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Wireless use slowed by lack of metrics

IT departments are eager to deploy wireless applications, but the wide range of services on offer, coupled with a lack of measurements to prove their benefits, could slow uptake in enterprises, according to Gartner.

Speaking at the analyst firm's wireless summit in London last week, Gartner analyst Nick Jones said that most corporations had experimented with some form of mobile applications and were starting to understand the potential of mobility.

A UK survey of 111 mobile business users revealed that mobility was delivering productivity for workers through improved collaboration, agility and cost savings. But Jones said that not all mobile applications delivered value, and businesses needed to clearly define measurements to monitor any proposed benefits.

"Well-chosen applications backed up by metrics programs to monitor application and user performance can deliver provable value. However, the enterprise still faces barriers such as workforce resistance, lack of executive awareness and sponsorship, and the use of immature technology," he said.

Evidence from surveys indicates that IT spending on mobility will continue to grow. By 2009, Gartner expects 50% of enterprises to be spending more than 5% of their budgets on mobility.

Because of this, Jones said that companies must define mobile strategies and policies at individual business unit levels to avoid the risk of fragmented services, which offer little or no overall benefit to the way workers carry out their jobs.

Within larger organisations, he also recommended a phased approach to deploying wireless services to ensure that companies achieved basic management competencies associated with wireless networking.

"Case studies suggest the most effective IT applications of mobility are in situations that combine mobile workers with time-sensitive information," said Jones.

By 2012, Gartner said more than 80% of mobile knowledge workers would create and review information on notebook PCs and mobile devices.

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