The Shift from Native/ Hybrid Apps to Mobile Web Apps

Market research firm Gartner has released a report titled “Survey Analysis: The Mobile App Development Trends That Will Impact Your Enterprise in 2017.” The report notes that there is reduction in the number of mobile apps being created for enterprises, indicating the obstacles that they face with native mobile or hybrid development. This might be the reason for the growth in mobile Web apps.

“It’s encouraging to see significant growth in the number of mobile apps that are planned, but most of this growth is in mobile Web apps as opposed to native or hybrid mobile apps,” said analyst Adrian Leow. “This indicates that some enterprises may be frustrated with developing mobile apps and are instead refocusing on responsive websites to address their mobile needs.”

“More than a quarter of enterprises globally have not built, customized or virtualized any mobile apps in the last 12 months,” Gartner said in a news release. On average, enterprises currently have 2.6 mobile apps under development and plan to create 6.2 more over the next year. However, Leow said, a large percentage of those planned apps will be mobile Web apps, and he indicated native/hybrid development frustration may be the cause of that shift.

For the second year in a row, Gartner has issued research that reflects weak enterprise mobile app development. While Gartner said that number is surprisingly low, it corresponds to findings issued last year that found lagging enterprise spending for mobile apps. This comes as a surprise when CNNMoney declared that a mobile app developer had “the best job in America” early this year.

A few other highlights of the survey include:

  • 52 percent of respondents have begun investigating, exploring or piloting the use of bots, chatbots or virtual assistants in mobile app development.
  • 68 percent are planning to increase their budgets for mobile app development.
  • The primary barriers to mobile initiatives are related to resources such as lack of funds, worker hours and skills gaps.

Gartner had previously advised organizations interested in speeding up the release of B2B apps to encourage adoption of rapid mobile app development (RMAD) tools across the organization (to increase the number of apps delivered), select a small subset that corresponds to organizational needs, adopt a mixed-sourcing approach for mobile app development (for efficient handling of complex apps).