One of the main drivers for IT managers to adopt mobile applications across the business is to gain a competitive edge over their rivals, exclusive research by Computer Weekly and Vodafone has found.
The survey questioned more than 400 ITmanagers. It found that 38% of them rated competitive edge as a very important factor influencing their decision to deploy mobile applications.
Alongside this, 43% said the faster information transfer it could bring about would make their company more agile, and a further 55% said the cost savings mobile could enable were a very important factor.
With always-on connectivity provided by 3G, GPRS and Wi-Fi becoming pervasive, users of mobile devices can access information from anywhere at any time. Such access increases the flexibility of the workforce and allows staff to react quickly to changes.
The Computer Weekly/Vodafone survey found that 36% of respondents were already running mobile e-mail, and 24% were providing staff with access to other types of mobile application. At 18%, the most popular type of mobile application deployment was to improve customer relationship management, followed by applications associated with sales lead generation and fulfilment (13%), document management (13%) and job scheduling (11%).
Some 84% of respondents have already deployed mobile devices to senior management, 74% have rolled it out to sales staff and 68% to field staff. Within the next 12 months, 61% of respondents also plan to deploy mobile devices to clerical and admin staff.
When selecting devices, respondents put a higher priority on security and battery life than on costs and ease of management. Almost 75% of respondents said mobile security was their top priority, while only 34% said ease of remote management was a top priority. But despite this apparent emphasis on security, only just over half of respondents said they were currently deploying mobile anti-virus software.
An issue raised by more than 50% of respondents was how a lack of bandwidth was holding back their mobile plans. Until bandwidth improves, mobile applications are in many cases still unable to connect seamlessly to core enterprise systems.