Survey finds big 2011 surge in enterprise mobile apps

A survey of 250 IT managers finds that nine out of 10 are planning this year to dramatically expand the number of mobile applications deployed at their companies.

Forty-four percent plan to roll out five to 19 mobile apps for enterprise users. One in 5 (21 per cent) have their sights on 20 or more. The main driver behind the mobile expansion is cost savings: 63 per cent of the sample picked it as one of the influences in choosing new apps. They ranked other influences: 51 per cent cited productivity concerns, 50 per cent "employee requests or needs," and 43 per cent "competition."

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The online survey, sponsored by SAP's Sybase unit, was conducted in December. The IT managers were from U.S. and U.K. companies with over $100 million in revenues.

Bringing together mobile devices and cloud-based application hosting seems to be an idea that these IT managers intuitively like: 82 per cent agreed that it would be beneficial to host mobile apps in the cloud.

IT groups seem willing to accept, or are resigned to, a world where they have to support more than one mobile operating system: 58 per cent expect to be working with one to four OS platforms by year's end. Another 30 per cent expect to support five to 19.

But the survey also identified potential problems: 46 per cent of those "who do not have a mobile strategy in place did not expect to hire staff to specifically deal with their enterprise mobility strategy." Forty-five percent of all respondents say they do not have an overall mobile plan or timeline in place.

Adapting corporate data for use with mobile apps and devices is seen as a "crucial" business priority by 56 per cent of the sample.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

E-mail: john_cox@nww.com

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