It has been apparent for years that enterprise apps are in the ascendency. A recent piece of research suggests just how quickly they are growing, while insiders suggest that they are changing as well.
AppFigures this week released numbers on the growth of app stores. A couple of graphics in the firm’s exhaustive analysis of its findings show that business apps are expanding rapidly. Most impressively, this category is the fastest growing on iOS. The number of business apps in the App Store rose by about 210 percent during the year. That outstripped food and drink apps (about 195 percent), lifestyle apps and social networking apps (both at about 180 percent) and catalogs (about 175 percent).
The story was different, but still impressive, at Google Play. The leading app type was game apps, at about 260 percent growth. It was followed by photography (about 250 percent), music (about 230 percent), business (about 220 percent) and entertainment (about 210 percent).
Of course, the percentage is only one part of the equation, and percentage gains can be misleading. That caveat notwithstanding, it is clear that business apps were hot in 2014. It is important to note that these are consumer marketplaces. Business-oriented marketplaces, such as BlackBerry World and Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, no doubt grew as well.
In his story on appFigures’ findings, Network World’s Al Sacco included a quote from appFigure that suggests that enterprise apps are ready for prime time. The readiness is both in how they perform in the corporate back end in addition to the sheer numbers available and the capabilities they offer employees:
"The industry has matured to the point where the apps aren't just adding tremendous value but are also enabling the controls enterprises need to manage and maintain those apps," says Ariel Michaeli, appFigures CEO. "We believe CIOs and IT teams are now in the unique position where they can greatly empower their companies by leveraging existing apps or getting apps developed for their needs.”
The changes that Michaeli referred to – the fact that enterprise apps are different than they were before, not just more numerous – also is a theme for Enterprise Apps Today’s Drew Robb as he looks at the year ahead. He says that in 2015, enterprise apps will be created more quickly and easily; that enterprise apps will move past consumer apps in popularity; that there will be a software-as-a-service (SaaS) “acquisition frenzy” and an emphasis on real-time data. He also anticipates the development of an emphasis on apps that “ease mobile workflows” and more outsourcing of mobile app development.
Colin Steele at SearchConsumerization.com offered some insight into what Robb tabbed as the trend to real-time data. Usually, Steele writes, workers whose apps fail are too frustrated to voluntarily offer feedback. At the same time, data is necessary to know how an app is being employed and to improve its user-friendliness. He writes that in-app analytics are being used to generate useful data on what workers are doing with apps and what problems are cropping up.
Clearly, these are good days for enterprise apps. The research shows that the category is growing in size and sophistication – and the evidence suggests that it will continue to do so into the future.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at email@example.com and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.