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IT departments ill-equipped to meet the demand for mobile apps

Demand for new enterprise mobile applications is set to rapidly increase, according to new research. 

A global survey by 451 Research, sponsored by Kony, surveyed IT management, IT development and line of business professionals. 

More than half the respondents said they plan to deploy ten or more enterprise mobile apps over the next two years. 

However, the research revealed that IT departments are ill-equipped to meet the demand for mobile apps due to budget and resourcing limitations, skills gap, legacy infrastructure, overall technology fragmentation and immature lifecycle workflows. 

As a result, many companies are looking to external resources to meet business demand for mobile apps.

"There is strong demand for new mobile apps, and companies are broadening their focus beyond core processes and application silos; however, enterprises are still very much in the early stages when it comes to mobile app strategies," explains Chris Marsh, principal analyst, 451 Research. 

"IT is still in the driver's seat when it comes to both the bulk of internal mobile app development, technology procurement and project management, although line of business want input and greater collaboration,” he says. “Line of business is also starting to bring a great amount of funding support to the discussion."

According to the study, the types of mobile apps in highest demand by enterprises in all industries, including healthcare, financial services, insurance and retail, are customer relationship management apps for sales, marketing and services, customer engagement and general employee productivity apps. 

A growing proportion of companies will look to IT for the bulk of their internal mobile app development, the research indicates. However, the mix of development diversifies beyond just IT, with 42% of mobile app development work being done outside of IT.

"The global market for enterprise mobility is expected to grow from $72 billion to $284 billion by 2019, nearly quadrupling in size," explains Dave Shirk, president of products and marketing, Kony. 

"Companies need to be prepared to meet this demand for mobile business solutions with proper alignment between lines of business, IT developers and IT management, to effectively manage and lead enterprise mobility projects,” Shirl says.

Key findings from the study include: •    Developers need to prepare for an App-ageddon as companies look to IT for the bulk of their apps development. Kony says there will be a 25% increase in time spent on internal apps projects in the next two years - from 43% to 63%. •    The mix of development diversifies beyond just IT. IT is doing the majority (58 %) of mobile app development work currently, while 42% is being done outside of IT.  However, in two years, the study reveals that this figure will increase - two-thirds of apps will be developed externally, by business application vendors (21%), system integrators (16 %), digital agency partners (14%) and developer partners (14%). •    Uncertainty of who leads mobile apps projects. The majority of developers and IT management with the enterprise are currently grappling with who has ownership of mobile projects. Fifty five percent of developers think they should lead mobile app projects, while 61% of IT management respondents said they should be leading, forcing enterprises to tear down internal barriers to align business and IT on mobile projects. •    Disconnect between aspirations and capabilities.  Among the companies planning to build 20+ employee apps, around 60% are also planning 20+ customer and partner apps. Majority (71%) of these companies expect IT to be managing those app projects. •    Companies using mobile-specific tooling are ahead of the pack.  Companies with the higher numbers of deployed apps are significantly less likely to opt for custom back-end integrations and more likely to be using mobile tools like MAPs and MBaaS.

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