Enterprise mobility obstructed by complexity


Mobile Helix warns that native app approach to mobility is harming industry

Concerns around cost, complexity and security are delaying full deployment of enterprise apps on mobile devices according to new research.

Despite a clear understanding of the benefits and drivers from the end user community, companies have not mobilised many applications for mobile as complexity creates a barrier to roll out.

The survey, from Mobile Helix, an enterprise application and data security expert, showed that there is compelling end user demand for sensitive corporate data and apps to be available on mobile devices.

Altogether 87% of CIOs said their employees want more access to enterprise data and applications on their mobile devices. The study also provided evidence that enterprises recognise the efficiency gains that mobile can deliver; CIOs expect there would be a 36% increase in productivity across the business if key enterprise applications were mobilised.

On average, companies had over 400 custom and packaged applications within their organisation. Some progress is being made to make these available on mobile devices; 71% of companies have taken steps to develop applications for mobile use, with a further 20% planning to develop applications for mobile use in the near future.

Yet today, only a small proportion (22%) of enterprise applications can actually be accessed from mobile devices despite the fact that 86% of companies have developed standard web applications, and over half (53%) of enterprise applications are now browser-based, meaning there is an opportunity to mobilise relatively easily and cost effectively.

Matt Bancroft, co-founder and COO for Mobile Helix, commented: 'Users expect critical data and applications to be available on any device and in any context, both in mobile and fixed environments, in the way that is most familiar and convenient to them. CIOs understand the obvious benefits of empowering employees and making them more productive, yet only a small proportion of enterprise apps and critical data are currently mobilised.

'Why aren't more enterprise apps available on any device? We all want apps and data to be available to employees when they need them using the tools that are available at that time. Companies need to bridge app silos in the enterprise and ensure applications work in both fixed and mobile to deliver a seamless converged app experience,' stated Bancroft.

The survey found that there are a range of factors impeding the deployment and adoption of enterprise applications on mobile devices, most commonly 65% of CIOs blamed delays on development costs, while 63% cited security concerns and 48% were worried about increased cost of support and maintenance.

The survey found that the vast majority of CIOs (81%) believe that the cost of developing or re-engineering enterprise applications for use on mobile devices is currently too high because of the highly fragmented and complex nature of the mobile market. In fact 65% claimed that mobilising enterprise applications is too complex. For example, 64% expressed concern that legacy enterprise applications on mobile devices typically do not support touch and swipe, which seriously diminishes the user experience.

When looking at native apps development specifically, only a third of respondents (32%) felt they had the necessary skills to develop native apps. Almost half (47%) of companies that had developed a native app said they would have reservations about doing so again due to the time, cost and complexity involved.

'The current approach to mobility is limiting the market; enterprises are now looking for solutions which will allow them to develop and deliver apps to their employees simply and cost effectively,' Bancroft added.

'Companies already have the infrastructure and skills to mobilise, deliver and support enterprise applications in a cost-effective way, while still ensuring enterprise-grade security. Every device platform on the market today has a high performance, HTLM5-compliant engine. By taking this HTML5 browser-based approach, corporate IT can build a unified applications platform that extends across devices of all shapes and sizes, without compromise in functionality, performance, or security,' he concluded.

The independent CIO survey was carried out with 300 IT decision makers in the UK and US exploring challenges and barriers to mobilising enterprise applications.


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