Integralis has announced the findings of new research into enterprise use of business applications (apps) on mobile devices. According to the research among 300+ UK IT decision makers in enterprises, over three-quarters (76%) plan to adopt mobile business apps in the next 12 months, but security, potential loss of data and compliance remain key concerns about business application implementation. 

Over half (58%) expect to adopt personal information management apps

The trend towards mobile devices within the workplace moves on a pace with over half (58%) expecting to adopt Personal Information Management applications, such as email, calendars and contacts in the next twelve months. Communication apps, such as Webex Skype and iCloud are likely to be adopted by 44%, with 39% of respondents planning to offer access to internal apps for functions such as updating leave calendars. Collaboration tools, such as Dropbox and Sharepoint will be deployed by just over a third (35%).

Beyond syncing calendars, communicating and collaborating, core mobile business applications offer the potential to transform the way businesses operate. In the coming 12 months, 30% of respondents expect to purchase core mobile business applications. This is a trend that is likely to increase significantly as organisations realise the benefits and are reassured of the security of BYOD and mobile applications.

The 25-44 years age group is much keener than those 45 years and older to embrace the opportunities presented by mobile business applications but will need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions. Commenting on this, Neal Lillywhite, Managing Director, UK at Integralis, said: “It is important that we are educating and training the next generation of CIOs and CISOs, so that they have the skills and understanding to fully exploit the advances in mobile technology and to adopt new working practices securely.”

28% of companies do not allow mobile business applications

Despite the potential gains in productivity, flexibility and efficiency offered by mobile business applications, over a quarter of organisations (28%) still do not allow them to be downloaded to mobile devices. “This could be that the case has yet to be proven or that the organisation is still to implement a secure mobile device management strategy.

A surprising 13% of respondents have no policies in place or enforced around mobile business applications being downloaded and used by employees, leaving them vulnerable to breaches, data loss, cybercrime and regulatory admonishment,” said Alastair Broom, Product Marketing Director Integralis.

Managing security and data protection and compliance top concerns

Over half (54%) cite managing security and 44% highlight data protection and compliance as their key concerns around the increasing use of mobile business applications. Coupled with these specific concerns, IT decision makers are also worried about how to finance these changes (34%) and also the potential strain on current IT resources (29%).

Senior executives are not driving the uptake of mobile business apps

Contrary to the popular view of the CEO or senior executives wanting to use their new iPads for work, they are not the driving force behind mobile business apps – it is actually the IT department (51%).

Off-the-shelf mobile business applications will be in demand

The research findings suggest that companies will be looking to third parties to develop the next generation of off-the-shelf (40%) and bespoke (37%) mobile business applications over the next 12 months. Nearly a third (32%) of organisations are planning to develop bespoke business apps internally. Given the priority placed on security and compliance, application developers will need to have the skills and expertise to build security into their applications.

“Our research findings demonstrate the continuing trend towards BYOD adoption and the demand for the development of mobile business applications. It also highlights that security and compliance continue to be at the forefront of concerns about employee-owned/shared devices. For companies to be able to exploit the potential benefits of collaborative and remote working, these concerns have to be addressed,” added Alastair Broom, Product Marketing Director, Integralis.

Bob Tarzey, Service Director at industry analyst firm, Quocirca, added: “Consumerisation of IT cannot be ignored; it is a fact of life that all businesses must face up to. Enable it and, ultimately, your business will benefit with a more motivated and flexible workforce using devices they have chosen for themselves because of the productivity they enable. Providing employees with a simple secure way to access the company network is a key factor which will enable employers to embrace mobile working and BYOD.”