Who's leading mobile app efforts? Not IT

Survey finds business units are funding mobile app projects and BYOD dominates among business partners, not just employees

Demonstrating increased independence, individual business units -- and not IT -- have been taking the lead in paying for mobile application projects, a new report reveals. Meanwhile, the march toward BYOD (bring your own device) continues, the same report said.

In the report published by mobile application management vendor AppCentral, 36 percent of respondents to a survey said business unit budgets, rather than IT, were the main funder of mobile projects. Another 31 percent said funding comes from marketing and executive leadership budgets. AppCentral surveyed more than 200 people across 100 companies that use smartphones or tablets.

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In another key finding, BYOD dominates, with 64 percent of respondents saying they used personal devices for work. Businesses also are enabling mobility for an extended workforce -- representing another form of BYOD -- with 40 percent saying that non-employees, such as business partners, are provided access to custom mobile applications.

Additionally, the survey found that companies are investing in custom mobile applications to change how they do business: 68 percent of respondents said their organization had made one or more custom mobile applications available to them. A popular mobile application category at the surveyed companies is field sales productivity -- that is, applications that help drive revenue.

AppCentral found that 19 percent of the organizations already have in-production app stores.

Other findings in AppCentral's report include:

  • For lines of business, improved customer engagement and cost optimization are the primary drivers for mobility projects. For IT, the primary driver is improving products used by employees.
  • To be successful, companies must leverage all smart mobile devices including those typically beyond enterprise control, including employees' and business partners' own devices.
  • Echoing the findings of other surveys, Apple's iOS dominates the enterprise, largely due to the Android platform's fragmentation and resulting management complexity. "The fragmentation just really makes security frankly quite difficult," said John Dasher, vice president of products and marketing at AppCentral. Fifty-six percent reported iOS as their mobile OS, with Google's Android at 29 percent, Research in Motion's BlackBerry at 9 percent, and Microsoft's two mobile OSes -- the discontinued Windows Mobile and the new Windows Phone -- coming in for a shared 3 percent.

This article, "Who's leading mobile app efforts? Not IT," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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