ÜberTech


Why Mobile Business Apps Will Flower in 2011

Why Mobile Business Apps Will Flower in 2011

Summary: On the coming enterprise mobile app explosion, Battlestar Galactica said it best: All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.

SHARE:

The dearth of serious mobile business apps has been a potent argument by skeptics who question the usefulness of smartphones and tablets in business. It's also a rapidly weakening one, as a recent Wall Street Journal article shows.

"Wireless apps aren't just about slingshotting birds or drinking virtual beers anymore. Increasingly, businesses are getting in on the craze, too," according to the article, which cited several interesting examples:

- Aflac, which built in-house a dozen different mobile apps to its 70,000 sales employees, according to the Journal.

- Life Technologies Corp., a biotech tools maker which has 400 salespeople and executives using iPads and a mobile BI app called Roambi to display its sales data in interactive charts.

- General Growth Properties, a mall operator, which built a survey app for its iPad-toting surveyors to use.

Here's another example that the Journal didn't point out: telecom equipment maker, Tellabs. It has custom-built a warehouse-shipping app for the iPad using the Sybase Unwired Platform that connects to its SAP-based data.

According to a video that Tellabs posted, the iPad app sped up the time to approve urgent and unusual shipments by nearly two-thirds.

Apart from Roambi, the common thread that runs through the above apps is that they were built by the company's own developers, presumably at a high cost in money and time.

All of this has happened before, all of it will happen again: ISVs have til now been largely unwilling to build packaged mobile apps for the enterprise market until they saw enough devices in the hands of workers.

Now that that is true - see Gartner's report today that 1 in 5 mobiles sold today is a smartphone - business app makers are starting to build them.

Any high-tech veteran has seen the large-scale transition from custom to pre-packaged before. The best example is probably the shift from custom enterprise server apps to packaged ones in the 80s and 90s.

My employer Sybase/SAP has already built two mobile apps: a sales/CRM app and a workflow/ERP app that both connect back to SAP back-ends. But we are moving aggressively to become a maker of mobile business apps, rather than primarily hawking our business app development platform, SUP. But non-consumer apps are flowering in the education and enterprise space.

And for end users, buying off the shelf has many benefits. It lowers the time and money for companies to deploy mobile business apps. That shortens the time for companies to earn a Return on Investment (ROI). Both of those make it easier for companies to justify a "Bring Your Own Device" strategy if they don't already have one. All in all, a nice feedback loop that will likely twirl far faster in 2011.

Topics: ÜberTech, Enterprise Software, iPad, Mobility, Smartphones

Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at ÜberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

7 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Why Mobile Business Apps Will Flower in 2011

    myapptogo offers a easy to use step by step mobile web/app service which allows a client to create their own mobile/web app in a few hours. If someone can add content, upload images, add social and video links and email to their customer base then the client can manage their own mobile web/app. A mobile web/app from myapptogo.com will work on iphone, blackberry and android phones. No app store required. Monthly subscription on $42.00. App includes unlimited text messaging.
    myapptogo
    • RE: Why Mobile Business Apps Will Flower in 2011

      Wow, thank you SO much!!<a href="http://www.replicachanelonline.org">chanel bags</a>
      <a href="http://www.replicachanelonline.org">replica purses</a>
      <a href="http://www.replicachanelonline.org">chanel replicas</a>
      meimeili
  • Mobile Business Apps Make Sense

    I agree that mobile business apps will flower in 2011. If you integrate the right app for your business you can increase your efficiency, save time and money. I have experienced this first hand in managing my mobile workforce. We use a mobile business app called WorkMobile by eSAY. We use this app as <a href="http://www.esay-solutions.co.uk/workmobile/courier-software" >Courier Software</a> and it allows us to publish custom data capture forms to the mobile phones of our team and then they can capture signatures, photographs and other data with their mobile phone anywhere in the world to transmit back to the office immediately.
    mbugle
    • RE: Why Mobile Business Apps Will Flower in 2011

      These days customized mobile applications that are tailored to specific business requirement are getting rather popular.

      Apps offer great potential to market your business, network, boost customer service and enhance the way staff work on the move and communicate with one another. Apps allow employees to work at any time and from anywhere via mobile devices. They are designed for a variety of industries and mobile workers and range from process-driven to consumer-facing apps.

      Should you be interested in developing personalized customized mobile application, please visit our website

      http://rozdoum.com/mobilize-your-business.html
      lucyinv@...
  • RE: Why Mobile Business Apps Will Flower in 2011

    Good post,thank you. <a href="http://www.replica-hermes.org/34cm-hermes-lindy-bag-c-9.html">hermes lindy bags</a>
    I hope this article will be better. <a href="http://www.replica-hermes.org/20cm-hermes-wallet-c-13.html">hermes wallets</a>
    I like the article,thank you~! <a href="http://www.replica-hermes.org/25cm-hermes-birbin-bag-c-5.html">hermes birbin bags 25cm</a>
    anonymous
  • mrendpy 11 ert

    hcikth,faohhjxb38, vtxyv.
    cdfwekrwe44-24379028400659447746738297440132
  • Nice!

    Fantastic post. Here???s a tool that lets you build web and mobile apps fast and without coding! http://www.caspio.com/
    lawtonterri