing sales excel. Interestingly, health care is the only category listed that does better on smartphones, though it’s pretty close on books and consumer electronics.
5. Plan now. “M-commerce spending seasonality shows wider variance than traditional e-commerce.” It may be quiet now, but with holiday season lurking, expect a huge jump. “Consumers…are also increasingly comfortable using [their devices] to transact. Retailers with an advanced understanding of m-commerce will be able to most effectively deploy their assets and marketing resources during the year’s most crucial spending period.”
Schwartz went on to show me—on his tablet—a list of Time Inc.’s 25 top love story films of all time. It was impeccably designed. “They could easily do 100 and get sponsors for it,” he said. In other words, the sky’s the limit.
U.S. adults will spend more media time on mobile this year (19.8%) than on their laptops and PCs (19.5%). Tablets are sparking this trend. Last year, 10% of tablet time was spent watching videos; this year it’s 19%. Join us in this important webinar series. Register here now.
To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, create or update your SIIA User profile and select “SIPA interest.”
Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline
Webinar: Mobile Will Transform Your Finance Operation – Are You Ready?
Thu, 28 Mar 2013 17:17
Cloud-based financial applications are helping businesses streamline the process of paying bills, projecting cash flow, and conducting business transactions. It is no secret that companies are taking the next step to deliver these solutions via mobile devices in order to help executives manage their businesses – anytime and anywhere.
Listen to this pre-recorded webcast as SIIA members Saugatuck Technology and Bill.com explore the need for and the role of mobile financial management. Now is the time to learn:
- How mobility has become a key driver
- Advantages of mobile platforms
- Risk & fraud issues with on-premise solutions
- Importance of a loosely-coupled architecture
- How to create a Boundary-free EnterpriseTM
Senior Research Analyst, Saugatuck Technology
Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, Saugatuck Technology
Vice President of Product, Bill.com
Click here to view Saugatuck Technology’s presentation slides
Click here to view Bill.com’s presentation slides
Webinar – Critical Success Factors for an Enterprise Mobile Strategy
Wed, 12 Dec 2012 19:56
Organizations must fully develop an enterprise mobile strategy that considers both employee and customer facing aspects of today’s continually expanding use of mobile technologies. It is important to consider the customer experience as they launch new products, services, and applications. Grant Thornton LLP brings the perspective of working with both ISVs and the consumers of their products in a business advisory capacity. This recorded webcast focuses on several key aspects of an enterprise strategy:
- Key criteria for an Enterprise Mobile Strategy
- Application architecture- Is it ready for mobile
- Planning for BYOD within the enterprise
- Deployment interface
- Importance of security
Click here to download the slides.
Tony Hernandez, Principal, Business Advisory Services, Grant Thornton LLP
Mike Barba, Manager, Business Advisory Services, Grant Thornton LLP
CODiE Awards Judges: A Conversation with the Coordinator
Wed, 31 Oct 2012 19:59
Nominations have closed for the 2013 CODiE Awards, and I am definitely excited about the variety and caliber of products in this year’s program. I know our judges are looking forward to reviewing the products as well. Our first round review is the core of the CODiE Awards. It is also the portion of the program that gives me the most interaction with the judges and nominees. I am constantly in contact with both groups, ensuring that everyone has a great experience.
What is the first round review?
For the first round review, two judges review each product in each category. For example, products nominated in two categories will be assigned four judges. During this first round, judges participate in product demonstration s given by the nominees. Two options are available for the products demonstrations:
– Live product demonstration: Nominations walk through their product webinar-style with the judges participating as they do the walk-through
– Recorded product demonstration: Nominees may already have a video product demo that can be sent to the judges to watch.
We recommend that the nominees keep the demos to under an hour. If it is a live demo, remember to leave time for Q&A with the judges.
The first round review also includes product access. It’s beneficial for the judges to get a feel for the product on their own, as a supplement to the guided demo. Product access can happen in several forms, including temporary online login information or by sending the physical product to the judge.
I also suggest sending as much additional information as you would like to the judges. This can be additional links to PDF’s, videos, news releases, etc.
Who are the judges?
We take great care in selecting the industry experts who volunteer as judges. Each division reviews every judge application to determine if he/she is qualified. We want to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.
For our software and content categories, the judges consist of industry executives and analysts, members of the media, bloggers, investors, and even some customers.
For our education categories, we use educators and administrators as our judges. They are the users of these products and can best determine what products may work the best in their classrooms.
Judging is a great experience because it gives the customers a chance to review the products and provide feedback that the companies can use to make improvements.
How can you help?
We are still looking for judges in several of our categories in Content, Software, and Education. If you are interested in judging or can recommend a colleague please complete our brief judge application.
Angel Scott is Awards Program Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the SIIA CODiE Awards on twitter at
Mobile Privacy: Time for Collaboration, Not Legislation
Wed, 12 Sep 2012 15:49
Representative Ed Markey’s proposed mobile legislation, scheduled to be introduced today, is the wrong way to go. It would impose rigid privacy rules on the mobile industry that can only lead to stagnation and a loss of innovative dynamism.
And what a loss that would be for such a dynamic, growing industry. According to a recent study, there were over 44,000 app-related positions open in the U.S. in the last quarter of 2011, and overall, there were 45 percent more open app positions than in the previous year. Based on this number, the study found the app economy firms represented 311,000 jobs. Using a standard multiplier, this number grew to nearly a half a million jobs created by the app economy in both direct and indirect jobs since 2007.
Rather than overregulating an industry that holds such potential for economic growth, Congress should be following the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s lead in supporting the industry. The Committee is holding a hearing today focused on apps and where the jobs are.
So if legislation isn’t the answer, what should be done? Over the summer, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched an effort to nudge stakeholders into adopting codes of conduct for mobile transparency. SIIA was supportive of this effort and remains so. But after several meetings it appears that things may be starting to drift. Some scheduled meetings have been postponed. Fortunately, discussions between various industry stakeholders, as well as discussion between industry and consumer watchdogs, are ongoing.
The industry needs to get the substantive mobile transparency discussion moving again, if not through NTIA action then separately.
It’s also important to remember that consumers are not passive victims. If they think they are being abused, they have a healthy capacity for self-defense. As the New York Times wrote last week “many consumers seem to be already taking steps to guard their personal information from data-grabbing apps. A study by the Pew Research Center, released Wednesday, found that among Americans adults who use smartphone apps, half had decided not to install applications on their mobile phones because they demanded too much personal information. Nearly a third uninstalled an application after learning that it was collecting personal information “they didn’t wish to share.” And one in five turned off location tracking “because they were concerned that other individuals or companies could access that information.”
This is good. In the absence of government mandates, and industry codes of conduct, consumers are doing some sensible things to protect themselves. But the lack of consumer trust is troubling and can only inhibit growth in the market. If consumers just say no, the whole industry suffers.
The FTC is trying to help with some guidance. Last week it published its recommendations for mobile application developers, suggesting that companies seek “express agreement” for consumer data they collect and share. Nothing is binding on companies, however, and there is no indication that these recommendations are forming the core of industry codes of conduct or best practice.
Recommendations are good. Consumer self-help is good. But the world is looking to us to show that self-regulation can work as a viable alternative to government mandates. To allow the multi-stakeholder efforts on mobile transparency to falter now would confirm their belief that only the government can set the rules of the road in this area. It is time for the industry to step up and make progress on setting its own rules of the road.
Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology. Follow the SIIA Public Policy team on Twitter at @SIIAPolicy
Nominations Now Open for the 28th Annual SIIA CODiE Awards
Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:38
Nominations are now open for the 2013 SIIA CODiE Awards. This year’s CODiE Awards feature 27 new and updated categories, reflecting the dramatic changes in technology and business models impacting the software and information industries.
The CODiE Awards have been the premier award for the software and information industries for 28 years. The awards program has three tracks organized by industry focus: Content, Software and Education.
Highlights of this year’s program:
Content: The Content CODiE Awards showcase the information industry’s finest products, technology and services created by, or for, media, publishers and information services providers.
* Fourteen new and updated categories reflect new technology and business models in the content industry including: Best Crowd Sourced Solution, Best Editorial Outsourcing Solution, Best Semantic Technology Solution and Best Social Media Platform
* The Content CODiE Awards will be presented Jan. 31, 2013 during the Content Division’s annual conference for information industry leaders, the Information Industry Summit
Education: The Education CODiE Awards showcase applications, products and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector.
* The new Best Personalized Learning Solution category highlights the major educational shift toward individual, tailored learning plans for students. Three new top-level categories will reward the best of the best of PK-12, postsecondary, and overall education nominees.
* Education winners will be announced in San Francisco on May 6, 2013 during the Ed Tech Industry Summit.
Business: The Software CODiE Awards showcase applications, products and services that are developed by independent software vendors (ISVs) for use in business, government, academic, or other organizational settings.
* Twelve new and updated categories reflect the continued growth and evolution of cloud computing, mobile, big data, and video. Highlights include: Best Cloud Platform as a Service Solution, Best Big Data Solution, Best Mobile Device Application for Consumers, Best Mobile Device Application for Enterprise, and Best Video Tool.
* Software winners will be announced in San Francisco on May 9, 2013 during the software industry’s premier ISV conference, All About the Cloud.
Learn more about the nomination process.
Wendy Tanner is CODiE Awards Coordinator. Follow the CODiE Awards on Twitter @CODiEAwards
Interview with New SIIA Member, PaySimple
Wed, 25 Jul 2012 15:38
SIIA recently welcomed PaySimple to the SIIA community. After presenting at the SIIA Strategic & Financial Investment conference last month, I had a chance to chat with their CEO, Eric Remer. Read my full interview below.
Rhianna: Welcome to SIIA! Tell me a little about PaySimple and what makes you unique.
Eric: PaySimple simplifies the way small businesses bill and collect payments and empowers them with technology to make their business more efficient. Our cloud-based accounts receivable automation solution includes support for multiple payment types, across multiple payment channels (mobile, web, recurring, and invoice) all integrated with customer management. This solution uniquely meets the needs of small businesses in the services sector. With PaySimple, 85% of customers save time and 55% get paid faster. PaySimple also offers custom-branded programs for large enterprises looking to provide value-added solutions to their small business members. Partners in market today include American Express, JP Morgan Chase, Western Union, Vantiv, Jack Henry and ADP.
Rhianna: Your sweet spot is small businesses. As those businesses scale, can PaySimple scale along with them? Are their specific requirements for retaining those customers?
Eric: We are fortunate in that many of our customers have grown significantly since they began using PaySimple. While our solution is easily approachable for the business just making the switch to automated billing, it also has a robust feature set to support the evolving needs of growing businesses. Some examples include multiple users and roles, sophisticated reporting and proven scalability.
We’ve found that once a small business uses the system, they are likely to remain a customer for life. PaySimple places a strong emphasis on helping customers get started including uploading their customers and processing their first transaction. Most of our customers will achieve an ROI in their first month of usage. In our experience, the vital keys to retaining small business customers include a product that is easy to use, that provides ongoing tangible value all backed by amazing customer support.
Rhianna: As our lives become more and more mobile, how important is mobile to your business strategy?
Eric: Mobile is a key component of our business strategy. It is vital for small business owners to be able to conduct business and access information anytime from anywhere. PaySimple launched iPhone and Android apps last year and have continued to enhance and expand these apps in 2012.
We’ve found that small business owners not only want to use mobile devices to collect payments, but that they also find the ability to manage their business from anywhere very valuable. Some of the most common actions taken with our apps beyond payment processing include checking the receivables overview dashboard and interacting with customers such as pulling up a map, or placing a phone call.
Rhianna: You have received a couple of awards recently, JMP Securities Hot 100 Companies and Red Herring Americas Top 100 Private Companies. What does that recognition mean for PaySimple?
Eric: The recent recognition and awards we’ve received have been a great honor. We view these awards as another market indicator that the receivables automation movement is going mainstream to help small businesses improve their cash flow and manage their business more efficiently. We are excited to be recognized by these organizations for our innovative approach to helping small businesses and the enterprises that serve them.
Rhianna Collier is VP for the Software Division at SIIA. Follow the SIIA software division on Twitter @SIIASoftware
The questions that didn’t make it into Vision from the Top
Tue, 29 May 2012 18:38
Each year SIIA sets out to pick the minds of individuals who are shaping and growing our industry. Just a couple of weeks ago we released the 2012 Vision from the Top publication that features interviews with these business leaders providing thoughts on trends, M&A activity, and the future of our industry.
While we went through the interview process we asked the contributing executives some questions that you won’t find answered in the publication which I thought I would share with you. We asked the member executives to look at Forrester’s 2012 Cloud Predictions and tell us which one would have the most significant impact in 2012. The majority of contributors said “The cloud market will grow beyond $60 billion in 2012”. What does that say about cloud computing? It is not just a trend, it is the way in which we compute today and if you are not providing or consuming cloud services you will be at a disadvantage in the marketplace. HOWEVER, we also asked which of Forresters’ predictions will be the biggest challenge in 2012 and the majority also selected “The cloud market will grow beyond $60 Billion in 2012”. Clearly the consensus is that the cloud market will grow but will continue to face challenges, likely around security, integrations, etc.
Another popular response was that “Large enterprises will take the lead in cloud markets in 2012”. I found this one surprising since the enterprises have made a much slower move to the cloud than the SMBs. However, what I am hearing from the members is that 2012 will be the year. We have certainly seen a significant investment being made by the enterprises with all the recent M&A activity. Every day I wake up and wonder which one of the SIIA members will be acquired today!
If you read Vision from the Top you will see that the contributors are either CEOs or large business unit leaders of enterprises. We wanted to get an idea of their personal technology choices so we asked some personal questions (at least in the technology world these would be considered personal). Not surprising an overwhelming majority of contributing executives use an iPhone as their smartphone of choice. And an overwhelming number said they also carry a tablet of some kind, no more lugging around those heavy laptops.
Next we invaded the social space of the contributing authors. We asked how many of them actively used Facebook and approximately 60% said yes. At first I thought that number was low until I saw the answers to the next question, do you activity use LinkedIn? An overwhelming majority actively use LinkedIn. That should not be a surprise given the business nature of the application. Now here is an interesting one, the majority of respondents do not, yes DO NOT, actively use twitter. A little surprising but I suppose these executives leave Twitter to their marketing departments.
Rhianna Collier is VP for the Software Division at SIIA.
Mobile Payments Get Currency
Wed, 25 Apr 2012 15:55
The FTC is looking at mobile payments this Thursday, an event that caps several weeks of intense attention to this innovative new technology by policymakers. In March the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee held hearings. And the Internet Caucus held a Congressional briefing, which I chaired.
Several years ago a study by ITIF highlighted mobile payment’s opportunities for efficiencies, growth and innovation. It wondered why it hadn’t taken off in the US, the way it had in other jurisdictions such as Japan and Korea. Since then Square, Intuit, Google, ISIS, PayPal have all ramped up their efforts to bring the new service to consumers and retailers in an attractive easy to use package. The majority of Americans will be embracing mobile payments by 2020, a Pew Internet study found last week.
The benefits are enormous. Mobile payment technology means faster checkout, more through put for merchants, the opportunity to send and receive offers and promotions, greater security, and a platform for new innovative services that haven’t been created yet.
It is worth pausing on the benefits of increased security. Unlike traditional magnetic stripe payment card transactions, mobile payments use a different security code for each transaction. Even if the transaction data is compromised, it cannot be used to make a counterfeit card that would work at the point of sale. This takes the merchant system out of harm’s way and reduces risk to cardholders. Mobile payments implemented on a smartphone can also be protected by a password or PIN number, adding barriers to illicit use of a lost or stolen phone. If asked to choose based on security, shoppers would be smart to use mobile payments over traditional cards.
Some have suggested that mobile payments create increased privacy risks because new information would be available to new players. But these risks are speculative and are being addressed in advance by market players who design their systems to be privacy-protective. They know that the market will only work on the basis of trust, careful handling of personal information, and a compelling user experience.
Mobile payment providers collect location information from their users, but only with affirmative consent. Product specific information isn’t collected at all and so cannot be added to a consumer profile to target ads. Cell phone and email information are available to mobile payment service providers at the time of sign up, but are not transferred to third parties such as retailers. Mobile payment services are savvy enough to avoid the mistake of allowing secret, undesirable acquisition of contact information by third parties. Under the Google Wallet rules, for example, contact information could not be disclosed to a retailer for marketing or advertising purposes without affirmative consent.
The privacy default for mobile payments is that consent is needed for any sharing of consumers’ personal information for marketing purposes. Industry participants have set up their systems with this requirement for consent as the default. This privacy-by-default approach renders concerns about privacy violations more theoretical than real. Mobile payment users can feel confident that they can enjoy the conveniences and added security and usefulness of mobile payments without worrying about privacy violations.
Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology.
SIIA Survey: Marketing Executives Believe Social Media is an Effective Tool; Not Yet Investing Significant Resources
Wed, 08 Feb 2012 18:51
SIIA’s Software Division today released “Marketing in Today’s Economy”— the first SIIA publication to gather business-to-business sales and marketing tactics from leading industry executives. As part of the guide, SIIA joined with Lopez Research to conduct a comprehensive survey of more than 100 marketing executives in North America. The survey focused on their companies’ use of email, mobile marketing and social media to build their brands, gain leads, and improve customer support.
One of the most eye-opening findings from the study is that a gap exists between attitudes towards social media and investment in social media. About 90 percent of marketing executives surveyed use social media marketing, and three quarters believe it has a positive impact on their business. At the same time slightly more than half (54.5 percent) of respondents said their company’s marketing team spends less than 10 hours per week investing in social media. And further, 35 percent said they spend only between one and five hours per week on social media marketing.
Social media has clearly become a widely used tool among B2B marketers and few doubt that it is helping their business. But the survey also shows that marketers may not be dedicating the resources necessary to get the results they want from social media marketing. It is remarkable to see that, despite their strong belief in the power of social media, over one-third of marketers are engaged in it for only five hours or fewer every week.
The survey suggests that marketers do recognize the need to dedicate more resources to their social media efforts going forward. About 65 percent of respondents cited social media as an area in which they would like to invest more spending, and over 70 percent indicated they expect to increase their use of both Twitter and Linkedin in the year ahead. And importantly, marketers are beginning to apply the same ROI metrics to social media that they do for other marketing efforts, both offline and online. For example, 59 percent of businesses are using social media use web traffic as an indicator of social media ROI, while 53 percent are using qualified leads as a key ROI metric.
Social media is still a relatively new method for growing a business, but marketers clearly believe it is has value and will require greater investment. And with more marketers now applying traditional ROI metrics—such as qualified leads—to their social media efforts, they are more likely to get a clear sense of what level of investment makes sense. The maturation process of social media is clearly underway, and we can expect to see significant advancements in the coming years.
The survey looked at wide range of issues, and found a number of other results that are important for marketers—including:
• 75 percent of respondents do not outsource any social media efforts.
• Nearly 60 percent of respondents said that less than 5 percent of their deals began through social network interactions.
• Privacy is the top ethical concern in today’s marketing world.
• Most marketers predict that the biggest trend in 2012 will be greater communication and quantification of value to customers.
The Software Division conducted the survey in conjunction with Lopez Research during the fourth quarter of 2011. The survey interviewed 106 marketing executives, of which 88 percent were business-to-business marketers.
In addition to the survey, Marketing in Today’s Economy features commentary from 16 leading marketing experts whose companies provide technology solutions or services across a spectrum of industries. The authors offer expertise on a wide range of B2B marketing trends and best practices—from social media to search engine optimization and cloud marketing.
Rhianna Collier is VP for the Software Division at SIIA.