The mobile app development revolution is often spoken of as if it is far from reaching its full potential. In general, mobile uptake for businesses is seen as a work in progress, and at times viewed as a transition that is barely in the process of revving up.
However, there is a vivid sign that the move to enterprise mobility is in full-swing. A recent survey of mobile developers conducted by Appcelerator and IDC has revealed a very dramatic shift – the percentage of enterprise-focused development efforts will soon overtake the percentage of consumer application efforts. While we must account for the fact that the study is focused on Appcelerator Titanium developers, the sample size of over 6,000 developers gives us a very reliable view of the priorities of the mobile software world.
A graph contained within the study captures the situation very well. Two trend lines show the share of developers expecting to work on business to customer (B2C) applications versus business to business (B2B) and business to employee (B2E). These lines are expected to cross in late-quarter 2013. In Q410, the B2C figure was at 70%. By Q213, it has fallen to 57.2%. The B2B/B2E number is now at 42.7%, and expected to top 60% by late 2013. We have effectively seen a complete reversal in the priorities of mobile developers within three short years.
Forbes has recently reported on the difficulty that developers are facing when trying to monetize apps for the consumer market. Deployment on the Apple Store, Google Play, and Windows Phone for the casual install base is likely to earn developers only pennies per download. Now that enterprise has realized the massive efficiency gains that come with well-integrated mobile strategies, they need dozens and perhaps hundreds of applications to carry out their operations. With real value being realized through these strategies, businesses are increasingly calling upon trusted IT partners to lend their skill to the effort.