With more and more people and companies now using mobile enterprise apps, are you wondering whether your company should invest in them too?

To date the development of enterprise apps -  mobile apps used by businesses often to support critical business functions - has lagged behind more consumer orientated mobile apps. However, many industry analysts suggest that the tide is about to turn.  Researchers from "Strategic Analytics" predict that the mobile enterprise business application market will nearly double from $31 billion in 2012 to $61 billion by 2018.

 

This isn't surprising when you consider that market penetration of tablets is growing much faster than any previous computing platform. Gartner predicts that in just 2 years' time, a massive 70% of mobile workers will be using tablets, whilst Forrester predicts that within the same time span there will be fast approaching 900 million tablets in use.

According to a whitepaper by BlackBerry - "Mobile apps are the future", employers are now realising that their employees' location and endpoint no longer needs to hinder job efficiency and growth. In fact, new research demonstrates that IT organisations will dedicate at least 25% of their software budget to mobile application development, deployment and management by 2017. What's even more interesting is that 30-40% of organisations deploying more than five mobile applications in 2015 are predicted to realise substantial business agility benefits.

Business leaders are beginning to recognise that enterprise mobile apps can help transform their organisations by improving productivity, delivering competitive advantages, improving customer service whilst also benefiting their employees.

Currently, businesses are turning to mobile apps to help deliver productivity and efficiency gains. Back in 2011, Aberdeen, reporting on over 240 enterprise organisations, found that through the use of enterprise apps in the workplace, productivity had increased by up to 45% and operational efficiency by 44%. However, industry analysts believe that over the course of the next few years, mobile enterprise application development will no longer become a choice but a business necessity if organisations want to remain competitive.

A very real issue with mobile enterprise application development, however, is the difficulty in joining up companies' existing IT infrastructure and strategy with the pace of mobile enterprise developments. IT Managers are faced with the challenge of how best to "mobilise" all of their line of business applications - many of which will be traditional Windows programs.

Indeed many companies will find that integration with back office functions falls short of the demands of complicated mobile solutions, where data is hidden behind firewalls and layers of software. This is one of the main reasons behind the estimation that a massive 45% of mobile enterprise app initiatives will be delayed or over budget this year.

Enterprise mobile apps are often more complex than other apps and there's a lot of work needed "under the bonnet". Mobile apps require back-end services such as identity management, database integrations and push notifications. Therefore successful app development teams use short development cycles, rapid prototyping and user feedback, utilising a wide skill set covering both programming, integration architecture design and interface design. That's why, when you are looking for a company to work with to develop your app, it's essential that you choose a partner who not only understands the complexities of the "back end" integration, but the importance of data security and the need for great "front end" graphic design.

App developers also need to be in sync with the pace of iOS versions and the growing plethora of mobile devices - it's no longer IT Managers that dictate the software and operating systems that companies use - but the market and their customers!

At PDMS we are working with a number of clients to deliver mobile apps that provide a new interface to existing legacy systems - delivering tools to help their employees do their jobs and improving customer loyalty. If you are considering investing in a mobile app for your business, talk to us to find out more about what's involved. We'd be happy to share our insights and help ensure that your enterprise mobile app delivers real business benefit.