One of the myriad ramifications of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approaches is that they push mobile enterprise apps to the forefront. Andrew Conry Murray, in a story hyping InformationWeek’s study of mobile enterprise apps, suggested that the focus indeed is shifting from devices to apps:
Native custom mobile application development is a top priority for IT. That’s according to the InformationWeek 2013 Mobile Application Development survey, which had 688 business technology respondents. Forty-one percent of respondents already have custom mobile apps in place and will develop more. An additional 24% don’t have custom mobile apps, but plan to develop them over the next 12 months.
The survey showed that the top platform is a close race: Seventy-three percent of respondents reported that they are targeting Apple’s iOS and 68 percent are after Android tablets, a 15 percent hike since last year. Windows 7.x and 8 are at 28 percent and BlackBerry is at 10 percent, the story says.
The trend in general is more important than the size of the OS pie slices. KlocWork, a firm that supports development efforts, sponsored a column on mobile enterprise application development at Venture Beat. Though the company paid for the space (making it little more than a glorified press release), it contains some good info on the trend.
Mobile enterprise apps differ from consumer apps in vital ways. Of course, the target functionality is far different and the tasks often more complex. Security is much more of a central issue, especially if the app is destined to deal with sensitive data. The apps also often must have the ability to integrate with backend systems. KlocWork, working off a survey done by Appcelerator, is happy to report that what they make is needed:
The top investment priority was for more automated testing tools. This last request makes particular sense given the heightened security and functionality demands of mobile applications as platforms grow more complex and enterprise adoption grows. Using tools like static analysis software to test mobile applications can give developers the edge they need to compete and make their applications suited to the robust demands of the enterprise environment.
InformationWeek is not the only observer that identifies mobile enterprise apps as a hot area. Tim Ferguson at Mobile World Live looked at another survey, this one done by Vanson Bourne for FeedHenry. It reports that 87 percent of organizations have written mobile apps and almost three quarters are increasing the number they are developing.
The twist in this case, however, is that while companies are using mobile enterprise apps, they don’t necessarily recognize their core value. Ferguson reports that only 44 percent recognize the importance of mobile apps and a mere 7 percent have fully implemented a mobile app strategy. The story was written in Europe, but there is no reason to think that the issues are any different in North America.
The scene will become more complex. The industry will have options in how they build apps: They can continue to write, in native fashion, for individual OSes. HTML5 provides a platform for writing apps that are usable by different OSes. Hybrid approaches, experts say, also are available to developers. The dynamic is explored in this Perception story, which focuses on a survey by Telerik.