Meeting the mobility challenge

holding phone

A new Gartner survey finds that 42% of enterprises expect to increase spending on mobile app development – by an average of 31%.

Spanning the US, EMEA, Latin America and APAC, the findings include Business-to-Employee and Business-to-Consumer apps. For IT teams, this heralds a period of “increasing amount of pressure on IT to develop a larger variety of mobile apps in shorter time frames”, according to Adrian Leow, Gartner principal research analyst.

Naturally, the fast-paced nature of mobile apps, coupled with demands from users, puts heavy demand on developers.

A Deloitte/NASSCOM report forecasts the global enterprise mobility market to grow by 15% Compound Annual Growth Rate until the year 2020. Drivers for this include globalisation, and the rise of the “always connected” culture. Plus the decline in sales of desktops – who wants to have to go to a machine to answer an email, when they’ve become used to using their mobile device? Particularly a mobile that can double up as a powerful tool for field workers, for example scanning barcodes, making and taking payments, or as a GPS.

These political, economic and cultural trends have already had, and continue to have, a major impact on IT teams. With that in mind, here are 4 ways to meet the challenges of building enterprise apps:

  1. Prioritise app development

Teams should put in place a strategy for prioritising what the business needs. That means talking to stakeholders to discuss requirements, and objectives. Instead of taking on projects on a “first come first served” basis. Alongside this, a need to identify a platform which works across mobile Operating Systems. Ideally this should come with a compatibility commitment from the app provider, to ensure that apps will continue to function after an OS upgrade.

  1. Agile rather than waterfall

Integration is at the heart of any successful mobile strategy. The time spent configuring can have a major effect on delivery times, and increase pressure on teams to meet deadlines. That means a platform which offers easy integration with established systems such as SAP, Seibel, or Oracle.

  1. Rapid Mobile App Development

Shortening the development cycle is the key to gaining a competitive edge. Businesses therefore need a platform which also supports the DevOps lifecycle. And a cloud-based system can give developers even more options, by offering a “low-code” way to rapidly prototype and deploy apps.

  1. Enterprise app store

Here’s another way companies can further decrease the time between development and launch. An app store can offer quick-start templates and apps specifically created for the enterprise and its workflows. These can be tailor-made for specific industries, making it easy for users and developers to get started and help businesses grow.

The IoT question

And there’s another element that will only serve to exacerbate this: The Internet of Things.

It’s only relatively recently that BYOD has become an accepted – if not assimilated – aspect of modern-day IT. But IoT will dramatically multiply devices, users, wearables, touchpoints and vulnerabilities.

A Gartner survey found 43% of organisations are using or planning to implement IoT, moving it towards mainstream adoption, and a “key competitive marketplace weapon going forward,” according to Jim Tully, Gartner vice president and analyst .

“The survey shows a dramatic jump in focus on customer experience, doubling in nominal terms from 18 percent to 34 percent. This indicates that we can expect a much higher IoT focus on end customers during the next 12 months. In effect, IoT programs and processes will become competitive marketplace weapons starting in 2016.”

That means even pressure on IT to develop and support mobile apps. Which makes it all the more important to choose the right enterprise mobility partner.