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‘Extreme pressure’ is pushing enterprise to deploy hybrid mobile apps

by Doug Drinkwater

February 5 2013

Enterprise will look to hybrid apps as a way to support devices on all operating systems, says Gartner
Enterprise will look to hybrid apps as a way to support devices on all operating systems, says Gartner

A new study reveals that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend will force enterprise to consider hybrid HTML5 apps in the future, and details how the trend will continue to be better news for Apple than it is for Microsoft.

In a new report, research firm Gartner says that enterprise is now under “extreme pressure from management and employees” to develop and deploy mobile apps which not only help make employees more productive but which also improve customer engagement.

As a result, the company expects larger companies to increasingly consider hybrid apps which offer device interoperability (through HTML5) and native features, such as the ability to access location or bring up a notifications system, and reckons that over half of all deployed applications will be hybrid by 2016.

The main benefit of these hybrid apps appears to be the need for companies to support as many operating systems as possible, with Gartner putting this down to the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

"Increasingly, enterprises are finding that they need to support multiple platforms, especially as the bring your own device trend gains momentum,” said Gartner VP and distinguished analyst Ken Dulaney.

[BYOD strategies will be the focus of a major session at the Tablet Strategy West conference, February 20].

“Our advice would be to assume the enterprise will have to manage a large and diverse set of mobile applications that will span all major architectures,” added Van Baker, a research VP at the company.

Baker went onto urge enterprise to in particular consider how they can develop native, hybrid and web applications from the same code base, a process which would most likely save time and considerable development costs.

Gartner’s report also noted the rise of Apple devices in enterprise and said that the Cupertino giant will grow to a point where by in 2014, it will be as accepted by IT departments as Microsoft is today.

That is where the comparison between the two companies ends however, with Gartner observing that Apple can expect to gain further traction in this space thanks to the consumerization of IT.

"Although Apple's iPhone and iPads are already as accepted by enterprise IT as is Microsoft, Apple's Mac systems for laptops and desktops remain not commonly accepted by IT," said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

"Going forward, Apple will continue to benefit from consumerization and will continue to evolve Macs to take on more iOS characteristics, which will contribute to acceptance of Macs in the enterprise. As such, enterprise acceptance of Apple will continue to be driven by consumer demand."

In contrast, Gartner was somewhat less optimistic on the chances of Windows 8 and Windows Phone in this regard, although the research firm does expect both platforms to gain "some acceptance" going forward.

However, whereas Apple's success owes more to consumer acceptance, Gartner believes that Microsoft will get more traction from its close ties with enterprise and its ability to manage different devices in enterprise. 

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