#DIF13 – 50pc of businesses will have their own app stores by 2020, says Gartner VP

19 Apr 2013

Paolo Malinverno, Research VP, Gartner, delivers his keynote address at the Digital Ireland Forum in the Convention Centre Dublin. Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

In five years’ time, at least half of most enterprises will have their own app store to host the firms’ apps, as well as apps created by workers themselves to get the job done better. That’s the view of Gartner Research VP Paolo Malinverno, who made the forecast at this morning’s Digital Ireland Forum in Dublin.

He said future workplace apps will be driven by the nexus of four forces: mobile, the cloud, information technology and social networking.

“Everything that will happen in IT will be in that nexus and the consequence of these forces working their way into everyday life.”

Malinverno, a 30-year IT veteran, said that when he began his career there was only one programming language. But today’s digital natives were born after the internet into a world already familiar with mobile devices. “We are not digital natives. Compared with them, we are immigrants.”

He told this morning’s Digital Ireland Forum that the average worker in 2020 will bring his or her own tablet device to work rather than some device that is provided for him or her.

He predicted that by 2020, most workers will be bringing in their own ensemble of devices of choice that they use in their personal as well as digital lives.

“Corporate apps today don’t really cut it for the real needs of the users. Already we are seeing a trend where users are using their own choice of apps to get jobs done faster. The workers of tomorrow will work across several personal devices, whether it starts with a smartphone in the morning or on a tablet on the train, and they will expect to continue working on their documents when they arrive at work.”

Malinverno said that this spells significant challenge for CIOs and IT managers to ensure that not only can the workers’ personal devices work with the existing IT systems, but that the documents workers access while mobile aren’t likely to lead to data leakage.

“In five years’ time, at least half of enterprises will have their own app store. People will be able to choose and they will take or leave whatever apps they want to work with.”

He said the job of the CIO will be less about provisioning workers with devices but ensuring workers have what they need in terms of the apps to do the job.

Malinverno said apps will increasingly be constructed to suit different devices, and workers will learn to be comfortable to work within the constraints of what’s possible across different displays.

“The average time people spend on smartphone apps is three minutes and the average time spent on a tablet computer is 12 minutes,” he said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years