Many Large Enterprises Struggle to Build Mobile Apps

According to an Apigee Institute study, 45 percent of large enterprises have problems when it comes to delivering mobile apps.

Mobile enterprise apps

A full 45 percent of large enterprises struggle to produce mobile apps, according to the Apigee Institute, a unit of Apigee Corp., a provider of analytics and management technology for cloud services and APIs.

In its report, "Lessons from the App Masters: How Some IT Departments Excel at Delivering Quality Apps," Apigee explains that while mobile apps play a key role in business success, nearly half the IT decision-makers surveyed reported missing expectations on at least one of the five key measures of app deployment success: number of apps, quality of apps, budget, business impact and time.

However, the study showed that those who exceeded expectations across all five measures of app deployment—the so-called "app masters"—share a common pattern for success that includes strategic and aggressive use of external resources. The findings come from a recent survey of IT executives at large enterprises that attempted to deploy apps in 2013.

"Traditional IT is no longer viable for the new world of apps," Bryan Kirschner, director of the Apigee Institute, said in a statement. "IT as we know it has been heavily conditioned by the legacy of a control-oriented approach used to build and manage the systems of record of the past. But this approach is incompatible with the new business imperative to deliver systems of engagement at the pace the market demands.

"We've found that those who are succeeding in app deployment have a strikingly different approach to their IT departments," he continued. "They recognize the strategic value of leveraging external expertise to maximize their agility and adaptability—this fundamental shift is called 'outside-in IT' and is a competitive necessity for every IT leader hoping to deliver digital experiences faster and better."

The Apigee study showed that app masters are more likely to embrace the cloud. Of the app masters, 85 percent said they are replacing legacy components with public or private cloud alternatives. Another 83 percent of this group reports committing to leveraging cloud-based external resources wherever they meet business needs.

On average, the app-master enterprises reported moving 80 percent of their infrastructure to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and 80 percent of their application development to platform-as-a-service (PaaS), Apigee said.

In comparison, the "app challenged" reported moving an average of 44 percent of their architecture to IaaS and PaaS. Of the app challenged, only 18 percent said they saw the strategic value of the cloud as extremely relevant to their organizations. In contrast, a full 61 percent of the app masters agreed that being cloud-first by making use of IaaS, PaaS and mobile-backends-as-a-service (MBaaS) while strategically approaching external resources is extremely relevant to their companies' strategic market position, the study showed.

The Apigee study also showed that there is a clear distinction between enterprises producing apps successfully and those that are struggling. Indeed, of IT decision-makers in large enterprises that attempted to deploy apps, more than one in four failed to meet their timeline, nearly one in five failed to meet budget, and a similar proportion had to produce fewer apps than planned. Another 5 percent of enterprises failed entirely in their attempts to produce apps. In contrast, some companies seem to have mastered app development, with 8 percent reporting exceeding expectations on building and deploying apps across all success metrics.

Moreover, app masters are more likely to work with external resources. Only 11 percent of the app masters said they mostly or exclusively used internal resources, compared with more than a quarter of the app challenged—or those struggling to deploy apps, Apigee said. And nearly a third of the IT decision-makers from app-master companies reported proactively looking for external resources, compared with only 6 percent of those at app-challenged firms.