Mobile First Enterprise Apps Are Here!
Kevin Spain from Emergence Capital Partners identified on Forbes.com the emergence "Mobile First Enterprise" apps and the VC investment going into them. This new category of app -- where the mobile experience is the primary focus -- will have a huge impact on companies in 2012. Spain defines mobile first enterprise applications as "those that leverage the unique capabilities of mobile devices to enable the creation of new categories of enterprise applications." He goes on to say that "these applications are very different from mobile-enabled versions of traditional enterprise software ... true mobile-first enterprise applications are built for mobile platforms initially or exclusively and enable a worker or business to do things that simply were not possible before the proliferation of advanced connected devices." In addition to the investment in companies providing these apps, there are numerous reasons that 2012 will be the year of the "mobile first" enterprise app:
- Ease of Development. In-House apps are significantly easier to build now than just a few years ago. With the iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) development environments, companies can build "bespoke" apps for their employees in weeks (not months or years) that can have a huge ROI impact.
- Access to Enterprise back-end services. Companies such as salesforce.com (via force.com) are making APIs available to facilitate mobile development so you don't have to use the "off the shelf" app in the App Store anymore.
- Mobile Application Management. MAM solutions that provide private app catalogs (also known as "Enterprise App Stores") provide a secure way to deploy and manage these apps. Companies such as Apperian make MAM systems that can be up and running quickly.
- Cloud based services and frameworks. Development of back-end services for mobile authentication, storage, content delivery, notifications, and numerous other critical elements have exploded in the last year. Expect more, and expect more apps to be built because of these improvements in the infrastructure to support mobile.