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More than a decade has passed since the Blackberry and iPhone changed how employees get work done. Yet there is still steady investment in mobile apps to support an increasingly mobile workforce. Over half (60%) of our survey respondents report deploying mobile applications, and new investment continues. This year, 47% of our respondents report that they plan on making new mobile application investments in the next 18 months. We expect this rate of investment to continue as already-ubiquitous mobile devices become more sophisticated and more powerful. Enterprise experience is strong with this technology and all signs point to continued steady progress.
Figure 1 from our full report, Mobile Apps Adoption and Customer Experience, shows the adoption and customer experience profile for mobile applications. When compared to the other technologies in the study, adoption is on the high side of moderate. We expect adoption to continue to grow as mobile applications and the devices that support them mature. Investment is only moderate, and it has been rising relatively slowly. But rather than a negative sign, this appears to be a sign of maturity for the technology. Where mobile apps really shine is in customer experience—return on investment, total cost of ownership, and satisfaction are all high. It is rare for a mature technology to achieve high marks in all of these categories. We expect this positive experience to continue to drive steady, if not rapid, growth.
For the purposes of this report, we consider only the adoption of business applications that run on smartphones, tablets, and handheld devices. We include new implementations or retrofitting of existing business applications (such as CRM, field service, or time reporting) for access on smartphones, tablets, or special-purpose handhelds. We do not count laptops as mobile devices or email as a mobile application.
“Mobile apps are really beginning to shine as customer-facing tools,” said David Wagner, vice president for research at Computer Economics, an IT research firm based in Irvine, Calif. “Live chat with representatives, messaging, and social media are now part of a new blend of customer engagement tools on mobile devices.”
A key value of business mobile apps will depend on how they interact within the solution itself or through integration with other corporate systems, such as ERP, CRM, and workflow.
The full report provides an overview of mobile application adoption and investment trends, providing data on how many organizations have the technology in place, how many are in the process of implementing it, and how many are expanding implementations. We look at the return on investment experience, total cost of ownership experience, considered or planned uses for new mobile app investment, as well as the platforms on which companies are developing mobile applications. We also assess which sectors are adopting mobile applications, and whether those organizations are developing mobile applications in-house, outsourcing the task, or relying on commercial software vendors. We conclude with recommendations for making the most of mobile application investments.