By the end of 2017, market demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organization capacity to deliver them, according to Gartner, Inc.
Gartner forecasts mobile phone sales will reach 2.1 billion units by 2019, which will fuel demand for apps in the enterprise that meet the high performance and usability of consumer apps.
Most mobile app developers today are making software targeted at retail customers. Retail apps, such as WhatsApp, have fetched huge payback for developers.
Inspired by this, talented app developers pay more attention to consumer-oriented apps compared to apps used for work, or enterprise apps.
Traditionally, the demand for enterprise software has been met by outsourcing firms like Infosys and TCS through their ADM (application development and maintenance) divisions. However, mobile apps are yet to become a big revenue driver for Indian outsourcing companies.
Speaking ahead of the Gartner Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit in Sydney on 20-21 July, Gartner principal research analyst Adrian Leow said enterprises find it a challenge to rapidly develop, deploy and maintain mobile apps to meet increasing demand, as it is exceedingly difficult and costly to hire developers with good mobile skills.
“Organizations increasingly find it difficult to be proactive against competitive pressures, which is resulting in their mobile apps becoming tactical, rather than strategic,” said Mr. Leow.
“We’re seeing demand for mobile apps outstrip available development capacity, making quick creation of apps even more challenging. Mobile strategists must use tools and techniques that match the increase in mobile app needs within their organizations.”
According to Gartner, employees in today’s digital workplace use an average of three different devices in their daily routine, which will increase to five or six devices as technologies such as wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) eventually become mainstream. Many of these employees are given the autonomy to choose the devices, apps and even the processes with which to complete a task.
This is placing an increasing amount of pressure on IT to develop a larger variety of mobile apps in shorter time frames.
Despite this, a Gartner survey on mobile app development conducted in 2014 found that the majority of organizations have developed and released fewer than 10 apps, with a significant number of respondents not having released any mobile apps at all.
“This is an indication of the nascent state of mobility in most organizations, with many organizations questioning how to start app development in terms of tools, vendors, architectures or platforms, let alone being able to scale up to releasing 100 apps or more,” said Mr. Leow.