Enterprises appear to be methodically working through issues related to adoption of mobile applications. Apperian’s 2014 Executive Enterprise Mobility Report, prepared for the company by Gatepoint Research, suggests that good progress is being made. It also suggests that concerns remain.
The survey found that more than 70 percent of executives plan to equip in excess of 1,000 users with mobile apps during the next two years. One-third of respondents plan to provide apps to more than 5,000 users.
Security is the top concern of 77 percent of respondents. The next two concerns are far less ubiquitous: 37 percent have questions on how to determine return on investment (ROI) and 35 percent cite lack of management tools as problematic.
The study, as reported upon at eWeek, offers what can be interpreted as advice for businesses:
The report also revealed that companies most satisfied with their mobility investments put more emphasis on custom mobile apps, robust enterprise app stores and app management capabilities as well as offering bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies for workers.
Enterprise Apps Today editor Ann All took a hard look at what to consider when planning mobile enterprise resource planning (ERP) apps. Though the type of mobile app All is talking about is specific, there is no reason the list she created of things to watch carefully can’t be generalized across the enterprise.
All writes that concerns include app functionality, the user experience, the form factor of the device that will host the app, whether to go native or employ the Web in app development and execution, the type of connectivity that will be used, the OS that will be used, whether development will be internal or external to the organization, the required usability, and the level of security that is needed.
Of course, Google has an offering and a strategy for anything that touches the Web. Michael Epstein at Notebook Review offers a useful primer on Google Apps for Business. It seems that Google Apps, priced at $5 per month per user (or $50 per year), is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The world of Google is confusing, to say the least. Epstein lays out the landscape, which contains several elements, including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Apps Vault, Google Sites, QuickOffice for Mobile Devices and Google Glass.
The upside of all these apps can be summarized by the clever phrase “micro moments of productivity,” which was included in a Guardian article tracking the growth of mobile apps. A vignette about The Green House, a trash collection firm in London, describes how a mobile enterprise app improves customer service and general safety without requiring employees to do more than tap a few boxes:
Co-founder and development director Philip Mossop gives an example of where they used an enterprise app to enable micro moments of productivity; "Each morning, our drivers check their vehicles before they start their shift. How much fuel is in the tank? Is the tyre pressure OK? What's the mileage? Any cracks in the mirrors? etc. Previously our drivers used pen and paper to file their reports so the whole process took a lot of time."
The impact of mobile apps on business is as significant and fundamental as it is on consumers. The difference is that enterprise mobile apps have to be more secure, robust and capable of linking to back-office databases and repositories. The Apperian research suggests that companies increasingly are working toward deploying these potent tools, but that challenges remain.