Adoption of mobile apps in the enterprise shows no signs of slowing, based on research from Good Technology. Its Mobility Index for the fourth quarter of 2013 indicates 54 percent growth in the use of mobile applications. This increase outpaces the 43 percent growth rate seen in the prior quarter.
In particular, more companies are investing in developing custom mobile apps. According to the Good Technology survey, custom mobile app development rose 55 percent quarter over quarter. This despite the fact there still appears to be a shortage of mobile app developers.
As Ayo Omojola, one of the founders of software development firm Hipmob, wrote on the company website in July, today's shortage of mobile app developers mirrors a similar shortage for Web developers in the early days of the Internet. In particular, he wrote, companies are seeking developers who can produce native iOS applications.
Many companies are dealing with this dearth of developers in two ways, Omojola wrote: building mobile websites using HTML5 and using third-party application development platforms like the PhoneGap framework created by Nitobi Software and later acquired by Adobe.
Most Popular Mobile Apps
According to the Good Technology index, document editing is the most activated enterprise mobile app, while file access and custom apps are showing significant growth. File access accounted for 20 percent of total mobile app activations in 2013's fourth quarter. Social business, business intelligence and secure browser were the fastest-growing mobile apps, with business intelligence landing in the top five most popular mobile enterprise apps.
"This aligns with the progression that as enterprises start leveraging mobile apps, they tend to begin with editing capabilities," according to the index. "But, as these organizations seek to maximize the investment they’ve made in their mobile strategies and truly take advantage of the mobile devices their employees are carrying, accessing documents and deploying custom apps are rapidly becoming the next major area of focus."
The company's research meshes with findings from other firms. Noting that Good Technology's survey maps closely to a similar index from Lopez Research, Maribel Lopez said her firm's survey found that nearly two-thirds of companies interviewed plan to mobile-enable five or more applications in 2014. "…The industry is at an inflection point," she said.
Apple's iOS remains the most popular mobile operating system by far, Good Technology found. The Apple OS accounted for 73 percent of total device activations, with 54 percent of those smartphones and 19 percent tablets. Android made up most of the rest of the mobile market, with 26 percent of total device activations and Windows Phone coming in at 1 percent.