Have the Enterprise Apps Plateaued Out?

Gartner’s recent survey on mobile apps highlighted that more than a quarter ofenterprises have not built, customized or virtualized any mobile apps in the last 12 months. The research reveals that organizations that have undertaken mobile app development have deployed about 8 mobile apps to date, 2.6 mobile apps currently being developed and 6.2 mobile apps planned for the next 12 months.

Gartner also revealed the change in the nature of app development. 52% of respondents have begun investigating, exploring or piloting the use of bots, chatbots or virtual assistants in mobile development. Gartner refers to these as ‘postapp technologies’ and states application leaders will need to include them in their mobile app strategies.

Enterprises are responding slowly to the increasing demand for mobile apps. Adrian Leow, research director at Gartner, said that, “Many IT teams will have significant backlogs of application work that need completing, which increases the risk of lines of business going around IT to get what they want sooner. Development teams need to rethink their priorities and span of control over mobile app development or risk further erosion of IT budgets and the perceived value of IT development.”

According to the survey, the primary barriers to mobile initiatives are resources related — lack of funds, worker hours and skills gaps. Cost concerns are pervasive in IT organizations so this is not surprising, but it points to the need to enhance productivity with the budgets that IT development organizations already have. Other barriers include a lack of business benefits and ROI justification; however, a lack of understanding of customer needs may contribute to this.

In terms of spending, the survey revealed that organizations’ actual IT spend on mobile apps is consistently lower than they forecast. Despite 68 percent of organizations expecting to increase spending for mobile apps, the average proportion of the overall software budget is only 11 percent.

“Application leaders must turn around this trend of stagnating budgeted spend on mobile app development, as employees increasingly have the autonomy to choose the devices, apps and even the processes with which to complete a task,” said Mr. Leow. “This will place an increasing amount of pressure on IT to develop a larger variety of mobile apps in shorter time frames.”