Enterprise mobile apps: 200,000 in stores, but only 14% address core enterprise needs

Following the successful adoption of customer-focused mobile applications, companies are increasingly deploying mobile apps to connect to partners and employees. Companies are mainly sourcing these apps through internal or external app development projects. Nonetheless, both established enterprise software vendors and emerging, mobile only vendors have been targeting this market segment by publishing “off the shelf” enterprise mobile apps and making them available on main public app stores. As a consequence, the number of enterprise-relevant apps has doubled from 100.000 to 200.000 over the past 12 months (Q1 2011 to Q1 2012), but as research2guidance has found only 14% of those address core enterprise needs.

The number of enterprise apps has doubled in the last year

“The “off-the-shelf” enterprise mobile apps can be primarily found within Business, Communications/Social Networking, Finance, News & Magazines, Productivity and Tools/Utilities categories” explaines Daiana Bassi analyst at research2guidance, also adding that “apps within those categories, which are present in all major app stores, vary widely in terms of addressing core enterprise needs and can include Dictaphone and CRM applications”.

Classification of enterprise apps

Despite this massive increase in “off the shelf” offerings, companies looking to source enterprise-relevant apps from public app stores will find the task of identifying high value apps extremely time consuming due to broad the range of functionality the aforementioned categories encompass.

If classified according to value provided to enterprises “off the shelf” apps can be grouped into four categories.

– Core enterprise apps (high value):

— Characterized by a complete lack of functionality for private consumers

— Not tied to a specific business

— Generally relates to core enterprise software functionality

— Example: SAP BusinessObjects Explorer

– Business Tools (medium value):

— Characterized by productivity-enhancing features

— Could be of use to both enterprises and private users

— Example: Documents To Go ® Premium Office Suite

– Business Contingent (low value):

— Not exclusively business focused but can provide solutions for specific businesses or business segments

— Reference (i.e. terminology, foreign language, etc.)

— Example: Business Terms Glossary

– Irrelevant/ Misplaced (no value):

— Of very little use to most enterprises/ businesses

— Mistakenly included in “Business” app category

— Example: Ringtones Uncensored Pro

Core enterprise apps, which provide enterprises with the highest value, account for only 14% of the total number of potentially enterprise-relevant apps.

Today’s enterprise apps are just the tip of the iceberg

“There will be definitely a market for mobilizing core enterprise functions like sales and services” states Ralf-Gordon Jahns research director at research2guidance. “What we see today is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be lot more innovations within the next 2-3 years” Traditional enterprise software vendors and emerging, mobile only vendors are trying to fill in this gap in the market. Both tackle the issue of enterprise mobility from different angles such as focusing on mobilizing existing software solutions or creating solutions around the capabilities of mobile devices. Given how young the market for enterprise mobility is, neither one approach nor one vendor has yet come to dominate the market.

More findings in the Enterprise Mobile App Market Status Report 2012

To have a deeper look into the enterprise mobile app market, including metrics and analysis on the status of enterprise mobility, please find our latest research report, The Enterprise Mobile App Market Status Report 2012.

What do you think? Will public app store become the main source for enterprise apps?