mobile computingWhen it comes to building and deploying mobile computing applications, most internal IT organizations are severely challenged. That’s becoming a major problem because custom mobile applications are at the forefront of any digital business initiative.

In fact, a new survey published today by Kony, a provider of tools for building mobile applications, finds that 65 percent of more than 1,000 line-of-business executives surveyed say they are not completely satisfied with their IT department’s management of the user experience of the mobile applications built and deployed by their internal IT team. Only one in five of the business leaders feel that working with their in-house IT department is the best solution to develop their applications.

Mobile application challenges

Because of that concern, most organizations turn to digital marketing agencies to build their applications. A full 73 percent of respondents rely on external providers to manage mobile application development. That may not seem like a problem except 43 percent cited higher-than-expected costs to develop the application; 41 percent cited higher-than-expected costs to maintain the application; and 39 percent cited lack of customizable options as a key challenge.

The real issue is that all too often when an organization wants to make a change to the application they usually need to invoke the services of the digital agency that built it. Normally, that cost issue would push mobile application development back in house. But, issues such as lack of skilled staff (42 percent); limited IT budget (40 percent); and security (37 percent) are all cited in the survey as reasons why this doesn’t occur.

MSP opportunities

In all that dysfunction lies an opportunity for managed service providers that goes well beyond merely managing the devices these applications run on. Most IT organizations are looking for an external service provider to manage the entire application experience. In some cases, they’re asking the digital agency that created the application to provide that service. Often that digital agency will then subcontract the management of the application to an MSP. But that doesn’t really solve their cost issue.

Most organizations would prefer an MSP that can work interactively with them to build, deploy, and manage a fleet of mobile applications in a way that doesn’t make them pay for every update that gets added to the application. In effect, they want to work with MSPs willing come up with new terms and conditions that better reflect their digital business reality.

Most of the interactions an organization has with digital agencies today are based on a business model that is a holdover from the development of static Web applications. That may be more profitable for the digital agency, but over the long term it ends up limiting the number of mobile computing applications an organization is willing to build and deploy.

Not every MSP will be able to provide that level of application experience. But in a world where just about every application being created is being optimized for a mobile experience rather than desktop experience, most MSPs will need to raise the level of their mobile computing game.

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Photo: everything possible/Shutterstock

Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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