Enterprise Apps? Part 1 of 3

One has heard of social apps or mobile apps.  The word “app” generally implies a small, quick and easy to install application having very specific or limited functionality – bordering  on being almost but a little more than a widget. We have seen a prolific growth in the number of apps we can download and use. The enterprise space has by and large remained away from these developments so far. This blog explores how progressive and dynamic enterprise application developers will leverage apps.

Long Tail of Apps

Dion Hichcliff had predicted in 2006 that “the power of the The Long Tail might be set free and make real market dominance no longer possible.”

This prediction was again revisited by a blog by Kirix (www.kirix.com) in 2008 when mashups seemed to have the potential to fulfill the pent-up demand for small apps customized to specific individual needs.

Its time to revisit this as we seem to be closer to seeing this long tail of demand opening up – thanks to mobile apps.

In 2011 for example, there were 31 billion total consumer app downloads. That number is projected to increase to 66 billion by the year 2016, representing an estimated $51.7 billion industry.

Recently we have been talking to a number of enterprise software companies who are actively looking at “Mobile enabling” their applications. They are equally enthusiastic about providing  “social” interactive interfaces by having lightweight apps weaving their enterprise back-ends into the social fabric. We are seeing individual employees downloading and using some of these apps – each one costing less than $100 and many of them using the freemium model. I use QuickOffice, DropBox, Yammer, LookUp, Bump etc. primarily for business. There are already a few hundred apps classified as business apps in Appstore and an equal number on Android Market. We are surely going to see companies spending more on millions of these apps downloaded by their employees going forward. May be one day not too far in the future we will see this long tail of money spent on apps exceeding the head consisting of money spent on mainstream enterprise software.

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