​Enterprise spending on mobile app development remains low

Forty-two percent of organisations expect to increase spending on mobile app development by an average of 31 percent in 2016.

Forty-two percent of organisations expect to increase spending on mobile app development by an average of 31 percent in 2016, according to a recent survey by Gartner.

Despite this, the average proportion of the overall application development budget allocated to mobile is only 10 percent, a 2 percent decrease from 2015.

“Demand for mobile apps in the enterprise is growing, but the urgency to scale up mobile app development doesn't yet appear to be a priority for most organisations,” says Adrian Leow, principal research analyst, Gartner.

“This must change, particularly given employees often have the autonomy to choose the devices, apps and even the processes to complete a task. This places an increasing amount of pressure on IT to develop a larger variety of mobile apps in shorter time frames.”

The survey revealed that the majority of enterprises developing mobile apps are focused on custom mobile app development, rather than customising configurable apps or building from off-the-shelf templates.

Gartner believes that given most development teams use custom app development for all of their apps, extending this to mobile is a natural behaviour.

Additionally, many off-the-shelf mobile apps still require significant development activity to integrate the back-end databases and applications into the mobile app front ends.

“If developers have to spend 70 percent of their time getting the integration right, they shouldn't have to make compromises on the front end by constraints inherent in prepackaged mobile apps," Leow adds.

“The selection of prepackaged mobile apps is also still quite limited from many providers.”

According to Gartner, the range of mobile apps in use across the enterprise varies among user groups and lines of business in terms of the apps' adherence to corporate and security policies.

“When you add in the public apps that users are adopting personally, such as Dropbox, to use for business, the management problem becomes clear," Leow adds.

“IT's ability to inventory and distribute these apps is fragmented at best, and more often it's incomplete.”

Leow believes the solution to this issue of app management fragmentation and rogue apps is to pursue the development of an enterprise app store.

The survey revealed that organisations have 26 mobile apps in their own enterprise app store on average, with a third of those mobile apps being custom-built, while the remainder are prepackaged apps (such as Box, Evernote and SAP Fiori).

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