Enterprise-specific mobile apps, enterprise app stores on the rise

Appcelerator survey also shows most enterprises don't have internal chief of mobile development, despite rising number of OSes

Despite the fact that companies are developing mobile apps for as many as five or more operating systems at once, 85 percent of those organizations don't have a director of mobile strategy, according to a survey from mobile app development and analytics tool vendor Appcelerator.

Appcelerator, which boasts a developer base of half a million and harvests analytics from over 166 million devices and more than 60,000 apps developed with its technology, polls mobile app developers quarterly to examine trends amongst them.

The company's most recent enterprise survey crunched answers from 804 respondents from companies as small as one person all the way up to 10,000 or more. Forty-nine percent of the respondents described their business sector as "software and information technology," with the next largest slices being "telecom, media and entertainment" (11 percent) and "financial services, law, and professional services" (10 percent).

One of Appcelerator's survey questions was: "Does your company have a single mobile leader [such as a VP of mobile strategy or some other similar title]?" Eighty-five percent of respondents said they had "no plans to employ" such a figure, which implies that the companies surveyed still see mobile app development as part and parcel of their software development work generally -- or even as part of their general IT department -- and not as its own distinct animal.

Most app developers are also aiming to support multiple devices, with 62 percent of those surveyed supporting three or more. Which platforms they're trying to support shouldn't be too surprising, though: When developers were asked what platform they were "very interested" in building apps for, iOS devices ranked solidly as No. 1 (90 percent of respondents) and Android phones ranked second (71 percent). HTML5 mobile apps came in third at 60 percent, neck-and-neck with Android tablets at 59 percent. BlackBerry devices ranked dead last, below the Kindle Fire.

These results imply that iOS developers see that operating system in a far more unified way across device types and form factors than Android developers do. It's almost impossible to avoid, given that Android is still seen as heavily fragmented despite Google taking major steps as of late to do something about it, if only incrementally.

Yet another illuminating question -- was the respondent's company planning to write apps that would be provided through a private app store -- produced answers that were divided right down the middle, 50 percent yes, 50 percent no. Some of this may be due to third parties having already done the legwork: Google is offering a private app store option for enterprises, and Apple has an enterprise deployment system of its own, essentially a redistribution point for App Store bulk purchases.

Other questions in the survey were specifically about B2B, B2E, and B2C applications. When asked, "Does user experience matter as much in B2E/B2B apps as it does in B2C apps?" 88 percent said yes.

Still more inquiries were similarly geared toward teasing out insights into how enterprises were building apps for themselves: which target operating systems, what the investment priorities were, and the types of apps -- B2B, B2C, B2E -- on the slate for the next six months.

This story, "Enterprise-specific mobile apps, enterprise app stores on the rise," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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