When Kishore Khandavalli, founder of successful iTech, decided to develop SevenTablets as a separate company, we took notice. SevenTablets specializes in app development whille iTech provides software consulting and services for web and client-server platforms. It seemed as though both company missions might work hand-in-hand.
According to Khandavalli, apps are generally about speed and usability while IT solutions solve specific problems. In order to expand our knowledge about the app industry through the eyes of an expert, we interviewed Mr. Khandavalli about the future of the app industry.
Faleris: What tipped your decision to open another company versus build on the equity of your current company?
Khandavalli: iTech typically works on a time and material basis to provide a solution to our client. Our solutions tend to be “work-horses”, i.e. provide a robust and comprehensive solution to a specific problem. It takes a number of seasoned and mature technologists to develop that kind of a solution.
At SevenTablets.com we provide cutting-edge, interactive mobile solutions where the users are not necessarily looking for a wealth of information, but usability and speed are of utmost importance. The attention span of a mobile user tends to be a lot shorter so an effective mobile solution has to be appealing and engaging. It takes a different mindset, culture and talent to develop this application than a web/client server solution. And it involves a lot more strategy and creative thinking. So, I decided to have two different companies, two different brands and cultures.
Faleris: How is SevenTablets going to corral the worldwide app talent? Will it be an outsourcing service whereby companies can post jobs and app developers give estimates? Or will all of the developers be employees?
Khandavalli: All of our developers are in-house employees. The days of posting an app development job on a job-site and getting it done are behind us. To have a competitive edge, you have to have more than just an app.
First the app has to be creative and engaging. Once you have a successful app, the differentiator then is how the company utilizes the data that is being generated by the app and its users (data analytics). So a comprehensive and successful mobile strategy must have three pieces: a “knock-your-socks-off” app, a data analytics engine, and data security. SevenTablets offers a comprehensive mobile solution that encompasses these three aspects. We have a multi-pronged approach to recruiting and retaining talent:
- We focus on our existing employees and update their skills related to mobile technologies. We have a strong retention strategy.
- We have an effective training program to keep employees abreast of technology and mobile development.
- We have an effective recruitment program in place, and we consider non-traditional recruiting. We go to campuses to attract the fresh talent, and think beyond borders. Mobile is global and customers are more than likely global, so our recruitment is global as well.
Faleris: What is the business model?
Khandavalli: SevenTablets offers a comprehensive mobile solution that encompasses app development, data analytics and security. Our differentiators are user experience (UX) and time to market. We provide custom solutions to all of our clients, as no two clients are alike. Developing a comprehensive and custom solution from scratch takes time. So, we are taking a much more modular approach; i.e. we pre-developed re-usable components, so when our client wants an app and wants it within the next 60 days, we can deliver a solution quickly and cost-efficiently.
Faleris: Where do you see the app business heading in the next year? In the next 5 years?
Khandavalli: Enterprise mobility is here and it’s here to stay. “App business” has become mobile business. The mobile experience is a lot more than an app. It is becoming the way of doing business. Corporate enterprise mobility is in its infancy, as companies just developed apps and have not effectively started utilizing apps to enhance their business. Mobility in business is poised to take off in 2014 and will continue to grow over the next 3-5 years.
Faleris: Do you think there will ever be a glut of apps, rendering most of them fairly unused?
Khandavalli: Over the last decade and a half, websites have been defined by their “traffic.” Mobile apps will be similar. Like websites, there are and will continue to be millions of apps and the effective ones will come to the top. An effective app will have a very specific purpose, deliver and capture a defined amount of data, and does so effortlessly and intuitively.
Faleris: What are your projections for the mobile market over the next 5 years?
Khandavalli: Mobility is here and is here to stay. I strongly believe that phones and tablets will converge and that “phablets” will become more prominent. Users will gravitate towards one device that does all instead of carrying multiple devices. With the onset of cloud and mobility, mobile devices will just become a “user interface” whereas the data will be hosted elsewhere.
Faleris: What next? Holographic apps? Voice activated apps?
Khandavalli: I think apps will become a lot more interactive so that users can accomplish a lot with them. I do not predict voice-activated apps will gain any popularity.
Faleris: What will you do with your other company? What is its future?
Khandavalli: Both companies serve and cater to a specific purpose for our clients. While the clients are common for both companies, they cater to different business objectives. It is my present intention to operate this way for the foreseeable future until the market conditions dictate differently.
Faleris: Is there anything else you would like to present to our readers?
Khandavalli: Don’t just create an app for the sake of having one. Don’t create a mobile solution; have a mobile strategy. A well thought out and executed mobile strategy should enhance and support your business. A poorly executed app can do just the opposite — it is a double-edged sword.
Mobility is here to stay for at least the near future. Many business people are rushing to catch up to the latest Google update for their website when perhaps the quickest way to catch up is to jump into the mobile arena.