Customers want mobile apps. And providers are answering.

Gartner has chosen the providers it feels are best at enabling IT developers to create mobile applications for customers, partners and employees. It announced them in its Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms released this month.

It tabbed SAP, IBM, Kony, Adobe, Appcelerator and Pegasystems as the leaders in the space, followed by "challengers" Salesforce and MicroStrategy.

The "niche players" field is large: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, DSI, Motorola Solutions, Embarcadero, Verivo Software and ClickSoftware. Gartner also named Xamarin, Terelik and Sencha as "visionaries."

Leaders Analyzed

Gartner reported in its Magic Quadrant that the mobile application development platform (MADP) market offers tools, technologies, components and services that together constitute the critical elements of a platform.

"The MADP enables an enterprise to design, develop, deploy, distribute and manage a portfolio of mobile applications running on a range of devices and addressing the requirements of diverse use cases, including external-facing and internal-facing scenarios," according to the report.

Here is who Gartner ranked as the best:


San Jose, Calif.-based Adobe is powered by Adobe PhoneGap, which Gartner officials call the "de facto industry standard for hybrid wrapping technology." It has great simplicity of development and has a "positive track record and long-established credibility in publishing and customer-facing scenarios." 

”The company has evolved its commercial MADP offering so that Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Apps is now the core of Adobe's MADP and includes both PhoneGap Enterprise (for utility apps) and Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (for content-centric apps)," Gartner officials added.

Gartner analysts cautioned that a hybrid wrapper approach is limited in "performance and fidelity."


Appcelerator, based on Mountain View, Calif., has a full portfolio of mobile back-end services and front-end tools and frameworks. They address diverse scenarios, according to Gartner. It can respond fast in a changing market. Gartner analysts cautioned that Appcelerator is "relatively small compared with established enterprise software vendors." This, they reported, poses challenges for selling at the strategic level.


IBM, based in Armonk, N.Y., offers Worklight, in which organizations can leverage their existing web and native skills for automating many mobile requirements. IBM also features its MobileFirst enterprise mobility suite and a portfolio of Web, application life cycle management (ALM), test, cloud, security and connectivity capabilities. Worklight allows great flexibility among development teams. Gartner analysts cautioned that there are a limited number of developers experienced on Worklight and that some are concerned the platform gets expensive as their mobile development efforts grow.


Orlando, Fla.-based Kony provides SLAs guaranteeing support for new device and mobile OS releases within a specified period, according to Gartner, whose officials added that Kony Visualizer enhances its offering with a productivity-oriented aspect. Gartner analysts cautioned that the integrated enterprise mobility management (EMM) offering is relatively new and untested. 


Walldorf, Germany-based SAP's SMP is an enterprise-focused mobile application platform that supports a broad range of client architectures and development tool chains, according to Gartner. SAP also provides comprehensive post-deployment monitoring and analytics. Gartner analysts cautioned that customers reported they get confused about which mobile products and components they need, and Gartner added SAP's cloud support for mobility is "relatively nascent."


Gartner calls the technology of Pegasystems, based in Cambridge, Mass., a "strong differentiator" in a crowded market. Particularly, it cited the fusion of Pegasystems' model-driven approach to client application architecture with Antenna's open HTML5 architecture. Gartner analysts cautioned that Pegasystems is new to this market. "It remains to be seen whether Pegasystems can maintain a focus on the mobile market, in addition to serving its BPM and CRM business," according to the Magic Quadrant.

Industry Challenge

Gartner analysts, when looking at the entire industry, noted in the company's Magic Quadrant that MADP vendors are just now responding to is the increased need for cross-channel orchestration.

"Users who engage with an organization do so in the form of a 'customer journey' that steps across multiple channels," Gartner reported. "These channels are not just mobile and web but can include phone — both live-person and automated response systems — chat, text messaging, email, fax, catalog and in-person store visit."

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