Mobility gaining importance to organisations

Wide deployment of wireless networks, availability of mobile devices, and increased interest in mobile applications driving demand

New research from market analyst Forrester suggests that ="" href="">mobility initiatives are gaining increasing importance among organisations , accounting for three of the top five enterprise telecommunications priorities.

Forrester says that for years there has been a lot of talk but not much action around enterprise mobility but that right now the tide is turning. According to  ‘Enterprise Network And Telecommunications Survey, North America And Europe, Q1 2008’,  wide scale deployment of wireless networks, availability of mobile devices, and increased interest in mobile applications have driven demand for enterprise mobility products.

The research firm believes that it has identified three enterprise mobility user profiles, each with a unique profile and user requirements. The mobile purchasing decision-making process is also changing to include business unit executives as well as IT executives.

To address emerging opportunities in the enterprise mobility arena, vendors, including service providers, systems integrators, device manufacturers, and application developers, must establish partnerships and alliances to expand reach and ensure application usability; ensure that marketing efforts reach all business, IT, and telecom decision-makers; and make mobile usability a paramount focus.

Commented Michele Pelino, Forrester Senior Analyst, “Since early 2000, buzz has abounded about enterprise mobility being the next big thing. To date, however, widespread enterprise mobility adoption has focused primarily on a limited number of C-level executives and employees on the go. Now, we are finally on the cusp of the enterprise mobility boom that has long been predicted — but never quite happened. This year, three of the top five corporate telecommunications initiatives are mobility-related. In fact, the top priority across 65% of firms is to provide more mobility support to employees.”

The reasons for this increase are three-fold says Forrester: more types of wireless networks; greater device diversity; an increased number of mobile applications.

Forrester believes that today more firms relative to 2007 are using all types of wireless networks such as wireless local area networks (WLans), public cellular, and Wi-Fi networks, and furthermore 44% of these firms implemented more than one type of wireless network.

On such networks, firms are supporting and managing a variety of device types including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, Linux, Symbian, and 82% of firms support more than one device type — and it’s only going to get worse as employees continue to ask, to use their favourite personal device, such as the iPhone, at work to access email and other corporate information.

Also over the past year, Forrester says that interest in enterprise wide applications (e.g., mobile sales force or inventory management) or vertically-focused mobility applications (e.g., mobile healthcare applications) have gained momentum, as the number of inquiries it receives on these topics it  jumped approximately 40% between 2006 and 2007.

Forrester recommends that in order to take advantage of the emerging and appealing enterprise mobility opportunity firms should develop a clear, cohesive enterprise mobility story. It also advises vendors to identify which enterprise mobility solution components they address and how these solutions benefit the mobility requirements of organisations. It also says that vendors must identify appropriate partners to support and enhance the enterprise mobility story and focus on usability.

Read more on Mobile hardware