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The Future of Enterprise Applications Is Mobility


The future of enterprise applications, both for enterprise workers and consumers, is mobility. We have brought together IT perspectives regarding mobile from across Gartner Research in this comprehensive report.

Table of Contents


The drive for pervasive access to information on the part of consumers and enterprise employees continues to accelerate, with the near ubiquitous availability of adequate bandwidth and rapid increase of smartphone and tablet adoption making mobile one of the top priorities on a CIO’s priority list. The digital enterprise is increasingly a mobile enterprise. Business users and customers are showing a sharp interest in mobile devices and mobile applications. Cloud computing enticed many business departments and companies to become more agile with their applications, but it still fundamentally did not enable new processes to significantly improve business value. The greater long-term value, and at the same time challenge, is the transition of extending and creating new business applications for mobile platforms. Mobility enables new processes and access not possible with less-nimble or more-stationary computing environments. This improved access to information and knowledge and can fundamentally impact the value achieved from business applications. Looking at the various enterprise processes, such as sales, marketing, customer service, digital commerce, field service, finance, procurement, supply chain, and human capital, it is clear that no software provider in each market has a lead in setting the direction for mobile applications deployed on behalf of the enterprise.

Concepts such as digital marketing efforts, mobile sales, mobile storefronts, field service, and the support of customers via mobile applications will reshape the direction of the CRM application market. Mobile analytics, social applications, employee-centric applications for talent discovery and management, billing, inventory, and HR applications will all move to mobile platforms.

Research Highlights

Our special report is targeted at IT leaders supporting business applications and is organized into three sections: Mobile Application Strategy, Mobile Application Development, and Mobile Impact on Business Roles, such as sales, finance, and human capital management.

Mobile Application Strategy

The focus of this section of the special report is to help IT professionals and business stakeholders assess and develop their mobile application strategy.

As IT leaders work with business leaders to develop mobile initiatives, Gartner’s “Use a Mobile Business Application Maturity Model to Develop Mobile Initiatives” shows the development of mobile business applications and provides a road map to help companies determine where they are now, and where they want to get to.

“Top 10 Mobile Technologies and Capabilities for 2015 and 2016″ discusses 10 technologies and capabilities that will be critical to organizations wanting to unlock the full potential of mobility as part of their digital business strategy.

Cognizant computing is transforming personal clouds into highly intelligent collections of mobile apps and services. Business-to-consumer (B2C) providers who adapt their strategy to exploit this change will generate new revenue, find new ways to differentiate themselves and foster engagement via mobile apps. “Mobile Applications Strategies Will Be Transformed by Cognizant Computing” explains how mobile application strategies will be transformed by cognizant computing.

With the shift in business and consumer applications to mobile devices, many issues will arise around issues such as ROI, security, scalability, availability and integration.

In our report, “A Guidance Framework for Mobilizing Business Applications,” we look at the need to provide mobile access to business applications. This guidance framework breaks the task into four related parts: selecting an approach, choosing client models, integrating mobile clients with the back end, and selecting infrastructure. We help you determine how best to enable mobile access based on the application’s unique requirements.

Understanding the return on mobile investments focused on employees is the theme of “How to Estimate the ROI of Mobile Apps for Employees.” It is often difficult to determine the ROI for employee-facing mobile apps that do not fall into well-defined categories, such as sales and field force automation. Development and operational costs are different from those of traditional apps, and, although some are well-understood, mobile apps are evolving around new form factors. IT leaders should use this research to analyze ROI models to prioritize projects.

In contrast to employee mobile applications, we look at “How to Estimate ROI for Customer-Facing Mobile Apps.” As mobile access grows to become a major contact point, organizations must understand mobile app costs and value. Mobile apps are a vital part of a digital business. Modeling development and operational costs, infrastructure impact, savings, revenue opportunities and benefits enables mobile app value to be assessed and projects to be prioritized.

Digital business will blur the line between the physical and the digital worlds, and consumer-centric mobile apps will play an important role in this development. In “Adapt Your Information Infrastructure in the Age of Consumer-Centric Mobile Apps,” we explore how most IT leaders fail to consider the deep impact that mobile apps will have on their information infrastructure.

Decades of experience with PCs has afforded few directly translatable best practices for the chaotic world of mobile devices. However, as the mobile world becomes the de facto best practice for future overall endpoint strategies, enterprises must assess their maturity and the next steps to enable a smooth running IT model. In Gartner’s “Mobile Maturity Model,” we describe five levels of maturity, from “Ad Hoc” to “Innovating.”

Mobile Application Development

In this section of our report, we focus on specific best practices for developing and integrating mobile applications.

Mobile user experiences will become more diverse and more sophisticated; CIOs and business leaders responsible for mobile app design and delivery must become more aware of new mobile experience approaches and technologies and acquire the skills and partners to exploit them. Mobile user experiences will become more diverse and more sophisticated. In “People-Centric Experiences: Master the New Trends in Mobile Experience Design,” we explore nine dimensions of experience that are important when developing mobile apps.

Businesses that are good at Web design often underestimate the complexity of mobile application design for customers. In a companion piece to People-Centric Experiences, we look at “Six Best Practices to Deliver Powerful Mobile Consumer-Facing Applications.” We offer six critical best practices for the CIO and marketing leadership hoping to leverage mobile technologies and processes to drive profit and customer loyalty.

Rising demand for mobile apps makes a systematic way to prioritize delivery by business value vital for those charged with enterprise mobility enablement. “Prioritize Mobile Application Development to Maximize Business Value” outlines a collaborative approach that is ideal, bringing together and aligning stakeholder criteria to compare value, ROI, cost and competitive advantage.

Mobile enablement is a key element of digital businesses; however, access to back-end systems is often a limiting factor. IT leaders who choose the right mobile app integration architectures can ensure timely and efficient delivery of the apps their businesses require. “Enable Your Digital Business With a Mobile App Integration Architecture” explains how IT departments can best support a flourishing mobile app portfolio.

With today’s focus on mobile enablement, it is tempting to adopt a mobile-first application development strategy, developing applications for mobile use and worrying about other devices later. Taken too literally, application architectures can fail to address multichannel requirements. “Address the Limitations of a Mobile-First Application Strategy With a Multichannel Architecture” helps IT leaders choose the right mobile app integration architectures to ensure timely, efficient delivery of the apps their businesses require.

Integration is an often underestimated thorn in the backside of most business-oriented mobile app projects. Directors of integration and mobile AD leaders must define in concert an approach that maximizes agility while leveraging established integration skills, technologies and governance models. In “What IT Leaders Need to Know About the Mobile App Integration Puzzle,” we provide a set of recommendations on how to strategically address mobile app integration in terms of integration patterns, technologies and approaches.

Mobile Impact on Business Roles

In this section of our report, we focus on specific best practices for developing and integrating mobile applications.

Gartner clients are discovering that mobile is effecting marketing most profoundly in four areas: location-based marketing, consumer-style mobile apps, integration with sales applications, and access to marketing app functionality. In “How Mobile Will Affect IT Leaders Supporting Marketing Technologies,” we advise IT leaders how to be in front of demand to support marketing departments with leading-edge technology.

Gartner expects deployments of human capital management processes on mobile devices will more than double between 2014 and 2016. In our research, “Mobile Business Applications for HCM Will Proliferate,” we discuss how HR and IT leaders can determine where you can drive efficiency and effectiveness of human capital management processes through high user engagement and business impact by leveraging mobile technology.

Mobile devices will have the biggest impact on sales force automation since the laptop was introduced decades ago. To take advantage of this trend, sales application managers must refocus their sales force automation projects and implementations. In “Mobile Devices Are a Major Disrupter for Sales Applications,” we provide insight into the top three impacts mobility will have on sales applications and address the opportunity and challenges for sales organizations.

Increasing mobile activity by online buyers is forcing VPs and CTOs of e-commerce operations to question what mobile IT investments they should be making. “Improve Your Customers’ Digital Experience With a Solid Mobile Strategy” provides a mobile IT strategy for CTOs who support online selling and e-commerce operations.

ERP suites have supported mobile and wireless-enabled processes for decades using proprietary, costly and inflexible solutions. The evolution of consumer mobile technologies gives ERP leaders the opportunity to replace many of these solutions and to extend mobile working to a broader set of ERP users. In “Mobile Technologies and ERP Need to Evolve Together to Maximize ROI,” we define three stages of ERP mobile application maturity to illustrate the existing and future ERP mobile landscape.

Financial management applications are evolving to take advantage of mobile capabilities for analytics and process management. IT and financial application strategists need to determine when these applications are robust enough to adopt and when they must develop mobile strategies. “Organizations Must Leverage Mobile Business Applications for Finance” explores the impacts mobile devices have on corporate performance managers using financial applications.

Mobile device-specific capabilities and user experiences offered by mobile applications can make interactions with procurement applications more appealing and impactful. “Mobile Business Applications Can Add Impact and Appeal to Procurement Solutions” explores existing areas of mobile functionalities as well as potential areas to explore for procurement and IT professionals.