We live in an Apple-dominated application development environment and it doesn’t need to be that way. Carriers can stay relevant by making application enablement more open and agile. Network operators have been offering app stores for a lot longer than Apple, but none of their “walled gardens” have been nearly as successful as Apple’s in such a short period of time.
Alcatel-Lucent’s strategic white paper “Driving the Application Explosion: Implications for network providers – challenges and recommendations” (PDF) offers up this great app store development advice:
Build a holistic financial case: Direct revenues must also be combined with indirect benefits such as application delivery, cost-cutting and brand loyalty.
Explore new business models: It recommends five different models (Operator Led, Aggregator, Mass Wholesale, Enterprise Customer and Trusted Partner), all of which are currently used by carriers. They vary in terms of control and alignment of relationships in the mobile ecosystem.
Industrialize processes: When you get a dramatic increase in application enablement, simply standardize processes and support systems (e.g., business process management, catalogs, automated testing, governance,and monitoring) to streamline costs.
Lessen fragmentation to achieve scale: The more standardization across network providers for application development, the greater opportunity for all to bring aboard more users.
The current “everybody’s got their own rules” carrier environment can no longer work. Developers don’t have the bandwidth to mine through all the complicated relationships. Success requires adopting new business models and embracing open development. Make sure you read the full article. There’s some fantastic advice.