Accelerating Enterprise Adoption of the Mobile Cloud

June 13, 2011 Mark Tognetti

Mark Tognetti and Kevin Dodson

Today, Appirio’s mobile cloud practice is excited to announce our Mobile App Dev framework for Force.com and iOS, and we wanted to use the occasion to explain why we (and more importantly, our customers) see so much potential in the mobile cloud.

To gain insight into this important topic, we partnered with TechValidate to independently survey our customer base on their plans for mobile cloud adoption. The results are still coming in but the first wave of responses are clear: the potential for the mobile cloud in the enterprise is enormous. Convenient access to information is the main benefit our customers expect, but that’s just the beginning:

  • 56% say mobile apps will provide real-time visibility into the business
  • 46% say mobile apps will help employees make better decisions on the go
  • And most of exciting of all: 44% say that mobile apps will help enable entire new business processes. (Results here)

Enabling new business processes is certainly the main benefit at our customer RehabCare (recently acquired by Kindred Healthcare). The deployment of 10,000 cloud-powered mobile devices to their national network of therapists has meant “nothing less than the transformation of our business,” according to former CIO Dick Escue. (Check out Apple’s case study on Rehabcare’s success here.)

Other customers agree: according to TechValidate, one Global 500 retail customer of ours estimates that mobile apps will make their field service employees 25-50% more productive. That type of productivity improvement drops straight to the bottom line.

The benefits are there but right now, two thirds of our customers aren’t doing ANY mobile cloud development — they’re either using out-of-the-box mobile apps from their enterprise application vendors, or are still figuring out their approach. What’s holding these enterprise’s back? 33% of them cite lack of internal resources. The fact is that today, enterprise application development is expensive, time consuming, and requires specialized resources that are in short supply due to the booming marketing for consumer apps.

That’s why we’re so excited about our new Mobile Application Development Framework for iOS and Force.com — it makes opens up the world of enterprise mobile apps to enterprise developers without any iOS experience. The framework consists of generic app components and management capabilities, all running on Salesforce’s database.com. Our developers have built app templates using this framework to support the type of simple mobile apps that enterprises need to keep their employees productive — survey apps, search/display apps, hotspot apps, and mapping apps for example. Our cloud consultants have already created dozens of native iOS apps using these templates — it’s as simple as configuring Force.com. And these apps can be changed just as quickly, without any re-deploying. This is a great step forward in bringing the power of a cloud platform closer to mobile application development.

Here’s a 5 minute overview, with examples of the type of apps that we’ve created already. But this is just the beginning. We’re planning to open up the framework to the 10,000 independent cloud developers on CloudSpokes, and can’t wait to see the sort of innovation that will come from the broader cloud community.

But most of all, we look forward to reporting back when the vast majority of our customers are using their own enterprise mobile cloud apps to fully support how their people work. We have our work cut out for us…

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