by apprisedev | March 18, 2015

wiredIn reading The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times last week, I couldn’t help but take note of the fact that in the same day, companies involved in the early days of The Mobile and App Revolution (i.e. Slack and Box) were highlighted for their leadership position in the messaging/collaboration (Slack) and file storage (Box) space. Trying to take a 25,000 foot view of what these companies represent in the context of mobile B2B, I couldn’t help but think that while they have hit on important opportunities, the big picture of what is taking place is getting lost. Just like the Internet bubble craze of the late 1990s, companies like Slack and Box are receiving billion dollar valuation credit just because they are riding the equivalent of the “.com” wave. In light of what history has demonstrated, one should question whether this is well deserved? I believe the answer is yes and no.

Slack, more than Box has hit on something important – and that is an alternative to email. Box, that has been around since 2005, also is providing something of value with respect to file storage in the cloud. However, this is quickly becoming commoditized. I don’t want to dismiss what these companies do for a living. However, I believe they are taking a myopic and short-sighted view of the real opportunity underlying mobile technology, especially when it comes to its use in business. And this is getting lost in the hype of billion dollar valuations.

Companies like Slack and Box should serve as inspiration for the developer community to think big about the opportunity that will present itself as mobile technology evolves and becomes the primary computing device in business. However, even as they take advantage of their current notoriety, they should not be considered the be-all, end-all when it comes to new technological solutions and our work as developers. They represent only a sliver of the big picture. Consider this analogy: AOL’s email service in the late 1990’s revolutionized how we communicated at home and work; however it was Microsoft’s bigger vision for use of the Internet and solutions in the workplace that gave rise to Office and Outlook that essentially rendered AOL’s email service obsolete.

As we know, history repeats itself. And here we are again. At APPrise Mobile, companies like Slack and Box motivate us to think bigger recognizing that as mobile technology evolves, so too will the need to develop more holistic and encompassing solutions that serve the need of our primary customers – corporate and internal communications, investor relations and human resource professionals. At the same time, just like in the case of AOL email and Microsoft Outlook, they force us to realize that this is just the beginning of the Mobile and App Revolution and the technology solution that will ultimately prevail and set the standard is yet to be determined.

Jeff Corbin is founder and CEO of APPrise Mobile.

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