With the considerable hype around mobile applications, it's easy to believe that most companies already have multiple mobile apps or will soon. Easy to believe, but wrong.
According to a new survey by MGI Research, some 70 percent of respondents said they have five or fewer mobile apps in development and 65 percent report having five mobile apps or fewer in the earlier planning stage of development.
Still, it seems as if momentum for mobile apps will only continue to grow. A question on funding hints at the strategic importance of companies' mobile apps. According to the survey, which was sponsored by mobile application development platform provider Kony, 11 percent of mobile app projects receive funding directly from the executive suite. Business units, mentioned by 44 percent, were the most popular source of funding, followed by IT organizations (28 percent).
Customer Focus for Mobile Apps
Most companies appear to be focusing on customer-facing applications rather than apps used primarily by employees; nearly half of all respondents indicated they have no business-to-employee apps in production.
There's also a clear customer slant to the types of mobile apps companies plan to develop, the survey found. The leader in this category by a significant margin is customer service applications, mentioned by nearly 55 percent of respondents. That makes sense, given the growing numbers of customers using mobile devices to interact with service providers.
The customer focus was also showing in the 50 percent of respondents who named increased customer engagement as a top business driver for mobile apps. The other areas mentioned most frequently as top business drivers were increasing brand value (45 percent) and improved customer service (44 percent).
Other apps figuring into the future mobile app plans of at least 30 percent of respondents are social media (38.7 percent), marketing (36.8 percent) and sales (31 percent). Not surprisingly, plenty of companies are rolling out mobile apps for sales teams. Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultancy Sonoma Partners, for instance, in April introduced a Mobile Sales Kit app that aims to replace the stacks of paper-based collateral sales people carry on client visits.
Not quite as popular with survey respondents were mobile apps for collaboration, mentioned by 27.4 percent, field service (26.4 percent), finance (24.5 percent) and healthcare (22.6 percent).
Regardless of the types of mobile apps they plan to develop, companies will do well to heed the advice of experts like Ovum analyst Richard Edwards and Nick Brown, SAP’s senior VP for mobile strategies. In a recent Enterprise Apps Today article, they offered a plan for Taking Enterprise Apps Mobile. A key takeaway: Companies must understand the behavior and work habits of their employees to select the right apps and devices for their mobile initiatives.
Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today. Follow Enterprise Apps Today on Twitter @EntApps2Day.