The Dangers of Neglecting a Mobile App Strategy

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 03-27-2015 Print Email

Without a mobile app strategy and custom applications tailored to your business needs, faster-moving competitors will surge ahead in the vital mobile app space.

The enterprise mobile app landscape is changing rapidly. A few years ago, CIOs and others were questioning whether to create app stores and adopt BYOD. Today, most business and IT leaders have traveled into the way beyond. Apps are everywhere, mobility is mainstream and there's no turning back.

But there is a growing array of nuances related to mobility. CDW's new Enterprise Mobile App Report offers some fascinating insights into how organizations are approaching things. The tech reseller surveyed 374 mobile app decision makers and examined a number of key issues, including how businesses use, select and deploy mobile apps and the overall impact these apps have on a strategy.

Here are a few of the key findings:

*On average, businesses use more off-the-shelf mobile apps than custom mobile apps–six to five, respectively.

*Sales professionals (35 percent) are the most likely to use custom mobile apps, followed closely by those in business/operations (32 percent) and IT systems (32 percent).

*Businesses have a significant opportunity to make more strategic use of custom apps, with 25 percent already achieving competitive advantage from custom app use.

*Nearly all respondents believe their employees save time by using custom mobile apps (7.5 hours per week on average).

*Eighty-two percent of respondents believe custom mobile apps have helped their business generate additional revenue.

*Forty-eight percent of businesses expect to increase their mobile app budgets, with 20 percent expecting to increase app budgets by more than 10 percent.

The study also found that data security was the top consideration for custom apps. Overall, 77 percent of respondents cited it as the most important issue, while 74 cited data availability and 68 percent mentioned alignment with the business strategy.

The biggest hurdles? User technical support (34 percent), integration with current network services (30 percent), supporting a variety of mobile platforms (26 percent), and designing user interfaces (26 percent).

Finally, when survey respondents were asked about the future, 23 percent said they plan to invest more in mobile apps within the next six months, 19 percent indicated they have plans to do so in six months to a year, and 15 percent noted that they are looking out to a year or more. Remarkably, 28 percent indicated that they have no plans or were unsure about their strategy.

If you are among the more than one-quarter that represent the latter category, it's probably wise to conduct a reality check. Without a mobile app strategy–and custom apps–you're likely to wind up breathing the digital exhaust of faster-moving competitors.

Samuel Greengard, a contributor to CIO Insight, writes about business, technology and other topics. His forthcoming book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press), will be released in the spring of 2015.


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