Mobility is a white hot topic at the moment, but for all the rhetoric, is the enterprise really jumping on the mobility bandwagon? That’s what we wanted to find out when we recently surveyed 3,000 IT professionals to assess the adoption, trends and perceptions around mobile development. We found many of the results surprising.
Though interest in mobile apps among consumers and enterprises is on the rise, mobile application development is slower than expected. In fact, according to our findings, 57% of developers are still brand new to mobile development or have never built a mobile app. This tells us they need the right tools and processes to move forward with their development efforts.
Other key findings include:
Improved operational efficiency was cited most often as a key reason for building mobile apps. Other reasons include creating revenue opportunities (39%), increasing employee productivity (38%), improving customer service (35%) and engaging customers in a more meaningful way (34%).
To achieve these goals, user experience (UX) is the most important element for mobile apps of any type—whether they are external-facing or used for business-critical functions. This was confirmed by 44% of those surveyed, followed by ease of maintenance (24%), performance (15%) and security (11%).
While there are developer frustrations with a lack of tools and ever-changing development practices, most developers don’t have their hearts set on a particular approach for building mobile apps. Hybrid is the most preferred (33%), followed by native (25%) and web (19%), but the dividing line is close.
The survey also found that developers are developing across all platforms, with 76% percent developing for Android, 63% for iOS and 40% for Windows Phone. Of those who develop for iOS, 83% also develop for Android. Although multi-platform development is a requirement for the majority of B2B and B2E mobile apps, it is one of the greatest challenges—36% of respondents listed it as the most challenging part of the app building process, tied with the need to provide a clean UI.
Looking forward, respondents reported developing for a mix of platforms other than mobile, including web (87%), desktop (62%), IoT (22%), wearables (6%) and others.
According to the survey, IoT trumps wearables, such as the Apple Watch, as the “next big thing” in app development. Smart appliances and virtual reality devices, like the Oculus Rift, are expected to be more important by 35% and 21% of respondents, respectively. Only 21% have definitive plans to build apps for wearables in 2015. Of that 21%, 45% will be developing apps for the Apple Watch.
Brandon Satrom (@BrandonSatrom) is General Manager for Telerik Developer Tools and Platform. A longtime developer, Brandon is passionate about the web, mobile and is an aspiring maker and electronics enthusiast. Brandon has spoken at national, international and online events, and he loves hanging out with and learning from passionate designers and developers. He is the author of two books, the latest being "Building Polyfills" from O'Reilly. Brandon lives in Austin, TX with his wife, Sarah, and three sons, Benjamin, Jack and Matthew. He can be found on Twitter as @brandonsatrom.