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Should FM Companies Develop Mobile Apps In-House?

Should FM Companies Develop Mobile Apps In-House?
25 January 2021
 

Research shows that employee-facing mobile apps play a key role in facilities management firms’ enterprise mobility strategies, but more than 9 out of 10 FM companies lack the skills or resources to develop them in-house. 

In a report published by mobile data capture specialist WorkMobile, despite 100 per cent of FM businesses making use of the technology for their employees, 55 per cent of the sector’s IT teams don’t have the time or capacity to develop their own apps.

Another 18 per cent do not have the coding skills and expertise required to do so.

In an industry often criticised for its lack of uptake in the digital sphere, Is the ability to develop apps in-house a necessary function for FM businesses? 

 

“The past few months have also shown us that in order for businesses to succeed, agility is absolutely key. However, with so many teams facing such significant barriers to in-house app development, they could find themselves struggling more than necessary over the coming months to keep up with rapidly evolving business requirements.”

–Colin Yates

Chief Support Officer, WorkMobile

 

91% of Facilities Management Companies Facing “Fatal Barriers” to In-House App Development

 

Some argue that in-house app development is a cost-effective way for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to respond quickly to ever-changing external factors, and ensure employees always have the right tools to do their jobs.

Given the growing digital skills shortage, and the prevalence of apps in both our professional and personal lives, it is unsurprising that 40 per cent of FM CIOs have found it difficult to recruit employees with the right mobile development expertise.

Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of IT teams in the FM sector have experienced problems developing apps within a particular timeframe, while 29 per cent have had difficulties developing apps for a range of operating systems and devices. As a result, 82 per cent have been forced to abandon the development of an app before completion.

 

What About Outsourcing?

 

This begs the question, what, if any, is the problem with outsourcing app development? Many multinational facilities management companies manage app development with external partners, for example, Sodexo has partnered with Dynamify to deliver a mobile-first catering experience.

WorkMobile’s Colin Yates feels that given the crucial role that mobile solutions play in a successful enterprise mobility strategy, the report’s statistics are very concerning in the current climate. Particularly in light of the recent rise of remote working and social distancing.

He commented: “Even pre-pandemic, enabling remote working was the most common pressure CIOs faced from the rest of the C-suite, according to half of those surveyed. And with so many more people now working away from the office, that pressure is greater than ever.

“The past few months have also shown us that in order for businesses to succeed, agility is absolutely key. However, with so many teams facing such significant barriers to in-house app development, they could find themselves struggling more than necessary over the coming months to keep up with rapidly evolving business requirements.”

44 per cent of CIOs said that they believe no-coding mobile apps would reduce the workload for their team, a third think that they would enable their teams to implement mobile solutions more quickly, and 29 per cent expect they would find it easier to adhere to financial budgets.

Picture: a photograph of two workers in hi-visibility protective clothing, looking at a tablet

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 25 January 2021

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