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Verivo Software Delivers New Open Enterprise Mobility App Platform
by Tony Rizzo
Enterprise mobility applications development veteran Verivo Software announced today that it is launching an entirely new mobile development platform – Verivo Akula – designed and built from the ground up to simplify the underlying complexities of building, securing and controlling mobile enterprise apps. Recently we outlined a number of things Verivo and its CEO Steve Levy believe to be evolving scenarios in the enterprise mobility space, and Verivo Akula is a response to some of these next generation mobile app development issues. To Verivo’s credit it is a platform that does not simply continue to build on yesterday’s enterprise marketplace needs but represents an entirely new mobile development technology and strategy.
First things first however – why “Akula” exactly? Akula is not only Russian for “shark” but it also refers to a Russian class of submarine. Yes, it may seem a weird leap to name something along these lines, but there is a quick story to tell here. Steve Habermas, Verivo’s head of product development, is not only an expert in Agile software engineering processes – which certainly helps in developing a next generation mobile app platform – but he also happens to be a former U.S. Navy officer who led the daily operation of the 165-person, $1.8 billion USS Nebraska submarine. Developer types having the humor they have, Steve hit on Akula for the original project code name, not only because it starts with the letter A – by which theory the next product might be dubbed Bosco (and we hope not Bozo) – but well, because it captures his submarine mentality.
We’re not sure Steve ever thought the marketing team would like the name as well, but he probably has no regrets. We ourselves like it, though we prefer to think of it being used in the sense of giving all those enterprise developers the same shark-like mastery of their enterprise mobile environments that sharks have in doing what they do – killer instincts, but we mean it in a very positive way.
The Akula mobile app platform has several specific goals in mind. First, it is an entirely open platform, and developers can take advantage of any development tool and IDE a team wants to use and is accustomed to using. It is designed from the ground up to be deployed either on-premise or in the cloud. As is the case with Verivo’s “now legacy” Verivo AppStudio, the platform ensures that it is easy to deploy, secure, monitor and troubleshoot any mobile apps. And of course it is built from the ground up to deliver those apps in a multi-device, multi-operating system environment.
Rather than trying to highlight every aspect of the platform, our goal here is to simply provide a broad view of the Verivo Akula platform. The following diagram – which we know may be very hard to read – at the very least demonstrates the general underlying complexity that Akula is built on. But stay with us to the end of our story for a better view of things.
The platform is intended to be modular and extendable – the goal is to allow developers to quickly be able to add additional capabilities to the platform as needed. There are no preconceived notions about what a development team might need. Akula has a very light footprint but is easily scalable, and the goal is to allow developers to easily add everything they do need, based on their own real time requirements and preferences. The platform integrates easily into existing corporate environments and is compatible with today’s mobile ecosystem, including front-end, testing and proprietary tools.
The final and perhaps most important goal in building Akula has been to allow users to effectively build and execute on transactional business apps, even when those users are out of coverage range. Further it allows IT operation teams to control and manage the operations of these apps while also meeting the security requirements of any given enterprise.
Interestingly, when we asked Verivo CEO Steve Levy how all of its existing Verivo AppStudio customers would fare as the company shifted to Akula, he noted that, “In fact, Akula has been built in collaboration with Verivo’s diverse group of enterprise mobile customers and partners. We’ve built it together and it delivers on our existing customers’ well-defined needs. Because the platform was built with that collection of hands-on, real world enterprise insights, we’re confident that we’ll also be able to take the Akula platform to many new customers.”
Steve also makes it very clear that the old Verivo AppStudio is being deprecated – it will no longer be extended or enhanced, though it will be supported for as long as there are customers in need of support. But Verivo’s business goal is to transition its customer base to Akula over time. The chart below demonstrates the differences between the old AppStudio and the new Akula.
A Different Go to Market Strategy
In addition to taking advantage of its customers to design and build Akula, Verivo has also done the same with how it will sell the new platform. Verivo will primarily engage, educate and sell online. Its business strategy going forward will specifically target catering to the way developers and corporate users build and manage their mobile initiatives.
As part of the Akula release, Verivo is also introducing predictable and incremental pricing, so a company can use the product in phases – starting with a few development licenses to deploy a pilot app to expanding and rolling out a full scale deployment. The pricing model allows a company to evaluate the platform and the resulting apps without having to pay a premium price upfront. A company will be able to grow a deployment, armed with the knowledge of what any incremental project cost will be, versus adopting the per-app or per-transaction models that are prevalent in the industry today. The chart below reflects an overview of the Akula pricing model.
Finally, users will be able to download Akula and try the platform for 30 days at no cost. They will have full access to Verivo’s support and DevCenter, and all product documentation and tutorials will be open to the public.
One could, of course, choose to be cynical about the entire thing and suggest that Verivo must be in trouble – the old platform wasn’t bringing in the revenue it was supposed to, and well, we could also make analogies to sinking submarines. But we know Verivo pretty damn well – in fact, we’ve watched the company stay ahead of the curve for over a decade. We’re confident that Akula represents a necessary new approach that changes the game for all mobile enterprise development. It’s no different than Apple launching an iPhone or Samsung and LG introducing eye-tracking technology. Mobility never stands still, and we very much like that Verivo is moving with the times to deliver a next generation product.
We also like that the company has built Akula organically. Building the technology in-house allows Verivo to shape the new platform to meet new customer needs rather than looking to move its customers to something they aren’t likely to need.
Steve put it to us this way: “As the enterprise mobility market evolves, we are reinventing the business and staying focused on delivering a new, open approach to solving the enterprise mobility challenges customers need to meet to maintain a strong competitive edge. We’ve built Akula to give any organization the ability to respond faster to market opportunities, increase developer productivity, lower app development and management costs and significantly reduce run-time problems and security risks. That’s what they asked us for and collaborated in helping us build.”
So much for the overview. In the near future we’ll also be taking a deeper look into what Verivo’s customers have to say about Akula. Stay tuned.
One last point we want to make is that it looks to be time to take the old standby acronym MEAP – Mobile Enterprise Application Platform – and toss it. We’re not completely sure what we should replace it with, though we can think of a few nautical terms. We’ll leave it at that. Below is the better view of the Akula platform we promised above – it’s a Verivo video well worth spending some time with.
Memo to Steve Levy before we sign off: we’re looking forward to that fireside chat at the Verivo fire pit – and the drinks.