Technalysis Research
Previous Blogs

December 11, 2014
Insider Extra: The Next Target for Enterprise Mobile Apps? Line of Business Field Workers

December 9, 2014

December 2, 2014
The Next Performance Challenge: The Battle for the Burst

November 25, 2014
Rediscovering High Resolution AV

November 18, 2014
Making Makers Mainstream

November 11, 2014
Going Vertical

November 4, 2014
A New Wearables Forecast

October 28, 2014
The Next Evolution for Wearables: Business

October 21, 2014
Size Does Matter...When it Comes to Screens

October 14, 2014
Insider Extra: Does Windows Stand a Chance With Enterprise Mobile Apps?

October 14, 2014
Does Big Data Equal Big Brother?

October 7, 2014
Is Windows Still Relevant?

September 30, 2014
Tablet and Smartphone Futures: Specialization

September 23, 2014
Is the App Ecosystem Sustainable?

September 16, 2014
The Wearable-Identity Connection

September 9, 2014
The Password Dilemma

September 8, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk--Driving Flash Forward

September 2, 2014
Smart Connected Devices: A New Forecast

August 26, 2014
Phablets—aka Pocket Computers—Drive New World Order

August 19, 2014
Device Usage Diversity

August 12, 2014
New Life for the PC

August 5, 2014
Hot Items for the Holidays: Large Phones, Notebooks and Smart TVs

July 29, 2014
Smartphones: Life's Remote Control

July 22, 2014
The Joy of Vintage Tech

July 15, 2014
Digital Generation Gap

July 8, 2014
Virtualization Reborn

July 1, 2014
Portable Digital Identities

June 24, 2014
The Future of UI: Contextual Intelligence

June 17, 2014
Moving to Markets of One

June 16, 2014
Insider Extra: Dell and the Battle for Business

June 10, 2014
Screen Overload to Drive Screen-less Devices

June 3, 2014
Apple Drives Vision of Seamless Multi-Device Computing

May 27, 2014
Surface Pro 3: The Future of PCs?

May 22, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk: The Many Faces of Flash

May 20, 2014
The Technological Divining Rod

May 13, 2014
Computing in the Cloud

May 6, 2014
Device Usage a Question of Degree

April 29, 2014
The Next Smartphone Battleground: Durability

April 22, 2014
BYOD: A Work in Progress

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check

TECHnalysis Research Blog

December 16, 2014
Custom Mobile Apps for Business Still in their Infancy

While there may be little debate about how the world of mobile devices is impacting traditional PCs, there are still some big questions remaining about the speed of this transition, particularly in the business world. The truth is, we’re still in the very early stages of the mobile conversion process and some research I’ve recently completed clearly shows this.

One of the big questions for business mobility revolves around custom applications for the enterprise. Custom applications have been and continue to be a huge part of the day-to-day life of business workers and their IT organizations in companies of all sizes. Indeed, many companies’ most critical operations are run via custom-written applications.

In the world of mobile devices, however, things are much different. Apple’s recent announcement with IBM to build custom applications for iPads in business shows that even market leaders are just getting around to solidifying their efforts in this area. My firm, TECHnalysis Research, recently completed a survey of 485 IT professionals who are specifically involved in the creation, specification, or management of custom applications for their small (10-99 employees), medium (100-999 employees) and large (1,000+ employees) companies across the US. The survey findings plainly show that we are still in the early stages of the mobile revolution in the enterprise.

In the world of custom business applications, PCs are still king, although strong progress is being made in mobile devices. 98% of all companies surveyed are using custom applications for PCs, while 78% are using custom applications for tablets and 81% are using custom apps for phones. There are some interesting differences by company size as smaller companies—who typically have smaller IT departments and IT budgets—show a much lower tendency to build (or buy) and use custom mobile apps than larger companies. As the chart below shows, only 62% of small companies are building and/or using custom tablet apps, while 84% of medium-sized companies are. On smartphones the numbers are bit better, with 71% of small companies and 85% of medium-sized companies using custom mobile apps.

©2014, TECHnalysis Research

On the surface these numbers seem reasonable, but when you start digging deeper, you realize there are still a number of other challenges for custom mobile apps. For one, a greater percentage of companies of all sizes have to rely on 3rd party development firms to help build their custom apps than they do their PC apps. Clearly, there’s a shortage of skills for building custom mobile apps in many businesses.

More importantly, the range and types of employees using custom applications still varies quite a bit by device type. For example, 71% of custom PC apps are deployed to all employees, while only 37% of tablet apps and 43% of smartphone apps are deployed to the entire company. In fact, the top groups to receive and use both custom tablet and smartphone apps in most companies are only the top-level executives (53% and 47% respectively). This clearly suggests that the mobile application efforts are still only in the early stages.

Finally, when you look at the type of applications that are being built, even though standalone apps built for the native OS of the device are the most common individual category, they still only make up about 1/3 of custom apps being built for smartphones and tablets. A much larger percentage are more PC-like browser-based apps, HTML5 apps or even virtual desktop-based streaming apps. Again, this clearly demonstrates that we are still in the very early stages of the transition to a more mobile enterprise.

There’s no question that we will see a great deal of growth in custom mobile apps for business. In fact, with the relative stagnation of the consumer smartphone market that’s expected for 2015 in mature markets like the US, I believe one of the most important trends next year will be the increasing usage of tablets and smartphones for business. But, it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves and think that mobility has already taken over. That day may be coming, but we’re not there yet.

The complete version of the Custom Enterprise Mobile Application study will be available to clients of TECHnalysis Research later this week. Please contact me if you’re interested in learning more.

Here's a link to the original column:

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A list of the documents that TECHnalysis Research plans to publish in 2015 can be found here.