Ian Finley, vice president of research at Gartner, says that the types of enterprise software that translate well to the mobile world generally fit into one of three buckets: dedicated apps, traditional desktop software and customer-facing apps.
The first bucket includes some apps that have been around for a while in organizations and that have been running on a dedicated mobile device including field service, sales and, in the case of a utility company's telephone poles, asset management.
The second category is everything that can be found on a desktop "because people don't spend all day at their desk," Finley explains. The classic example is the manager who wants to be able to do approvals while on the road for purchase orders or work orders, Finley says. Business intelligence also fits into the second category.
The third category is customer-facing apps to serve people who are spending more and more time on their mobile devices.
In addition to mobile-app activity, some companies already see 25% of the traffic to their site coming from mobile devices, Finley explains. "Those websites weren't built necessarily for mobile devices and may look and act awful crammed down on a small screen."
So companies are investing in building additional sites or rebuilding their existing customer-facing sites, he says. The driving force here tends to be the marketing organization, which sees that some or many of its competitors have a mobile site and says, "We need to be there. We can't afford not to be there."
-- Esther Shein