While the adoption of mobile standards is rising fast, it is critical for strategy and development teams to discount the hype, take a comprehensive view of where mobile apps are currently and chart a direction that recognizes that fast changes in the mobile market are inevitable, according to the “Mobile Strategies: State of Mobile Apps 2012” survey, from MGI Research.

The survey, conducted on behalf of Kony Solutions Inc., includes a review of mobile budget priorities, and 48 percent of the survey’s 200 respondents plan to increase budgets for multi-platform development tools over the next 12 months; 33 percent will increase their investment in mobile device management tools; 37 percent will increase investment in mobile applications development tools; 36 percent in legacy systems and 46 percent in mobile security and privacy. Insurance and financial services companies represented 12 to 15 percent of those surveyed.

The single most important technical priority is improving mobile app performance, according to more than 70 percent of respondents, who rated better performance as Very Important or Most Important/Critical.

Approximately 85 percent of participants say greater use of standards is Important, Very Important, or Most Important/Critical to their mobile strategy. Using native device functionality is a high priority; more than 60 percent of development teams said it is Very or Most Important/Critical. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was considered a priority by roughly half of respondents. 

Mobile apps increasingly are viewed as a business differentiation tool to increase customer engagement, reinforce brand value and improve customer service, according to the survey. They are not, however, viewed as tools for lowering costs or increasing margins, the survey finds.

Many companies are in the early phases of adoption; 65 percent of have five or fewer mobile apps in the planning stage of development. About 70 percent have five or fewer in development, and nearly half have no business-to-employee (B2E) apps in production. 

Mobile projects are most frequently paid for business units, 44.3 percent; followed by IT, 28.3 percent; marketing, 13.2 percent; executive leadership, 11.3 percent and sales, 2.8 percent.

Additional findings include:

• The primary business drivers are: increasing customer engagement, 87 percent; and increasing competitive advantage, 79 percent.

• Of respondents, 4.7 percent reported ‘outstanding’ ROI; 23 percent: ‘excellent;’ 50.8 percent: ‘average;’ 13.1 percent: ‘below average;’ 8.4 percent reported ‘disappointing’ returns.

• The top applications in development are customer service, 55 percent; social media, 38.7 percent; and marketing, 36.8 percent; sales, 31.1 percent.

• More than half of respondents, 53 percent, currently are planning to develop as many as five business-to-employee (B2E) applications.

• Providing applications for a mobile workforce is a top priority, and a majority of respondents plan to implement mobile strategies for sales, collaboration and field services.

“These results are consistent with the fast-moving adoption of mobile apps,” said Igor Stenmark, managing director of MGI Research. “Through this survey, we see that organizations that are focused holistically on the entire mobile application ecosystem—from planning through design and development, to deployment and management—are getting outstanding results and ROI from their mobile app investments. With such a heavy emphasis placed on application performance and user experience, more organizations are realizing that a simplistic focus on just time-to-market is no longer the best approach and that a disciplined implementation of a proper mobile application framework enables companies to best meet their mobile business objectives.”

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