Mobile technology is the fastest growing area of an IT director's budget, according to analyst firm Gartner, which is holding its Wireless and Mobile Summit 2005 in London this week.
The success of devices such as Research In Motion's Blackberry and the XDA from O2, has stimulated interest in mobile technology within business and the public sector.
Gartner found the top three technical priorities in 2005 for European IT directors are business intelligence, security enhancement and mobile workforce enablement.
By 2008 mobile enablement will be the second highest technology priority, according to Gartner, with business intelligence remaining number one and real-time enterprise support technology becoming the third highest technology priority for CIOs.
Nick Jones, research fellow at Gartner, said, 'Already, two-thirds of organisations are investing in mobile enablement.'
He said expenditure in mobile technology was growing faster than any other part of an IT director's budget.
The challenge for IT directors is where to invest, as most mobile technologies are driven by the fickle nature of consumer trends rather than the requirements of corporate IT.
Phone makers tend to target a fashion market rather than providing a stable platform that businesses can support and connect into enterprise systems in a secure and manageable way.
Jones said IT directors faced the prospect of having to support all manner of mobile devices being used within the business, as employees try to connect their phones or handheld computers into corporate systems.
Presentations at the event will look at which applications users should consider making mobile and which suppliers will be strategic.
Jones said, 'Everyone is experimenting with mobile network access and e-mail, but these applications do not change the way you work.' He said businesses can use mobile technology in a more radical way to drive new business opportunities.
Networks blinkered to business needs
Analyst company Gartner has criticised mobile network operators for failing to support the ways in which businesses want to use mobile data services.
Nick Jones, research fellow at Gartner, said, 'Users would love a flat-rate data service across Europe. But you cannot even get the same quality of service.'
He said operators wanted to offer higher value services such as providing SalesForce.com pay-per-use customer relationship management as part of their mobile service. However, such services do not represent good value for money because businesses would normally be using their own CRM system, he added.
Jones warned that the trend among operators to develop content services such as streaming video and music would inhibit the evolution of mobile telecoms. 'Mobile operators will fail to become mobile content providers and this will slow the market.'