Enterprise App Development: Where the Money Is


As a Developer Evangelist for BlackBerry, I have been engaging developers for the better part of two years describing the ways to achieve success in this competitive mobile app landscape. Time and time again, I hear the same feedback from developers: it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a sustainable profit developing mobile apps.

The reasons, in hindsight, are obvious: app counts are literally in the millions. Each additional app created makes it more difficult for your app to get noticed in the crowded mobile app storefronts, and marketing costs money. The increased competition drives down the amount you can charge for an app (if anything). Also, the barrier to entry into these storefronts is quite low, allowing anyone with skills in software development to get into the game.

Across the various events I attend, I have also seen a new trend: a subset of developers achieving success by targeting the Enterprise. This makes sense for multiple reasons: the competition isn’t as high; enterprises are willing to pay significantly for third-party solutions that increase productivity and efficiency; enterprise needs vary drastically from company to company; and enterprises are finally starting to emerge from the previous challenges of BYOD and MDM with a hunger for applications to mobilize their employee base.

The main issue here has been that the percentage of mobile application developers tapping into this potential is quite small. Everywhere I went, I found that the majority of developers target the crowded consumer market. My message started to shift to promote targeting the Enterprise audience when developing for mobile, but I didn’t have the stats to back me up.

Enter VisionMobile. Just a few days ago, VisionMobile released their latest version of the Developer Economics report (http://www.developereconomics.com/reports/developer-economics-q3-2014/).
It is the leading research platform on mobile developers and the app economy, and the data in this release could not support the Enterprise message any better.

The stats show that you have a better chance of developing a more lucrative app in the mobile space if you’re targeting the Enterprise audience. The developers targeting the Enterprise are twice as likely to earn $5k or more per app per month, and three times as likely to earn more than $25k (page 20, Economics report). They also have better chances of landing in the $500-5,000 range, and a lesser chance of being below the “app poverty line” of less than $500 per app per month.

Vision Mobile Enterprise 1

The message is clear, and now the data supports it: Enterprise apps make money! The surprising stat is that in light of all of this, only 16% of mobile developers are creating apps targeting Enterprises, with the remaining 84% targeting consumers or professionals directly.

Vision Mobile Enterprise 2

So, VisionMobile says it best when they say Enterprise apps are the next gold rush. It’s time to tap into that potential! Reach out to medium-sized and large organizations and learn about their pain points; brainstorm ways to enhance the experience of a mobile workforce; and most of all, ensure you create cross-platform solutions to expand your customer reach and ensure a seamless experience.

The time to start thinking Enterprise is now… for your wallet’s sake.

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