Mobi Weave was founded to create great User Experiences for Enterprise apps and with our 4.5 star rated BI app on the App Store, we were well on our way to fulfilling that mission. But talking to our customers, we did find some issues that are holding us back. These issues affect most business apps on mobile devices.
- Most of our customers are CXOs but that also meant that our app was not deployed to BI analysts and other potential users due to lack of cheap and easy to use MDM tools.
- No direct customer visibility if you sell on the App Store.
- Lack of upgrade revenue, volume discounts, partner discounts from the App Store model
After analyzing this data in Q1 2012, we had to pivot to a new business model.
Requirements for New Business Model
- Subscription Revenue – With the high cost of customer acquisition, recurring revenue from current customers make for a more stable company
- Owning the Customer – We needed to know who the customer is, which the App Store does not provide
- Empower Partners – Partners discounts and Volume discounts drive adoption
We analyzed different market segments to go after before settling on the Mobile Device Management market segment, since most of our current customer base was having this issue.
For our cloud platform, Windows Azure with Visual Studio tools was naturally the front-runner. But we were not just looking for a solution to host Windows VMs, lots of hosting and cloud vendors do that.
Our needs were much deeper. We needed a Federated Authentication service, a SQL DB service, a scalable but open cloud service that can scale ASP.NET services and a BI reporting service. While these services are individually available elsewhere, Azure brings them under one roof, which drastically reduced our development and QA time. Here is how our high level architecture looks like.
App Catalog was developed using Microsoft Visual Studio and the Microsoft BizSpark Plus program was invaluable to us during the development and deployment stages.
We chose Windows Azure as it is the only cloud solution that enables us to on-board a customer in 15 minutes. With Federated Identity, ASP.NET Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, Cloud DBs and marketplace for third party services, it allows us to innovate on our business rather than spending time fighting platform technology issues.
App Catalog, our MDM cloud app, is now in beta and you can use it to empower your users to manage their mobile devices in 15 minutes.
Our advice to other startups is - Cloud is easy with the right tools and irrespective of what problem you solve; it will help you to be in control of your destiny.