The coming of age of enterprise apps

by Sohini Bagchi    Dec 31, 2012

enterprise appsThe phenomenal rise in the adoption of smartphones and tablets in the enterprise has escalated the demand for enterprise apps. Simply put, apps are a way of democratizing information and making them available to people. As Kasturi Bhattacharjee, Director and Vertical Head – OSS, Ericsson India Global Services puts it, “We’re living in a connected world where apps are the gateway to the world and we are integrating our social and business needs into apps.”

With enterprise and end user consumers increasingly embracing mobility in their day to day lives, and more businesses are building strategies woven around mobility, the importance of apps will only increase. At present, video collaboration and social media are the most prevalent emerging enterprise apps. Experts believe that apps will not be consumed on mobile phones alone, but it will percolate to other devices such as televisions and laptops with the emergence of cloud computing.

However, the current enterprise apps market is still nascent and fragmented – mostly dominated by a handful of vendors and companies are left with their own set of challenges.

Challenges ahead

IT decision makers believe that upgrading and optimizing their existing enterprise apps remain a major challenge. “One way companies are coping with this challenge is by keeping away from customization, which is very expensive and time consuming. Many companies are instead going for configuration of their apps,” says Venki Muthanna Founder, CEO AppPoint Software Solutions. He believes that this approach lets customers modify their application functionality or adding capabilities as per their business needs.

However, configuration has its own set of challenges. The often diverse and layered applications may not work for all businesses. The other challenge is that enterprise apps market is still nascent and fragmented – mostly dominated by a handful of vendors. Bhattacharjee points out that there must be an integrated approach and an eco system to offer successful apps. Operators must interact with customers to understand their needs and build apps accordingly.

Ralph Simon, CEO and founder, Mobilium Global notes that until now, the local apps remained a highly untapped market in India unlike in China and it needs to be explored. “Local app developers need to create apps having local relevance. For example, news content apps can be published in a number of local languages,” he says adding that it is time India should create an eco-system where indigenous apps developers can not only create apps having colloquial and contextual relevance and also have the expertise to showcase their products globally.

Future bright

Once app developers and companies overcome some of these challenges, the enterprise-based mobile apps market is bound to grow tremendously in India. As Gaurav Chopra, associate VP- Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) points out in a report that in the near future, every enterprise will need a mobile app, given that the usage of smartphones and mobile internet is growing rapidly.

“Emerging mobile applications and devices will continue to transform the app development space rapidly. It will become one of the key priorities for CIOs,” he says. Most CIOs believe that the emergence of enterprise App Store (EAS) can not only help them manage and secure apps better, but also offers them gain control over the apps.

A recent survey by Research2Guidance notes India is slated to become one of the biggest players in the global app market by 2016, overtaking leading smartphone app markets in the US and Europe markets. This shows that there is a huge potential for app development in the country. At the same time, with mobility being the top agenda for enterprises, analysts believe that the rate of adoption of enterprise apps is also set to grow considerably in the next 2-3 years.