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What can IT expect from the post-app era?

The post-app era doesn't mean apps are going away; on the contrary, mobile apps are simply evolving to perform more than one function. The shift should be on IT's radar.

Mobile applications are morphing beyond single-purpose apps to perform a variety of functions, causing many organizations to rethink the types of apps they should develop.

Gartner has labeled this shift the "post-app era." Despite its connotation, the term doesn't signal the end of applications but rather defines a temporal change in the way users interact with apps. The post-app era calls for a better user experience outside of the app; in other words, the app experience continues on the mobile device whether the user is currently in the app or not, with features such as push notifications or alerts that the user will see without needing to open the app.

So, what does the post-app era mean for IT? As developers focus on creating more immersive apps that improve user experience, IT departments must find a more integrated capability for managing enterprise mobile devices.

Rather than a unique system to manage and secure mobile devices and apps, IT will need a unified endpoint management capability in the post-app era. Organizations will either upgrade current mobile management tools, which most enterprise mobility management vendors offer, or utilize existing PC and server tools and ultimately eliminate unique EMM deployments.

Developers will build most apps using cross-platform tools and techniques, rather than targeting them specifically toward mobile devices. Because of that, organizations will no longer have to cope with developing resources for mobile devices alone; this change will create a more cost-effective and efficient operation.

The post-app era will see mobile devices with more mainstream app capabilities, especially as companies and consumers move to a cloud-based world. There will be a substantial increase in available apps without the current backlog due to lack of app transformation resources.

Decoding user expectations

Organizations will no longer have to cope with developing resources for mobile devices alone.

In the post-app era, users will increasingly expect their client of choice to be a fully integrated citizen in the corporate ecosystem. They also will not accept having a single-purpose device with limited app selection or capabilities. IT will no longer have a mobile group and a separate PC group but will instead have a client group responsible for all deployment, management and security of user environments.

IT should expect all of the primary vendors of enterprise mobile apps to provide any new versions of their products in cross-platform-capable versions. The apps will be fully compatible with and capable of running on any client platform. The post-app era brings with it a more "universal" model of licensing apps that is less dependent on the device being used and more dependent on capabilities and functions deployed. IT must work with vendors to understand the coming capabilities going forward in the post-app era.

Competitive advantages of mobile apps for customers, employees

Mobile apps are not disappearing, but mobility's move into the mainstream gives the technology a much wider focus. IT admins must update their mobile strategies in the post-app era, just as they did when client-server networks -- web-based or browser-based systems that many apps now use for delivery -- became common throughout organizations.

The post-app era could give organizations an opportunity to grow a better mobile presence, if they focus on developing and deploying apps that deliver the best possible user experience. Ultimately, it could also make for a more streamlined EMM system for IT, saving enterprises time and money.

Next Steps

Why cross-platform is vital for mobile app development

Mobile app development looks to user experience for future

How IT can develop and deploy its own mobile applications

This was last published in September 2017

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