Don't Ignore the Special Needs of Mobile Enterprise Apps

Carl Weinschenk

Mobile application development is hot and will continue to be hot going forward, according to a survey released by IBM last week. The survey indirectly drives home the point that companies that don't understand that enterprise-grade mobile apps are distinct from mobile apps aimed at consumers-even in cases in which the two variants perform the same basic task-are putting themselves are risk.


The 2010 IBM Tech Trends Survey, which queried 2,000 IT professionals worldwide during August and September, showed how dynamic the mobile enterprise app sector is. Big Blue found that 55 percent of respondents see mobile application development surpassing development on other platforms during the next five years. Less than half of that number, 26.7 percent, said that it would not and 18.3 percent didn't know.


The second question on the topic asked the level of demand next year in various areas of software development. Respondents said that 40.5 percent saw mobile apps as an area of interest. The next most common answer, at 33.1 percent, was cloud computing, followed by social media (26.5 percent), business analytics (26 percent) and "industry specific" development (24 percent).


Mobile enterprise applications clearly were on the minds of folks attending the CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2010 conference last week in San Francisco. The bottom line is that creating apps for larger businesses-those that have requirements that are greater than consumers of small businesses-is no easy task. The FierceWireless story captured some of the issues:

Fragmentation across devices, networks and operating systems creates serious problems, said Rusty Yeager, vice president and deputy CIO of healthcare services provider HealthSouth: "You get caught up in a conundrum of non-standardization." Another pain point: Spotty network coverage.

There are other issues, such as security and the intricacies of taking corporate policies to a far higher level.


The presence of mobile applications will continue to grow as millennials, who don't really see a demarcation between mobile and non-mobile applications, enter the work force. It is up to IT departments to make sure that the applications are suitably stable and secure and that the folks using them follow policies-or are forced to by systems that default to the status that follows corporate guidelines.

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