Multiple Mobile Application Development Approaches Present New Vendor Opportunities

Michele Pelino
Principal Analyst
June 25, 2010

Enterprises are deploying a wide range of horizontal and vertical mobile applications. Results from Forrester’s 2010 Network and Telecom survey of IT decision makers at North America and European firms show that horizontal mobile applications such wireless email, have been implemented or are being implemented by 86% of firms, and calendaring and personal information management applications have been deployed by 68% of firms. The next wave of mobile application deployment is focused on meeting the needs of line of business (LOB) workers such as sales force and field service professionals, or industry-specific requirements such as inventory management applications in retail, or location-based applications in the transportation arena. Survey data shows a persistent level of application implementation and planned deployment among 14% – 19% of enterprises for mobile sales force, field service and emergency response applications.  We expect this mobile LOB application deployment to gain momentum in 2010.

The methods enterprises use to acquire and develop these mobile applications vary widely. Homegrown or in-house mobile application development is commonly used by 40% of North American and European enterprises. Approximately 30% of all enterprise organizations use a local, regional, or national external developer for mobile application development requirements. North American enterprises are significantly more likely to purchase mobile applications from a mobile service provider portal site or from a mobile application store. Between 24% and 29% of North American enterprises use these two types of mobile application development approaches, compared with only 11% to 15% of European firms. 

European enterprises are more likely to use mobile extensions from packaged applications such as salesforce.com, Siebel, or SAP. Approximately 31% of European enterprises use mobile extensions from a packaged application vendor compared with only 20% of North American enterprises. Other methods used to acquire and develop mobile applications include: 10% of enterprises work with a system integrator; 9% work with web site design firms; and 8% purchase mobile applications from mobile middleware platform vendors, including Sybase, Antenna Software, or Pyxis. Over the next few years, we expect this diverse approach to mobile application development to continue, which presents new opportunities for the many vendors who provide enterprises with a variety of methods to assist with mobile application development.

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