According to a recent study commissioned by Red Hat, the perception on what drives decision-making when it comes to mobile application development is changing. Although a plurality of respondents feel that IT drives such decisions currently, they feel this will eventually change so that more decisions are being driven by business needs.
Anyone who has worked in a corporate IT environment is aware of the conflict between IT and other departments. The non-IT people have a tendency to think that IT loves all things high-tech and expects the corporate bean counters to loosen the purse strings accordingly, even if the costs are not a core part of business functions.
IT departments on the other hand, tend to justify such expenses on the grounds that they increase productivity. The end result is budgetary tug-of-war, and which side prevails often has more to do with company politics than the merits of either side’s argument.
It appears that Red Hat considered this IT-versus-everyone-else mindset when it commissioned the study, which was split into two parts. In one part, IT decision makers were polled, while the other part polled line of business (LOB) management; pretty much the non-IT departments in a business, but not necessarily 100 percent of the time.
Thirty-eight percent of LOB respondents felt that mobile app development is currently driven by IT, while only 24 percent feel that business needs drive it. Apparently this group of respondents sees a change in culture on the horizon: 36 percent opined that in two years, business needs will drive mobile app development.
There’s almost no need to go into great detail about the influence of mobile technology and the decline of traditional desktop computing. BYOD and telecommuting are fait accompli and all anyone has to do to appreciate the influence of mobile technology is go to any public location and people watch. If you don’t see someone with a smartphone within a minute or two, you’ve probably gone back in time.
A 2014 survey by Azzurri Communications found that mobile applications used for email, file sharing, and CRM had a significantly positive effect on employee productivity. These apps help the bottom line and any mobile app development that creates equally productive results should not be dismissed without consideration by any LOB management.
IT departments need to realize that with few exceptions, their function is usually overhead to the company. If there is not a compelling business reason for buying or developing something, then it should not be approved.
The Red Hat survey reflects the reality that accompanies most technologies that mature. Initially, there is a lot of excitement, but eventually this wears off and companies have to decide if it makes good business sense to implement a given solution. Nothing is immune from this process.
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