Executives believe mobile apps are critical to their business but widespread adoption of apps within the enterprise has yet to occur, according to an Accenture survey of 2,000 executives in nine industries and 15 countries.
Some 87 per cent of executives said apps are necessary to fully realise the benefits of digital technologies, while 82 per cent think enterprise mobile apps are an integral part of their organisation and key to unlocking vital data from across their business.
The study also predicts that apps will grow in importance over time and, according to 85 percent of survey participants, will be the dominant interface of the future.
Executives also agree on the need for mobile apps to enhance customer engagement, with 87 percent stating there is high demand among customers for effective mobile apps that can help them access the company’s services.
But less than half of respondents are taking advantage of apps to improve business efficiency. Only 46 per cent reported using productivity apps, and just 44 per cent are using apps as a channel for sales, customer service or information.
From an industry perspective, there was only a slight gap between executives representing retailers and utilities, who were the most enthusiastic about the role of apps, and those in the energy industry, of whom 80 percent agreed apps are necessary (click image to enlarge).
Geographically, there was a slightly broader divide, but one that still demonstrates a majority of support for apps. Almost all executives in China were supportive, while in last-placed Australia just over three quarters agreed on the importance of apps (click to enlarge).
However, app adoption is not without challenges.
For starts, of the ten types of apps asked about in the survey, none was in use by a majority of executives (click to enlarge).
Consistent with their enthusiasm for mobile apps, executives in China were much more likely than their counterparts in other countries to say their companies are currently using the full range of app types asked about.
At the other end of the spectrum was France, where executives were least likely to say they had deployed these apps.
One possible reason apps aren’t more pervasive in enterprise is that many companies have yet to put in place measures that facilitate successful adoption.
According to executives, the crucial steps for greater uptake of consumer-facing and enterprise apps are reliable and consistent performance, security of enterprise data used or accessed and a positive user experience (click to enlarge).
However, only 52 per cent said their companies have a comprehensive testing programme before launch that includes real user feedback to help ensure apps work reliably and consistently.
As with digital technologies in general, security remains an overriding concern. Also seen as challenges were performance issues like crashes and bugs; operational issues; the fragmented nature of mobile (multiple device types); and integration issues with back-end systems.
The report also claims one of its “most interesting findings” is the correlation between a company’s profitability (relative to competitors in its industry) and its approach to, and perspectives on, mobile apps.
It found that companies who said they had better profitability were more likely to use all of the types of mobile apps asked about, as well as all of the post-implementation app services covered in the survey, especially, quality assurance testing and bug fixing/tracking.
While these results do not establish causality, they do suggest that there is a link between a more positive, comprehensive approach toward mobile apps and more profitable operations, the report concludes.