SaaS offers running in the cloud, with full featured client side apps, hit some marketing head winds

As of mid October, 2014, two recent well publicized online security events — one related to Dropbox, the other to SnapChat and an app named SnapSaved — illustrate cloud hosts attempting to distance themselves from app developers providing the SaaS offer in the wake of a public online security event. If they succeed, app developers look likely to hit some marketing head winds.

The odds of this outcome went up when the ISV responsible for SnapSaved.com came forward and disclosed its intentional effort to compromise online security and privacy for consumers of its app. The details can be found in an article written by Mike Isaac, titled A Look Behind the SnapChat Photo Leak Claims, which was published on October 17, 2014. Consumers will not likely be reassured as the result of this admission of culpability.

Whether the intentions of the unnamed management team at SnapSaved.com were honorable, or not, has no material importance. But their admission to intentional malicious activity, together with their ability to execute on their objective with an app conforming to SnapChat’s specific requirements for interoperability is of critical importance. Leaving aside the question of how this admission will likely impact on individual consumers of the app, and of SnapChat, itself, let’s focus on likely reaction from larger organizations and the IT teams supporting them to this event. It’s likely larger organizations will take a harder look at their BYOD policies and procedures in the aftermath of these both of these events. Larger organizations do not want to work with lots of technology providers. So the tactics implemented by DropBox and SnapChat to distance themselves from culpability will not help either of these cloud offers to add further momentum to the pace at which consumers from enterprise business sign on and start using services. In fact the opposite is likely to be the case.

One glimmer of opportunity from these otherwise glum and business-depressing events amounts to whether or not EMM solutions like Microsoft InTune can be configured to manage just how consumers interact with an otherwise limitless list of apps, from an equally limitless list of ISVs, within the confines of specific corporate networks. If these EMM solutions can be set up to manage app consumption, independent of the cloud hosting the apps, themselves, perhaps enterprise IT organizations will have more of the stamina to brush off these events as anomalies likely to vanish in the future.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved


A Direct Comparison Between facebook and Twitter May Not Be Useful

Analysts often compare facebook to Twitter. But does such a comparison add real value to our understanding of either business, or their industry?

During facebook’s most recent quarterly earnings conference call, Mark Zuckerberg reported “Messenger and Instagram both reached 200 million monthly actives this quarter”. Turning to Twitter’s most recent quarterly earnings report, one finds a claim of 250 million monthly active users. So does it make sense to conclude facebook’s two components, combined, have a far wider reach than Twitter, itself?

I don’t think so. People consume facebook’s Messenger and/or Instagram features for an entirely different set of requirements, I would argue, than is the case for Twitter. Messenger, Instagram, and even What’s App are all targeted to individuals, without the public reach implicit to Twitter.

An important foundation of Twitter’s broader public reach, of course, is the extensive search capability included with Twitter. This capability is not available with either of facebook’s components. Much has been made about the difficulties businesses, and even individuals experience achieving exposure across a wide range of facebook’s consumers. Perhaps the intention is to predicate this exposure on ad purchases. Nevertheless, it is not possible to achieve the same reach with facebook Messenger, for example, as is the case for Twitter. Further, facebook advertisers are not likely to consider Messenger, as a medium, for the same reasons they would consider Twitter.

The challenge for Twitter management, as I see it, is how to craft this reach into a commodity advertisers will be likely to purchase. In comparison, the challenge of maintaining a meteoric growth rate for new viewers to consume Twitter’s content is a less important objective.

But the analyst community is focusing more on the fact Twitter is approaching a viewer plateau, than the steps management is taking to monetize their content. The end result is not much progress on the revenue front and a lot of spurious attention to expanding Twitter’s reach.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved