This post is part one in a three-part series on building a mobility strategy within the enterprise. Check in next week for part two.

More than a quarter of organizations have not built, customized, or virtualized any mobile apps in the last year. That’s according to a recent Gartner survey and is, quite frankly, staggering.

But the news isn’t all bad. Many companies are turning out apps in high quantities. And, in our view, the companies that haven’t deployed any apps in the last year are ripe for building and deploying their own solutions—in due time, of course.

The conversation in the mobility space, then, is changing from one of “here’s why you should build a mobile app” to “you want to build an app?—here’s how you should do it.” Most stakeholders now see the importance of functional mobile apps for their workforces. The question then becomes how best to design those apps so they make everyone more productive.

If you’re beginning to build out a mobility strategy and aren’t sure where to start, perhaps you should take a look at an area where many of our clients have found success: operations.

Back when mobile applications were just starting to appear in the enterprise, many in the industry (us included) imagined a future where companies would have apps for everything from human resources to conference room scheduling. As time has gone on and companies have put real dollars towards mobility, that vision for the future has turned out not to be true. The economics just aren’t there.

Android and iOS are constantly changing, which means there’s a near constant need to update mobile applications. The maintenance cycle quickly becomes cumbersome with a large number of apps at play, and most companies don’t have the resources to keep up with that maintenance need. Couple that with the fact that Microsoft Exchange contains a lot of functionality for basic around-the-office tasks, and the argument for a fleet of applications for everything becomes a lot less compelling.

With all of this in mind, an operations focus is an excellent place to start as you try to focus your mobility strategy. Apps with real business functionality—like checking in inventory, or tracking sales leads—are a good starting point because they make employees’ lives easier and interface enough with revenue-generating sides of the business that it makes sense to devote resources to keeping them running.

A future of ‘an app for everything’ may sound sexy, but is a harder sell in the long run. As you look to get your mobility strategy off the ground, looks towards operational functions. We think you’ll be happy with what you find.