The days of an enterprise feeling good about mobility leadership by piloting a mobile app or two are behind us. Survey findings show that the new norm for enterprise mobile app development is multiple app projects per year.
So if 2011 and 2012 were focused on testing out enterprise mobile apps and making early progress, 2013 will shape up as the year for being prodigious and productive with enterprise mobility. That's not just a blind prediction, but a reflection of user plans and ambitions.
For instance, in a recent Web-based poll conducted by Verivo Software, respondents were asked to choose a range for the number of mobile apps their organizations were planning to build in the next 12 months. Of the 535 who responded, 30% said they would build five to nine apps and 26% said two to four enterprise mobile apps would be in the works.
This finding is consistent with other research that shows enterprises are beyond the dabbling stage with mobility. For example, Frost & Sullivan surveyed more than 300 business professionals earlier this year about enterprise mobile apps. The firm found that 82% of North American businesses already have at least one mobile app deployed to employees; 68% plan one or more additional apps in the coming year; and 9% expect to introduce more than 10 new apps.
Analyst firm Gartner, in its tech predictions for 2012 and beyond, said that by 2015, mobile app development projects will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of four to one. Additionally, Gartner — in its 2013 advice for enterprise IT groups contemplating project plans — stated that "application delivery teams need to re-establish themselves as trusted solution providers for mobile, cloud, social, and information initiatives."
Yankee Group, in a report titled, "It's Full Steam Ahead for Enterprise Mobility Into 2013," noted that from June 2011 to June 2012, the proportion of U.S. employees using a smartphone for work purposes increased from 37% to 60%.
Apps Are the Strategy
Any way you slice it, plans for enterprise mobile apps are expanding rapidly. That means to keep pace, IT and business leaders need to be both ambitious in their mobile strategy and efficient in its execution. What's more, mobile apps should no longer be considered sideshows or pilot projects, but vital to the overall strategic IT plan.
In reality, developing enterprise mobile apps could be a complex and time-consuming process. The app has to run on multiple devices, must connect to multiple backend systems, provide secure data access in today's bring your own device (BYOD) world, and be available even when the user is out of coverage. All these factors can be addressed by selecting the right enterprise mobility platform.
An enterprise mobility platform allows the business to design once and deploy the app simultaneously across multiple devices, while not having to code for each device. The platform can also allow users to make changes and deploy the changes simultaneously across all devices. Finally, the platform should have integrated security, management, and analytics capabilities so it can be used not only to build apps, but also to deploy and manage them quickly and easily.
To keep pace with mobility progress, enterprises also need to do strategic things well, like establishing executive leadership for mobile strategy, working with employees and customers to identify innovative app ideas, and have CIOs make mobility a vital part of IT strategic plans.
Dabbling with mobility won't cut it anymore. To be a market leader, you have to be prodigious and productive in your mobility efforts.