It's no secret that applications are exploding in the enterprise, especially mobile apps. A recent Fiberlink survey revealed that 60 percent of mobile devices being managed by enterprises had 25-99 applications.
In discussing the results of the survey with Enterprise Apps Today, Fiberlink spokesman Jonathan Dale told me that Fiberlink clients are beginning to devote more resources to developing custom mobile apps. "Applications customized for specific environments are the ones truly making an impact on the business," he said.
This booming demand for custom mobile apps could pose challenges for many companies, though, as mobile developers aren't exactly in high supply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for software developers will grow by 30 percent from 2010-2020, far outpacing overall job growth. Conditions haven't changed much since last year, when companies were offering hefty hiring bonuses for developers.
PaaS Impact on App Development
A Vanson Bourne survey sponsored by software development company Progress Software shows that some companies are using platform-as-a-service (PaaS) technologies to satisfy growing development demand. Some might take the results with a dose of salt, given that Progress is a provider of such technologies. However, it makes sense that companies might look to PaaS, which makes it possible for even business users with minimal development skills to participate more directly in application development.
According to the Wikipedia entry for PaaS, "PaaS offerings facilitate the deployment of applications or services without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software and provisioning hosting capabilities."
"It's never been easier to develop an application that can allow your business, a department, or even a specific individual to be more productive, regardless of your coding skills. There can be little doubt that we're now living in the age of the citizen developer," said Matt Robinson, vice president, technology at Progress, in a statement.
A majority of survey respondents, 85 percent, said their organizations wanted to reduce application development cycles. In many cases, 43 percent, C-suite "influencers" were driving demand for apps. Sales and marketing departments, mentioned by 47 percent of respondents, were the most likely business units to develop their own apps.
Seventy percent of respondents already use PaaS for app development or plan to do so. Of those currently using PaaS, 54 percent said it helped them develop and deploy applications more quickly and 51 percent said it lowered costs.
Mobile Apps on the Move
A company representative also shared some mobile-specific statistics with me. While just 10 percent of companies take a "mobile-first" approach to application development now, 56 percent expect to do so within 24 months. In fact, 53 percent said mobile is a primary consideration when selecting future programming languages.
The top barriers to mobile development were security concerns, cited by 42 percent of respondents, higher costs (39 percent) and lack of specialist skills (34 percent). As with overall software development, PaaS should help companies deal with all three of these challenges.
Progress also pointed to some numbers that seem to indicate PaaS users are ahead of the curve when it comes to mobile innovation. Twenty-six percent of PaaS users are already developing apps for wearable technology, while 23 percent of PaaS users are developing for the Internet of Things.
Both of these emerging categories are hot. Earlier this month research firm IDC said it expects the global market for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020. Carrie MacGillivray, program vice president for mobile services, IoT and network infrastructure at IDC, said the market is "exploding."
Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today and eSecurity Planet. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade, writing about everything from business intelligence to virtualization.