As the global mobile app market begins to swell, many consumer-focused developers inexperienced in the ways of enterprise development will soon follow the money to become better initiated, a new report out this month explained. Until then, the more mature types of development methods and tools that enterprise developers depend upon are still relatively scarce in the mobile app development community.
According to analysts with VisionMobile, which recently released its Developer Economics State of Nation Q3 report, mobile developers accounted for 12.6 percent of the global developer population in 2013, but the number of developers in these ranks is expected to grow to close to 5 million in the next three years. As things stand at the moment, more than two out of three mobile app developers currently target consumers. And even among those 27 percent who do focus on business users, 11 target individual business users—the independent BYOD early adopter type that many an IT department has struggled to keep up with.
That leaves just 16 percent of the mobile app developer population focused on the enterprise, with about half of them working in the enterprise environment and the other half in third-party or freelance situations.
Given those demographics, it is no surprise how few tools the entire class of mobile app coders uses during development. Currently, just 9 percent of these developers use any kind of automated app testing tools, only 16 percent use crash and performance monitoring tools, and just 21 percent use beta testing tools. Even the use of cloud computing tools lags, with just under 30 percent using services such as AWS or Heroku to aid their development.
It’s a perplexing problem, according to the report’s authors.
” Developer tools add value at every step of the developer journey from prototyping through to customer support,” the report stated. “It makes sense that hobbyists with no intention of making money from their apps would avoid tools that might incur costs at some point. However, 26% of developers that are interested in making money don’t use any third party tools.”
This could potentially change as the economic incentives for more mobile app developers to shift to the enterprise and business users push them to create the more dependable apps features that these users demand.
According to VisionMobile, overall the app economy stacked up to $53 billion in 2012, and its analysts predict 28 percent growth annually through 2016, when the market will reach $143 billion. Currently, the enterprise market leads the pack in terms of revenue generation opportunity, with developers focused on enterprise audiences far and away leading the pack in revenue from their apps, followed by those focused on individual professionals.
“Smartphones and tablets were introduced as consumer-first technologies, which led to developers initially building consumer apps. Now a growing number of enterprises are adopting mobile technology; this is all businesses, governmental and non-profit organizations, not just large corporations with IT departments,” the report said. “The platform owners are providing clear signs that there is much greater enterprise adoption and significant opportunities for developers to come.”
In an earlier report this year, VisionMobile predicted that the business and productivity market will double in size by 2016, reaching $58 billion by then.