WAGs Must Meet Multichannel Access Gateway Criteria

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1 Markets, W. Clark Research Note 16 December 2003 WAGs Must Meet Multichannel Access Gateway Criteria Most wireless application gateway functionality will be absorbed into other mobile development platforms offering richer multichannel functionality. Vendors will be measured under new multichannel access gateway criteria. Core Topic Wireless and Mobile: Mobile Consumer and Enterprise Applications and Services Key Issues How will mobile applications and services deliver business benefits during the next five years? What are the opportunities and risks of mobilizing business processes and practices? Strategic Planning Assumptions In 2004, the number of vertical mobile application seats deployed will rise by 80 percent (0.7 probability). The multichannel access gateway market will reach the Plateau of Productivity by 2007 (0.7 probability). Gartner began covering the wireless application gateway (WAG) and mobile middleware market in 2000, issuing a Magic Quadrant that included the top 20 WAG vendors. The downturn in the IT market forced consolidation as many IS organizations chose to pilot, rather than scale, mobile implementations. In 2003, mobile adoption began to again rise significantly. In 2004, the number of vertical mobile application seats deployed will rise by 80 percent (0.7 probability). Enterprises scaling multiple mobile projects will find that the WAG market landscape has changed significantly in terms of vendors and offerings. In March 2002, we reported on 14 vendors in the WAG market. Of that group, only five (IBM, Oracle, Air2Web, Everypath and Sybase) are active. Changes in the WAG vendor landscape were also due to: Acquisitions AvantGo was acquired by Sybase. Brience was acquired by Telecommunication Services. iconverse was acquired by InfoClarus, a mobile tool vendor. Viafone was acquired by Extended Systems and integrated into its middleware portfolio. Wireless Knowledge was absorbed by Qualcomm. New focus or exiting Infowave Software's focus is on corporate /personal information management (PIM). JP Mobile concentrates on horizontal extensions, such as mobile /pim. 724 Solutions' focus is on carrier service delivery platforms. Fenestrae has been inactive. Aether Systems significantly downsized its workforce to survive the recession and now bundles a limited WAG with systems integration services targeted to government and transportation. Offerings are broader because most large software vendors have begun addressing the need to support such deployments by Gartner Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

2 adding multichannel functionality to their platforms. Multichannel functionality includes wired and wireless connectivity to multiple disparate horizontal and vertical back-end systems. It also spans a wider set of devices (from PCs to phones), covers more media (including video and voice) and has the ability to create applications that involve fused processes across these technology domains. Vendors that have developed WAG functionality are broadening their wireless gateways in the same manner. A WAG vendor that has not done so will likely have little business in two years. Although large independent software vendors (ISVs) have added multichannel access gateway (MAG) functionality to their application platform suites, no one has a complete platform offering. The MAG market will reach the Plateau of Productivity by 2007 (0.7 probability). Until then, the demand for mobile applications will outstrip the ability of larger ISVs to commoditize and deploy all of the architectural components wireless Web, mobile /pim, collaborative suites and business connectors to legacy applications to support a large combination of networking and device options (see Figure 1). Many WAG vendors will fill the void left by the large ISVs and will also sell vertical mobile applications, toolkits or systems integration services. Figure 1 WAG Functionality Migration Through 2007 WAG MAG, Enterprise Tool Suite Web clipping Application clipping Transcoding Development tools Client adaptation Protocol conversion Application serving Synchronization Vertical functionality Web server Portal server Transcoding Application development Middleware Application server /groupware Niche WAGs Niche multimodal tools Packages, niche platform suites, point solutions Source: Gartner Research (December 2003) Small vendors will enable enterprises to mobilize their workforces more quickly than the behemoth vendors. The latter group must contend with many legacy requirements and conflicting priorities in providing a generic platform, testing and support. 16 December

3 A limited number of these smaller vendors will grow their multichannel offerings and will become viable MAG vendors. Most will fail or become a niche vertical WAG. Synchronization technology distinctions between mobile /groupware and WAGs will blur. The MAG market will continue to be characterized as "mammoths and mice," with all vendors having annual revenue less than $50 million or more than $1 billion. MAG MarketScope Qualifying Criteria These criteria were used to judge the vendors included in "MarketScope: Multichannel Access Gateways." Vendors must exhibit: Multichannel, WAG or mobile portals that are commercially available Reference customers established for at least six months Financial viability Does the vendor have sufficient revenue or financial backing to invest in multichannel capability? Does the core offering include a scalable and reusable mobile portal or platform supporting multiple application modules? (See "Future Portal Clients Will Be Multichannel, Offline and Rich.") Transcoding and support for multiple devices ranging from desktops, to tablets, to personal digital assistants (PDAs), to mobile phones Network support for WAN, LAN, wireless LAN (WLAN) and wireless WAN (WWAN) connectivity, including cradle synchronization Minimal support for cached offline information access Secure solution Does the vendor offer or provide a modular solution that allows for security behind the firewall? MAG MarketScope Desired Criteria Seamless transitions between multiple modalities of network connectivity Support of business object modeling and reuse (in many cases, from multiple back-end or external systems) Support for rich, offline functionality Integration with collaborative tools such as mobile and mobile instant messaging Location and presence-aware capabilities 16 December

4 Broad caching, encryption, compression and pipelining capability Support for composite applications mixing thin- and thickclient architectures Management capabilities to manage these mobile application bundles securely and cost-effectively in their infrastructure and on devices The following classes of mobile enterprise application and solution vendors are excluded from the multichannel MarketScope: ISVs offering mobile point or packaged solutions without a commercially available generic platform (for example, Xora, MDSI, Telispark and FieldCentrix) Systems integrators with proprietary mobile application toolkits (for example, Accenture, Atos Origin and SAIC) Device platform vendors Their offerings were too tightly coupled to device-implementation issues (for example, Symbian, Palm and Research In Motion) Carrier service delivery platforms that do not provide behindthe-firewall secure access (for example, Openwave, Nokia Networks, Ericsson and Motorola) Vendors may also qualify as a MAG if their platforms are used by other ISVs providing point or packaged solutions. Once vendors are qualified, MAG evaluation is based on interviews with vendors and companies implementing mobile enterprise applications (see Table 1). 16 December

5 Table 1 Sample Questions and Issues Addressed When Evaluating MAG Vendors Business Function Key Questions/Concerns Total value of opportunity of offering Financial viability Sales Marketing Operations Technology Established customer base Source: Gartner Research (December 2003) Do large mobile implementation projects break-even in less than 18 months? What is the three-year total cost of ownership of mobile projects based on the platform? Total benefit of ownership: Are vertical and applications enhanced by platform synergy with other components? Balance sheet Overall corporate sales revenue Ownership/investment structure Percent of MAG/WAG software revenue compared with vertical applications, systems integration or hardware sales Positive near-term cash flow from software revenue Direct channel strategy and implementation Indirect channel strategy (original equipment manufacturer and value-added resellers) and implementation Visibility in overall enterprise IT market, press, publications and trade associations Vertical market focus (as appropriate) Quality of partnerships, momentum Executive management team Number of employees Project implementation times Customer support capability Multichannel capable: support for multiple contexts, multiple devices or sessions per user Mulitmodal support for automatic switching between disparate WWAN and WLAN networks; support for synchronized or offline modes How well does the MAG offering support a multitiered approach, or is it strictly client/server? Conformance to core criteria of the adaptive application architecture Support for service-oriented architectures and portals Level of integration for /pim collaborative channels Ease of development: Are user interfaces and business logic described using metadata? How are business constructs modeled? Ease of deployment: What is the learning curve, level of expertise required Offline/online flexibility: Does the MAG support server-centric and client-centric deployments? What is the MAG's ability to support mobile device management and tools to minimize the level of effort required to provision mobile applications? Are customers using the platform in addition to mobile enterprise applications provided by the vendor? Number of enterprise customers Number of installed seats Customer references and testimonials Case studies This approach enables Gartner to: Identify departmental strengths and challenges 16 December

6 Assign specific responsibilities to the vendor's department managers Help balance technology (which is becoming less fundamental to success) with skills and market factors that can be predictors of success Gartner continually re-examines this criteria to ensure that it reflects changes in market dynamics and in the technology. Enterprises are at risk if they do not adopt specific valuation criteria for platforms on which to build their mobile enterprise solutions. Acronym Key ISV MAG PDA PIM WAG WLAN WWAN independent software vendor multichannel access gateway personal digital assistant personal information management wireless application gateway wireless LAN wireless WAN Bottom Line: Vendors that did not meet multichannel criteria can be considered for mobile enterprise solutions, but solutions based on these platforms will, on average, be less flexible in supporting multiple applications, devices and networks. Also, they will have a higher total cost of ownership in providing multichannel access gateway functionality over a three-year period. Reliance on MAGs will increase steadily through 2007, and multichannel platform support will be a strategic IT issue. Vendor positioning will change dramatically during MarketScope criteria will become more challenging as leading vendors commoditize core technologies. Vendors not qualifying for the MarketScope provide suitable solutions for enterprises that are locked in many tactical situations (see "Two Choices Prevail for Mobile Application Platforms"). 16 December

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