Survey Says: Prepackaged Mobile Apps Beat Custom Solutions

Sep 24, 2015

When a company decides to deploy a mobile business application, one of the first walls they run into is the “build or buy?” decision. 

For many years, while very large enterprises could afford to build their own customized mobile apps, most small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) did not have the resources to do the same. In a number of industries, this put the SMB segment at a tremendous competitive disadvantage.

The ability to now purchase a prepackaged mobile application – whether it’s a 100% out-of-the-box solution or an app that’s 70-80% complete and just needs fine-tuning – has democratized today’s mobilization effort, allowing smaller, more resource-constrained businesses to mobilize in an affordable and timely manner.

The responses to this year’s Frost & Sullivan survey of North American mobile and wireless decision-makers reinforce this point – and reveal a couple of preferences that might be surprising:

  • Prepackaged mobile business apps are preferred by the vast majority of today’s businesses.  In the SMB sector (<500 employees), 82% of respondents prefer to deploy prepackaged solutions.  What’s interesting is that an even higher percentage of Enterprises – 88% -- also prefer the prepackaged approach.  IT departments are clearly recognizing that not every app needs to be a custom build.


What do companies look for when purchasing a specific prepackaged solution?  The top selection criteria for SMBs are affordability, ease of use, data security, and the ability to support multiple types of mobile devices and operating systems.  Larger businesses look for acceptable ROI, easy administration, and availability as a managed cloud-based service.


  • The preference for using outside experts to provide integration and/or customization support – whether for a prepackaged mobile app or when creating a fully customized solution – is clearly a minority position.  Only 17% of respondents (across company sizes) would rather use third parties, with the remainder of businesses opting to do the integration and customization work themselves.

Can anything move businesses away from prepackaged mobile solutions?  Yes.  The emerging no-code/low-code app development platforms definitely have the potential to increase a company’s willingness to create their own fully-customized mobile business apps.  A full two-thirds of the survey respondents that currently prefer prepackaged apps, would be willing to rethink that position in light of new no-code/low-code solutions.  Prepackaged vendors, beware.

Jeanine Sterling


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