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The majority of businesses are being forced to turn to outside help, rather than their own IT departments, for their mobile application needs, new research shows.
A study from IT staffing and services firm TEKsystems discovered that more than 40 percent of businesses struggle with finding and attracting the talent and skills required to handle mobility projects in-house. As a result, almost two-thirds of those surveyed are likely to partner with a mobility vendor.
One big problem businesses face is finding IT employees who are capable of building mobile apps on smartphones and tablets, for both Apple and Android, each of which requires a different skill set. Nearly half of the companies surveyed said supporting the full range of popular mobile platforms is the most daunting aspect of mobile application development.
"Keeping pace with mobile technologies requires organizations to have various skill sets outside of traditional enterprise IT, which many organizations do not already have," said Sam Malek, application development practice director for TEKsystems. "Often, going outside of the organization provides the biggest bang for the buck because vendors with dedicated mobility practices can deliver the full suite of required talent and services."
Among the businesses that do outsource their mobile application projects, three-quarters think developing and testing of mobile applications across different platforms, screen sizes and versions is among the most important aspects of mobile application development. In addition, 38 percent are concerned about getting the user interface and user experience right.
The study found that nearly 60 percent of companies expect their mobile app vendor to provide an innovative solution to their needs, including delivery models, tools and best practices, while 81 percent believe that it is important for their mobile vendor to handle the app's end-to-end security requirements.
Not everyone who has worked with an outside vendor has come away happy. More than 60 percent of those surveyed are looking for a better experience from their mobile vendors, with 26 percent feeling their projects have been put at risk due to their vendors' unqualified resources and skill sets.
"Vendors offering mobility as a dedicated practice increase their appeal to potential clients by demonstrating that they have a specialized staff that is familiar with the tools, frameworks and unique skills required to deliver effective mobile applications across a number of mobile platforms," Malek said. "From there, it’s critical to maintain a close relationship with the client so that they can course correct as necessary throughout the development process and deliver a final product that is satisfying for all involved."
Overall, the research shows that most businesses have yet to develop the mature strategies necessary to successfully implement mobile technology within their organizations. Forty percent of the IT and business leaders surveyed said their organization had a weak mobility strategy.
Illustrating an absence of an enterprise-wide approach to developing in-house expertise and best practices, more than 80 percent of those surveyed said their companies do not have a mobility center of excellence (COE) designed to address the unique, rapidly evolving mobile environment.
The study was based on surveys of 232 IT and business leaders.