2012 Prediction: The number of mobile applications offered by companies will increase by a factor of 10 in the year 2012!
Fact: Mobile application development is growing at an unprecedented rate. According to data collected by Mobilewalla, the number of applications available across all four major smartphone platforms (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows), as of December 5, 2011, is at 987,863. Think about that – almost 1 million applications, with an estimate of 2,000 applications being released on a daily basis!
The phrase “there’s an app for that” no longer applies only to applications developed by entrepreneurs looking to make a quick buck. It is no longer just “pull” marketing, where an individual goes to an online store and downloads an app for their mobile device. It now is “push” marketing, where companies offer mobile applications, whether native to the device or used via a web browser, that serve as another way to “touch” a customer.
Let’s face it: mobile “business” is here now. Companies are developing apps for mobile devices, with the hopes of squeaking more revenue out of their installed base of customers or delighting new customers who typically didn’t do business with them via conventional means.
Some examples of companies embracing mobile applications and the resulting revenue boost include Intercontinental, which books $10M in hotel rooms monthly from consumers on mobile devices and eBay, which conducts $4B in transactions on mobile devices.
I receive these e-mails on an almost daily basis: “Download our free app for your Android, iPhone, or iPad!” In fact, I took a quick look in my personal e-mail and counted a total of 32 such “invitations” in the past several months – from the likes of Peapod, Disney Interactive, and Vanguard.
Corporations are jumping on the bandwagon – and for a reason. Mobile applications are now considered, in the eyes of CEOs, the main driver of revenue for companies in the 21st century. According to Forrester Research, businesses see mobile as an opportunity to drive innovation across a wide range of business processes. In fact, Gartner predicts that, by 2014, 90 percent of all corporations will support applications on personal devices.
Being an analytical person by nature, I scoured the Internet looking for a stat on the number of mobile applications offered by public companies - but I came up empty-handed. If you know of a source that tracks this, I’d like to know what they say is the current number, so that I can check my prediction a year from now!
In closing, I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts. Once companies start to deploy mobile applications, inevitably, questions will arise: How will IT manage the application? Will your users have a good mobile experience? And, how do you ensure transaction success? While IT organizations are often able to monitor and manage their traditional IT environments effectively, the solutions they are using may not be adequate for the new complexity that mobility brings.
In order to continue to offer the same or higher quality of service IT will need an approach to monitoring the end to end health of the mobile business services – from the application through the device, carriers and back end infrastructure. All of these elements can have an impact on the mobile end user experience, and the business and IT will definitely want to know about problems before reading about them on Twitter or Facebook or somewhere else on-line. Perhaps topics for future blog posts …
Sonja Hickey is Product Marketing Manager for Business Service Management, HP Software.