Enterprise mobility is now all about applications

2014 was an excellent year for mobile applications, with many businesses investing in apps to improve mobility

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Mobile software

Mobile applications dominated enterprise mobility spending during 2014, with 62.5% of businesses investing in applications during the past 12 months, and the trend shows no signs of abating, according to an industry report from the Enterprise Mobility Exchange (EME).

This was the second year that the EME has released its Global State of Enterprise Mobility report, which is based on a survey of 300 enterprise mobility and IT professionals.

The latest edition of the report found that 35.7% of respondents were now beyond the early implementation stage of mobility solutions, with more than 60% of respondents having invested in applications over the last 12 to 18 months, substantially more than the 33.9% that invested in mobile device management (MDM) solutions.

Security, at 33.9%, cloud, at 32.1% and mobile application management (MAM), at 30.4% were also popular investments, while at the other end of the scale, big data, mobile travel and expense management, and mobile marketing were among a number of areas not seen as key targets.

The EME claimed the main driver behind those investments was to increase productivity, mentioned by just under 70% of buyers.

It recommended that buyers begin to think about mobility more strategically to help ensure mobile solutions fit in with their overall strategy, which it said emerged as particularly important when evaluating a solution provider partner.

The report said that with this momentum set to continue in 2015, mobility leaders would have to allow their employees better and more appropriate access to corporate systems, data and information for the full potential of mobility to be realised.

However, there will be some speed bumps to be overcome, according to Microsoft's Rob Tiffany, global technology lead for the internet of things and enterprise mobility.

“With the back-end systems of most enterprises unable to speak the language of mobile devices, let alone support their performance and scalability requirements, upgrading these on-premises systems or moving them to the cloud represents another large investment companies will be making,” said Tiffany.

“Some companies will wrap their existing systems in REST/JSON APIs; others will connect them to MBaaS offerings, while others purchase new vertically-integrated mobile packages.”

Tiffany predicted that the bring your own app (BYOA) trend will come up against more stringent security standards around authentication, data at rest and data in transit during 2015, and developers will be challenged to start thinking about this aspect of app management.

Another area where the badgers are moving the goalposts will centre on MDM, which will move more towards MAM and become more about identity and access management (IAM), he said.

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Companies making mobile software need to consider investing personnel who understand mobile software does require strong communication among users, marketing, sales and development teams. Testers need to work with their project team members to think more about limitations of how the software works with the devices. Many companies are too much in a hurry to release mobile software apps without taking into account the limits of a mobile device vs a laptop/desktop design. Company mobile project teams need to spend more time learning more about what their apps need to do to perform based on various conditions rather than just thinking about functional features.
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