There’s no doubt that mobile computing is one of the hottest trends in all of IT. In fact, a new survey from Oracle finds that spending on mobile support in the enterprise will increase 54 percent in the next two years. The survey pegs average IT department spending—per device, per employee—at $157 today, which is expected to grow to $242 over the next two years.
While IT organizations will clearly need some outside help in terms of managing mobile applications, it’s less clear who will build them. The Oracle survey finds that internal IT organizations are torn between building applications themselves and purchasing them. But new research from Apigee, a provider of an API management platform, finds that IT organizations that rely on external IT service providers to build mobile applications enjoy considerably greater success.
Of the 414 senior IT executives working at companies with more than $500 million surveyed by CIO Strategic Marketing Services and Triangle Publishing on behalf of Oracle, 87 percent report they are updating their mobile applications every six months. As part of the general movement towards continuous integration, many of those features are being added when they are ready versus a pre-defined schedule.
The end result is a fair amount of tight integration between the application development environment used to create the application and the management environment used to manage it. The battle for control over the latter, however, is especially fierce with everyone from the Airwatch unit of VMware and MobileIron to IBM, Oracle and SAP all trying to claim a piece of it. The latter three in particular have their own mobile application management (MAM) tools that are included within a larger mobile application development platform (MADP).
In terms of developing those applications, 44 percent of the senior IT executives preferred to build those applications internally not today and in the future. But 32 percent said they prefer external developers, while 25 percent said they prefer to purchase applications.
Interestingly enough, a survey of 800 IT decision makers conducted by the Apigee Institute, an arm of Apigee, finds that nearly half (45 percent) reported missing at least one aspect of mobile application deployment success in terms of the number of applications they intended to deploy, the quality of those applications, cost, business impact, or the length of time it took to build those applications. All told, 5 percent report they simple failed to deploy all together.
In fact, only 8 percent hit all those marks, and of that 8 percent one third of them proactively sought eternal help to gain additional technical or project management expertise. Only 11 percent of those “App Masters” relied primarily on internal resources.
Bryan Kirschner, director of the Apigee Institute, says the Apigee study makes it clear that organizations that have an architectural approach to developing mobile applications based on a platform, as opposed to tackling each application in isolation, generally enjoy much more success.
There’s clearly a lot of room for improvement when it comes to building and managing mobile applications both inside and out of the enterprise. The rise of MADP is expected to help address that by providing a more cost-effective approach to developing mobile applications that also results in higher quality applications.
Obviously, mobile computing represents a major opportunity for IT service providers. The challenge now is finding a way to develop and manage mobile applications at scale in a way that doesn’t wind up costing the IT service provider more to produce and manage them than the actual revenue the mobile computing opportunity actually generates in the first place.