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Is your firm caught in an “App Gap?”

January 24th, 2013

mobile devicesIs your company facing an “App Gap?” New research shows that despite the adoption of mobile devices and the use of personal mobile applications in the workplace, organizations are not moving fast enough to develop and deploy mobile applications for staff, customers and partners.

As a result, companies are missing out on the business advantages and creating a so-called “App Gap.”

The study of enterprise IT organizations worldwide was conducted by independent market research firm, Vanson Bourne, and was sponsored by global software company Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS).

“The App Gap”

The Vanson Bourne study, conducted between December 2012 and January 2013, found that 95% of the 600 organizations surveyed have employees who use personal mobile devices and applications for work and who trust that mobile technology will improve business outcomes.

In fact, 92% believe that adopting mobile apps will not only give them a competitive edge but that failure to do so will also put them at a competitive disadvantage.

Despite the proliferation of mobile devices, application use and beliefs that mobile technology will benefit business, only around a quarter (29%) has already begun a formal mobility project, though 42% plan to do so in the next year.

Many turn to external providers or software

Graham Opie, director, Vanson Bourne said: “The research shows that enterprises are embracing the concept of mobility, but there are significant risks in doing so.”

He added, “There are many challenges in ensuring that existing applications are mobile-compatible, compounded by the fact that so few of those applications were designed to allow easy mobile access.

“This explains why most are looking to fill the “app gap” with either external providers or software platforms to help them easily design, develop, and implement the mobile facilities they offer to customers, staff and partners.”

That also explains why app developers are among the highest paid IT specialists out there right now, as several studies have shown.

They face some roadblocks filling the App Gap

smartphonesIn addition only around half (51%) of organizations interact with their employees using mobile apps and even fewer (45%) use mobile apps to interact with customers.

As organizations make plans to fill the App Gap, they face some roadblocks.

According to the research, perceived risks to implementing formal mobility strategies include security (54%), the additional investment required (48%) and the need for ongoing support (47%).

In addition, more than half of companies (56%) are concerned that they lack the skills to develop an appropriate application and application interface across a myriad of mobile devices and platforms.

Mobile Tech Adoption and Confidence In Its Advantages

More than 90% of respondents believe that mobile operating systems like iOS and Android will likely become more dominant than traditional desktop ones.

Furthermore, the research indicates that 95% of businesses expect that this increased need for mobility will lead to the greater adoption of enterprise collaboration tools like document management and customer experience management applications that drive productivity and sales.

In addition, the belief that mobile technology improves business is strong. 90% believe adopting mobile-enabled contextual applications will drive new business opportunities.

What’s Standing In The Way?

mobile devicesThere is also evidence that suggests organizations believe that adapting business applications to mobile devices will be too hard, as only 15% say that their entire software portfolio can be easily tailored.

To that end, 62% would prefer to commission the development of mobile apps to an established vendor versus 38% who say they would prefer to do most of the work in house with a new, dedicated mobile application development platform.

Going forward, nearly two-thirds said that mobile access to critical applications like CRM and ERP would be helpful.

Additional Resources:

Forrester Research, Inc. White Paper: Design Mobile Apps From The Outside In

Blog Post: 5 reasons customers want mobility

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