I saw a study a few weeks back that stated 60% of independent app developers are enterprise developers in the day and app developers by night and weekend. While this sounds right from a pure numbers perspective, it got me thinking about how the BYOD (bring your own device) trend in the enterprise may be impacting the types of apps independent developers may be writing. (Stay with me on this one).
in my day job, as I mentioned before, I work for IBM and we have a very strong BYOD program, to the point that many develops are not only bringing in their own mobile devices, but their own laptops so they can be as productive as possible. Years ago it used to be that your best computer was at work, they could afford the expensive ones. At home you got a good enough computer. Now computers are much cheaper, and finance is always looking to extend the accounting life of corporate assets that it may be 4 or more years before you can upgrade your machine at work. So the best deal is buy your own, get what you need, and customize it so you are as comfortable and productive as possible. This same trend has happened with smart phones and will happen for tablets.
So if your development environment is becoming more and more personal, and since many of us write our first mobile app, as something useful we want that doesn’t exist, are we finding more and more mobile apps that bridge the personal and enterprise workspace? I suggest that this is exactly what is happening. And this is of some concern for corporate types, since as you start sharing apps between your day job and your personal life, you have the possibility of sharing data between them too. And with more and more features of mobile device and apps being enabled via shared cloud storage – this is where companies like IBM get concerned about data ending up on servers that can be seen by other companies.
So, the challenge is, how do you create apps in this environment that provide you and your users with as many useful features as possible, without getting banned from an enterprise environment? Do you create two versions of your app? One that uses cloud services, and the other that can use an on premise server for those enterprises willing to buy it? Or do you just shy away from apps that could have a valid enterprise use? Or do you offering some kind of in app encryption so that cloud based data can only be accessed by your app?
I believe this challenge is only going to get more difficult before it is resolved. What are your thoughts?