Is it Worth Joining the ‘App Economy’

We are living in interesting times; apps for electronic devices and cloud tools are omnipresent. Today an ‘app economy’ has developed, creating fortunes for tech-entrepreneurs and forever changing the way business is done.1

This app economy is comprised of everyone who has a job thanks to mobile apps. By 2020 this sector of American commerce is likely to double in size to $101 billion, according to application market researcher, App Annie.2

Getting in on this dynamic field as an MBA graduate is appealing to many. MBA concentrations for Marketing and Advertising Management and Finance are particularly well-suited to this economic sector. The app environment changes frequently and sometimes an idea runs too long without solid infrastructure being built around it. Those with a financial background can adapt and build that support.

[Download the Complete Guide to MBA Specializations to learn more about how these concentrations align with current business trends.]

The Current State of Mobile And The App Economy

Apps solve a lot of problems – from boredom to medical monitoring. People think primarily of cellphones when they think of apps, but they exist in your tablets, your DVD players, as well as Xbox and other entertainment consoles.

Since Apple’s 2007 debut of the iPhone and 2008 introduction of the App Store, the app economy has been a significant force in the US economy and jobs. With an annual growth rate of 37 percent in recent years, the app economy is outpacing many other industries.

The growth of the app economy is driven by increased app usage and by a continued growth in smartphone adoption around the globe. App Annie’s The App Forecast3 provides predictive insights into global opportunities for brands, agencies, investors, and app developers for the next five years.

The latest study from the Progressive Policy Institute,4 an independent D.C. based think tank, shows 1.66 million app economy jobs in the United States, up from roughly 750,000 in 2013.

In recent years, games or media companies have dominated apps. Now though, app publishers come from every industry and are expected to grow even faster than games. They draw from banking, retail, airlines, ridesharing services, and government agencies. Often backed by venture capital and hedge funds, the app industry is generating significant market value and actual revenue.

Learning: Pay Attention to the Main Risk from Apps

Career opportunities for risk officers are growing as organizations become increasingly concerned about the potential impact that strategic, operational, financial, and cyber risks can have on the enterprise in today’s uncertain world.

For example, application programming interfaces (APIs) are increasingly essential in connecting Apps to other programs and software, companies struggle to maintain a consistent API-security plan, according to an April 2016 survey on behalf of Distil Networks.5 With many APIs available to the outside world, the lack of a solid strategy adds undue risk to innovation.

Apple’s Newest Venture in The App Economy

A lot more people are about to be introduced to the idea of an app economy. In March 2016, Apple announced the creation of its first original TV show6 focused just on the tech world and digital applications. As it’s described now this is a non-fiction effort.

The company may be taking a different approach than Amazon, Netflix, or Hulu, whose programming is made up of fictional content. It appears Apple, with AppleTV, is planning programming that more directly supports other company products.

Considering the popularity of many streaming shows, this focus on “how the app store can work for you” could be risky if it does not appeal to a large audience.

Emerging Trends – The Sharing Economy and ‘Internet of Things’

To remain competitive, companies must consistently deliver innovative, secure, and exceptional experiences to customers and partners.

Technology is allowing people to share materials and collaborate. MBAs graduates are not immune to figuring out new ways they can work in this sharing economy. Not only are MBA graduates more interested in working at businesses in the sharing economy, but these type of companies are also hiring from schools in greater numbers.

Uber has been hiring MBAs7, to work into cities they expand into. The app-based transportation network wants motivated, entrepreneurial-minded individuals, with a keen understanding of how to scale up a small company into a large enterprise.

Today’s sharing economy is growing hand-in-hand with what’s called the “Internet of Things.” This has come to mean the variety of ways the Internet connects everyday devices and services . This includes such “things” as home air conditioning and lighting, and driverless cars.

Looking to the not-so-distant future, the rise of the Internet of Things is destined to further advance the app economy. As more and more objects and processes are connected to the Internet, people will increasingly use mobile apps as their interface to their homes, cars, schools, and health providers. Apps will continue to improve in sophistication and function to become essential in how we interact with the world.

The app economy is challenging, with many downloaded apps never used at all. Further, a study by measurement firm, ComScore, shows that users get comfortable and spend 80 percent of their time8 with just a handful of apps.

Then there’s gaming. Game-based apps provide many hits and many more misses but last year, 85 percent of all app revenues9 went to games.

You touch apps every day off your life in one way or another. Using your MBA to make apps and app companies better for a whole world of uses is a true MBA career path worth considering.

To learn more about the online MBA at University of Saint Mary, request more information or call 877.307.4915 to speak with an admissions advisor.