Think Enterprise (No, Not Starships or Rental Cars...)

This is another in my series of public service announcements, trying to point out that the Android app world does not begin and end with the Android Market…

Android continues to climb in the enterprise. For example, Motorola Mobility has been pushing the envelope on enterprise Android, not only in terms of devices with additional built-in enterprise features (that you can tie into via SDK add-ons), but also a dedicated section of the MOTODEV site for enterprise development.

Big businesses have big needs, often different needs than do individual consumers. Big businesses have big requirements that may be hurdles that your competition is unwilling to climb. And, big businesses have big budgets, relative to what you might be making off of the Market or other wide-area distribution channels.

But big businesses will not be buying apps off the Android Market en masse. Sure, individual employees may buy apps here and there, but the Android Market simply does not support the sort of enterprise licensing that big businesses are used to. Instead, you would likely need to strike individual deals with individual enterprises, no different than how enterprise software has been sold for a long time.

So, you need to ask yourself:

  • Do I have something that enterprises might like?

  • Do I have the means of going after the enterprise market, in terms of sales contacts, somebody to actually do the sales and marketing, etc.?

  • Do I have a means of providing technical support that will meet the demand (e.g., do I have to provide front-line support?) and will scale to the client size?

If the answer to all is “yes”, you have serious potential in the enterprise space and should be strongly considering how you can approach it, whether directly or through some sort of channel partner (e.g., trying to get device manufacturers to bundle your app on their enterprise-focused devices).

Even if you say “no” to the latter two bullets, consider whether you could say yes with some sort of additional support (e.g., funding to hire a salesperson), and then how you might get that additional support (angel investors, Kickstarter campaign for related technology, etc.).

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