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The good news is that a majority of enterprises offer their users mobile apps. The bad news is that a significant number of those organizations are dragging their feet in a market characterized by its brisk pace of innovation.
After surveying 163 IT and business leaders across the globe, Gartner discovered that 25 percent of enterprises hadn't virtualized, built or customized a mobile app in the past 12 months. That figure is lower than last year's findings (39 percent), but still high enough to cause concern.
Adrian Leow, a Gartner research director, raised the specter of shadow IT at enterprises that can't keep up with demand for mobile apps in the workplace.
As the term suggests, shadow IT is often used to describe the unauthorized act of circumventing an enterprise IT department to access applications and infrastructure. The advent of cloud services and mobile applications has made this practice disturbingly common, to the dismay of technology executives and managers who are charged with their organization's data security and compliance.
"Many IT teams will have significant backlogs of application work that need completing, which increases the risk of lines of business going around IT to get what they want sooner," said Leow in a statement. "Development teams need to rethink their priorities and span of control over mobile app development or risk further erosion of IT budgets and the perceived value of IT development."
On average, organizations that have jumped on the mobile app development bandwagon have released eight apps, on par with last year's results. Over the next twelve months, these enterprises are developing 2.6 mobile apps and have 6.2 apps in the planning stage, on average.
Leow noted that much of this effort isn't being expended on native apps.
"It's encouraging to see significant growth in the number of mobile apps that are planned, but most of this growth is in mobile web apps as opposed to native or hybrid mobile apps," added Leow. "This indicates that some enterprises may be frustrated with developing mobile apps and are instead refocusing on responsive websites to address their mobile needs."
Gartner's survey also revealed that a slight majority of businesses appear to be gearing up for the AI-enhanced future.
More than half (52 percent) of all respondents said they had begun to at least explore the role of in virtual assistants, bots or chatbots in their mobile app projects. Leow acknowledges that this finding may be colored by the hype surrounding them, nonetheless "it's still good to see that enterprises have begun to consider these technologies, because they will grow in importance relatively rapidly."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.