Enterprises and Mobile: Update, Including Antenna Software Survey

Antenna Software has released results of a survey of 1000 businesses regarding mobile apps development and management and it shows growing interest and progress by the respondents in the area of mobile.

Antenna emphasizes that the results show that an increasing number of businesses (the mix of business sizes and types were not shown) are actually working on mobile applications. The first line of the report states: “Hold onto your hat….people are still doing mobile.”

We found this report interesting. While Antenna have been a bit facetious in the above comment, we believe it reinforces the conclusions of an earlier piece that we here at Mobile Cloud Era had written (Feb. 2012).

We concluded that enterprises were dealing with two separate issues – 1) mobile, which manifested itself as “BYOD and consumerization”, and 2) cloud. The Antenna survey sheds light particularly on the mobile issue, although it works cloud in to one set of specific questions, as discussed below.

First, on mobile, Antenna found that just about everybody was addressing mobile in some regard, with 88% of its respondents indicating “they are either currently working on a mobile project, plan to start one in the near future, or both.”

It found mobile apps were being developed about equally for employee use (B2E) versus customer-facing (B2C). It showed a significant, frankly surprising to us, jump in the number of companies that had already implemented an “enterprise app store” – 37% of respondents, versus 14% a year earlier.

Antenna’s questions also sought to address the touchy subject of the role of IT departments in implementing mobile projects. They state in the report, “We often see that business decision makers are driving mobile projects from the beginning, and in many cases, IT isn’t brought into the picture until mobility reaches a certain maturation point in the enterprise.” This certainly reflects the tension between LOB (line of business) managers and IT that we have written about.

Antenna tried to encapsulate this in questions about whether IT is primarily an “enforcer” of corporate policies re mobile device use, or rather an “enabler” driving new uses of mobile. About 40% of respondents voted for the “enforcer” tag, versus only 32% for the “enabler” one.

Interestingly, the survey found that 33% of respondents allow employees only to use company issued devices. There was a spread of approaches to other forms of device security, as indicated in the chart below.

Source: “Antenna Mobile Business Forecast 2013”

Regarding mobile application management (MAM), the survey found that nearly half of the companies were using either public or corporate app stores (another 31% were provisioning directly to company-issued sets.) Antenna remarked that it expects a serious increase in the small number, 10%, that were provisioning to secure containers on the device (used largely to address the “dual persona” issues that we have written about.)

Another of our earlier conclusions was that enterprise priorities were: 1) protect the value of legacy systems; 2) deal with migration of legacy functionality to the “cloud”; 3) deal with issues surrounding mobile access for employees.

On this topic, the Antenna survey found that businesses, in their approach to mobile were starting to shift from just “mobilizing” current business processes to implementing “transformative and innovative” mobile projects. However, only 1% said that all of the projects they were doing could be considered transformative.

“Mobile cloud” sort of sneaked into the survey in one area, which Antenna described as “Mobile cloud services” – but which it restricted by definition to “mobile backend-as-a-service (mBaaS).” It described these as “prepackaged, ready-to-use service bundles that speed the development process by eliminating tedious server-side tasks that are used across many different apps.” (See our previous piece on this topic.)

The question was particularly interesting because the services, or functionalities, that respondents identified as most helpful mirror most of the issues that we had raised for enterprises in our earlier analyses. These included primarily data integration issues, authentication, storage and others – see the chart below.

Source: “Antenna Mobile Business Forecast 2013”

The Antenna survey covered several other interesting points and is available from the company: http://www.antennasoftware.com/resources/ebooks-whitepapers.