Here’s an excellent article on this topic originally published at information-age. Read on!

5 things apps taught the enterprise mobility in 2014

Although the adoption of mobile apps in an enterprise has been much slower than the consumer market, 2014 was a very pivotal year for their development.

According to enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform IBM MaaS360, its customers pushed out over 15,000 apps to millions of employees in the last year alone. This was more than any previous year and a mix of both public apps and customised apps.

Throughout these deployments, it discovered five key lessons.

1. Apps are everywhere and they’re not going away

Apps were certainly in the spotlight this year, and will continue to be as businesses recognise the value of enabling workers on the go. 

According to common public data, almost a third of employee devices have over 50 apps. Many users with 16GB devices have so many apps that they need to remove some to make room for others. 

Enterprises are embracing apps as productivity boosters, not killers. This year clearly demonstrated that having an app policy is an integral part of the whole enterprise mobility package.

2. Public apps are being supported by IT

IT is enabling devices (both BYOD and COPE) and workers to be more productive. After providing access to corporate email, calendars and contacts, the next natural step is distributing public apps to employees. 2014 saw an increasing number of public apps being pushed to workers to increase productivity. 

3. Companies are finally developing private apps

This year taught us that IT is on board with mobile enablement. Whether it’s coming from line-of-business owners or internal team pressures, IT is working to be a champion of mobilisation by building, designing, developing and deploying private apps more than ever. 

Many of these apps give workers access to systems that were previously guarded behind a firewall. According to MaaS360 data, custom apps account for about 38% of what’s pushed to employee devices. The trends of this year are a testament to the fact that the custom-to-public ratio will likely creep closer to 50-50 in the future.

4. Apps still aren’t secure

As apps get more and more access to corporate information, the need to secure not only the application but the data within that application grows exponentially. 

Many public apps, as well as first generation corporate apps, were built and deployed without security being an important or necessary function. 

In 2014, MaaS360 learned that the technology to secure apps and their associated data has finally caught up to the rapid pace of development. 

Security features like containerisation, app wrapping, and building apps with security SDKs are becoming part of standard EMM offerings, which makes it quick and easy to implement security features and policies. Even better news is that usability of the app is not compromised.

5. IT professionals can’t do this alone

In almost all organisations, IT needs a suite of tools to satisfy the app hunger of both employees and internal business owners. 

IT needs to be able to manage the entire lifecycle of the apps, including design, creation and deployment, while also managing the devices that will house the dozens, sometimes hundreds, of applications created and pushed to employees.

Considering how quickly apps are being developed and adopted, management is necessary every step of the way. Support from the C-suite is also essential to the success of an app programme. Without these two pillars, an app programme cannot be successful.