Enterprise Mobility to Be Ruled by Wannabes in 2009

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-12-17 Print this article Print

Some 40 to and 60 percent of enterprises in North America and Europe surveyed by Forrester claimed more support for mobile technologies as a priority for the new year.

Much like the way unified communications and collaboration technologies help trim corporate travel budgets, mobile enterprise applications running on smartphones will let employees get work-related tasks done without traveling. Time saved from not traveling also boosts productivity, as Pelino claimed:

Many have already invested in the underlying infrastructure requirements, and the devices are out there. They've gotten things in place. They're going to continue to use that, and they're not going to stop, irrespective of the economy.

Interestingly, mobile initiatives will have a lower priority at SMBs, which will focus on their core business competencies during the difficult economic environment.

Pelino also sees strong growth in what she calls the "mobile wannabe" work force. This comprises the younger generation of executive assistants, human resource staffers and finance workers fresh from college who may have grown up using mobile devices from RIM, Palm or Apple. These workers opt to use their mobile devices to do work even while sitting in their cubicles.  

She predicts the number of workers in this segment will rise to nearly 10 percent by the end of 2009 and is expected to blossom at a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent through 2012. That the 10 percent figure mirrors the iPhone penetration rate with SMBs is no coincidence: Pelino says most of the mobile wannabes are in fact using the favored Apple handhelds.

Even so, she said vendors are already taking mobile wannabes into consideration when developing products and services. For example, Nokia's E71 smartphone takes into consideration the dual personal and professional use of devices by enabling users to establish multiple personas that have unique preferences and applications associated with them.

Of course, recessions can bring great opportunities for companies to cherry-pick talent or bargain shop for competing or complementary businesses. Enterprise mobility is no different, where incumbents, startups and service companies offer mobile apps, device management and security software.

Pelino expects mobile middleware vendors such as Sybase, or even CRM providers such as Salesforce.com, to grab smaller location-based enterprise service providers.


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