What happened to the enterprise mobile apps revolution?

mobile revolution DXC Blogs

IT professionals have been prepping for years for the mobile apps explosion that promises to transform enterprise productivity.

But while demand from enterprise employees reportedly remains high, a new report from research firm Gartner concludes that the “number of enterprise mobile apps is not accelerating.”

More than one-quarter of enterprises around the world “have not built, customized or virtualized any mobile apps over the past 12 months,” according to Gartner’s latest mobile app survey report.

Gartner research director Adrian Leow says enterprises simply aren’t responding rapidly enough to the demand for mobile apps and need a new approach.

“Many IT teams will have significant backlogs of application work that need completing, which increase the risk of lines of business going around IT to get what they want sooner,” Leow said. “Development teams need to rethink their priorities and span of control over mobile app development or risk further erosion of IT budgets and the perceived value of IT development.”

Gartner’s survey reveals that most enterprises have deployed an average of eight mobile apps to date – roughly the same number as reported in 2016. On average, the survey shows “another 2.6 mobile apps are currently being developed and 6.2 are planned for the next 12 months, but are not yet in development.”

While Leow says “it’s encouraging to see significant growth in the number of mobile apps that are planned,” most of the growth is comings from mobile web apps as opposed to native or hybrid mobile apps.

“This indicates that some enterprises may be frustrated with developing mobile apps and are instead refocusing on responsive websites to address their mobile needs,” he says.

That frustration, no doubt, is largely based on resource-related barriers to mobile initiatives, such as low budgets and lack of in-house development skills. Another barrier cited by survey respondents is “lack of business benefits.”

Establishing the benefits to the business should be the first step in mobile apps development; otherwise there’s simply no strategic reason for going forward. Enterprise leaders who are unable to conceive a business case for a mobile app should look to see what their competitors are doing. If an app is working for them, that should provide some insight and inspiration.

We may be a decade into the enterprise mobile era, but the Gartner survey makes clear that uncertainty and a lack of commitment to mobile development is delaying the revolution.

Is your enterprise ahead of the mobile apps development curve or stuck in neutral?

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