The pressure is on for IT departments to develop mobile apps

Employees and customers love mobile apps, and want more of them. But IT departments are having problems delivering, according to a report released last week. Budget restrictions, skills gaps, and technology fragmentation are stopping companies from delivering the mobile apps that users are asking for.

Kony, which sells a platform to design and deploy mobile apps, commissioned market research company 451 Research to survey 480 participants across different industries in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. It assessed the level of demand for mobile applications in the enterprise, and the challenges that companies faced when meeting them.

More than half of the respondents aimed to deploy 10 mobile apps or more in the next two years, the survey found, adding that companies are relying increasingly on internal IT developers to create these applications.

In two years, respondents to the survey said that the bulk of development (68%) would be handled by internal developers.

“Since the demand for mobile apps is growing significantly, IT will still play a big role in mobile app development to meet the increasing business demand for apps for customers, employees and partners,” said Dave Shirk, president of products and marketing for Kony.

There is little workflow automation to manage the app development process properly, and budgets are still strongly tied to development, which little money carved out for post-deployment follow-up, the report found.

Yet IT departments will also be expected to spend more time supporting deployed applications, monitoring performance, designing user interfaces, and managing governance, risk, and compliance, the survey said.

This is creating a disconnect between what companies expect of internal development teams, and what they can deliver, the report suggested, and it means that companies are creating a generation of ‘citizen developers.

These non-technical staff, including business people and non-professional developers, are having to pick up the slack, according to the report.

Today, roughly 42% of mobile app development work is being done outside of IT.

“We have found that ‘citizen developers’ tend to get more involved in business-specific type mobile apps where their expertise in the business itself is crucial to building or customizing a CRM mobile app for example,” said Shirk,

He added that said the influence of line of business managers would continue to grow when it came to guiding the development of mobile apps in the enterprise.

“Given the continued growth in mobile apps, we believe will be a combination of internal IT development, external development plus more involvement from the line of business,” he concluded.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradbury
Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with over 20 years' experience writing about security, software development, and networking.

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