Kathy Gibson reports from Gartner Symposium in Cape Town – The mobile revolution is well underway, but IT organisations and software vendors alike have failed to deliver the solutions that will take advantage of the proliferation of devices in workers’ hands.

David Willis, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, believes the major software vendors – despite many of them having a policy of cloud-first, mobile-first computing – have largely failed to deliver mobile applications for businesses.

“The typical software organisation has developed fewer than 10 apps,” he says. “Contrast that with the fact that they have hundreds of traditional IT applications.

“Not only that, but each app has only a very small subset of the functionality of the PC-delivered application. So they are delivering a lot less of the functionality of before.

“So the big vendors have failed.”

To a large extent, the IT organisation has also failed to keep pace with the mobile revolution, Willis adds.

This is largely because IT is still battling to transition its skills base. “We have to close the skills gap in IT,” he says.

“IT wants to deliver mobile applications but have lacked the skills because they have built skills for a different era – and users are in a different place.”

This is why Gartner is pushing the concept of bimodal IT, where the IT organisation can develop the new apps that business needs, while managing mode 1 IT at the same time.

Businesses themselves are starting to fill the gap. “Many organisations have business users who want to deliver apps themselves,” Willis says.

They are being enabled by a new category of rapid development tools coming on to the market that allow business users to deliver the apps they need on their own.

Another good sign, he says is Microsoft’s acquisition of Xamaron. This will give developers who are familiar with Visual Studio and the Microsoft toolbench to develop apps not just for Windows devices but also Android and iOS.

“This is part of Microsoft recognising that they are not going to own the device, but help users to develop the solution.”