If there isn’t an app for that—no matter what “that” is—there will be soon. That’s the obvious conclusion to a recent study by BZ Research, where fully 57.1% of organizations surveyed said they were building mobile apps today.

On top of that, another 13.2% said they would be within the next six months. In fact, only about one in seven respondents (13.7%) said they are not developing mobile apps and have no plans to do so within the next 18 months.

BZ Research is the research arm of BZ Media, which publishes SD Times. The study was conducted across a random selection of SD Times readers. As SD Times is not specifically focused on mobile development, the findings are broadly applicable to both enterprise and ISV developers in the U.S. and worldwide. The study is accurate to within 2 percentage points.

Both tablets and phones are popular with developers. Of those who said they are currently building mobile apps, 88.1% said they were targeting tablets, and 82.3% said they were targeting smartphone handsets. Embedded devices were being targeted by only 12.7% of developers, and book readers by 9.8%.

There was a statistical tie between the two most talked-about platforms. Of those developers building mobile apps, 63.9% said they were building for Android phones, and an essentially identical 63.6% said they were building for iPhone. Android and iOS tablets and Windows Phone were the next popular. More than one in five mobile developers are targeting RIM’s BlackBerry. Table 1 shows the full results of this question.

SD Times survey

Table 1

The biggest motivator for the surveyed audience was to offer mobile access to hosted online services. This was the business driver for 38.4% of respondents, followed by making money by selling apps directly to consumers (36.3%), being mobile to stay competitive (33.2%), and offering mobile versions of desktop software (32.9%). Only 8.7% said that making money from embedded mobile ads was a business driver. See Table 2.

SD Times Survey

Table 2

The biggest mobile development challenges facing survey recipients were three variations on the same theme: 46.0% said supporting multiple mobile platforms, 43.3% said cross-platform development, and 36.8% said supporting multiple platforms from a common codebase.

Beyond this issue, the top challenges were designing compelling experiences (34.9%); testing and quality assurance (33.3%); developing apps as quickly as management wants (32.8%); and integrating mobile apps with enterprise data systems (27.7%).

About Alan Zeichick

Alan Zeichick, founding editor of SD Times, is principal analyst of Camden Associates.