Can IT Vendors Meet The Challenges Of Mobile 2.0? - InformationWeek

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11/15/2007
05:35 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Can IT Vendors Meet The Challenges Of Mobile 2.0?

I just returned from my panel, "The New Mobile IT Paradigm: Can IT Vendors Adapt?", at Mobile Internet World. It seems traditional IT vendors are still struggling with business mobility. Can they even hope to compete once Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 show on smartphones?

I just returned from my panel, "The New Mobile IT Paradigm: Can IT Vendors Adapt?", at Mobile Internet World. It seems traditional IT vendors are still struggling with business mobility. Can they even hope to compete once Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 show on smartphones?The panel consisted of Andy Willett, SVP of sales and business development, NetMotion Wireless; Lalit Canaran, Director, Sybase iAnywhere; yours truly; and Eugene Signorini, vice president of enterprise research, Yankee Group as moderator.

During the panel, we discussed the challenges traditional IT vendors face when addressing mobility for their enterprise customers. The biggest challenge remains the nature of mobility itself. As Lalit Canaran pointed out, mobility remains siloed in many organizations and its still a tactical, not a strategic issue.

Many IT vendors and their customers, the IT managers, are stuck in the same mentality of 2003: IT is a cost center. New trends, like mobile, are high on the information gathering side, but they're not high on the list of available best practices or case studies.

One IT vendor, Research in Motion, is now seen by many in the enterprise as the gold standard for business mobility. But, as Willett and Signorini pointed out, RIM was not considered an enterprise-grade vendor six years ago. While the traditional IT vendors waited, upstarts like RIM captured much of this market.

Willett also warned that the business mobility market may have as much, if not more, opportunity for smaller, niche players who solve mobile specific problems than for the next Microsoft or SAP. While everyone waits for the next mobile horizontal hit, smaller upstarts are already winning marketshare.

I pointed out that there may never be a true mobile horizontal. Business mobility may always be a vertical play. Vendors like Motorola Symbol, which focus on verticals like field service, are reporting growth and strong business. Those that are still looking for the next big horizontal may be waiting for that big payoff for a long time.

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