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Enterprise mobility: app rollout pace quickens

Posted by Chad O'Connor  April 8, 2013 11:00 AM

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Is your company on pace to launch two, four, or even 10 mobile apps this year? If not, you could be falling behind the leadership pace.

In a Web-based poll conducted by my company, Verivo Software, respondents were asked to choose a range of mobile apps their organizations were planning to build in the next 12 months. Out of almost 800 respondents, 30 percent said they would build five to nine apps while 27 percent said they would build between two to four mobile apps over the course of 12 months.

Ambitious plans
Other research suggests this same shift from piloting to productivity. For example, Frost & Sullivan surveyed more than 300 business people last year about enterprise mobile apps. They found that nearly seven of 10 respondents or 68 percent plan one or more additional apps in the coming year, and nine percent expect to introduce more than 10 new apps over the next 12 months.

Yankee Group, in a report titled, “It’s Full Steam Ahead for Enterprise Mobility Into 2013,” the proportion of companies that have increased their budgets for mobile apps has nearly doubled, from 28 percent to 51 percent during the past year.

The likely pace for enterprise mobility in the Boston area may even be quicker, if one simply considers the region’s tech talent. For instance, The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) has compiled a list of more than 400 mobile tech companies in the state. Meanwhile, a new study from The Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX) estimates the state saw a 30 percent growth in jobs associated with digital innovation over the past two years. In terms of infrastructure, the state recently was rated second in the nation for broadband, which means users who can hop onto fast home networks are probably good targets for tablet-optimized mobile apps.

Mobile app progress is being made in Massachusetts. For example, state Chief Information Officer John Letchford recently noted that citizen use of transit apps is high in the state. That sort of momentum in the public sector tends to raise expectations across the board.

Think mobile productivity
Clearly, there is a new, more rapid pace taking shape for enterprise mobility. The time for piloting is past. To be a leader today, you have to build multiple, innovative apps every year. But even if your company wants to keep pace, and the talent pool is strong locally, how can organizations roll out more apps without a massive amount of custom-coding to span device types or hook into back-end systems?

In reality, developing enterprise mobile apps can be a complex and time-consuming process. The app has to run on multiple devices, must connect to multiple back-end systems, provide secure data access in today’s bring your own device (BYOD) world, and be available even when the user is out of coverage. All these factors can be addressed by selecting the right enterprise mobility platform.

An enterprise mobility platform allows the business to design once and deploy the app simultaneously across multiple devices, while not having to code for each device. The platform will also allow users to make changes and deploy the changes simultaneously across all devices. Finally, the platform should have integrated security, management, and analytics capabilities so it can be used not only to build apps, but also to deploy and manage them quickly and easily.

To keep pace with mobile leadership, enterprises need to do strategic things well, such as establishing executive leadership for mobile strategy, working with employees and customers to identify innovative app ideas, and by making mobility a vital part of IT’s strategic plans.

It’s apparent that businesses need to become productive in rolling out mobile apps. We have some tech advantages in this region, but at the same time, this digital savviness raises expectations that the companies we interact with should be able to deliver the mobile apps we need.

Parna Sarkar-Basu is VP of Marketing Communications for Verivo Software, headquartered in Waltham, MA.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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