Forrester Claims Mobile Business Will Not Be A Reality Until 2013 - InformationWeek

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4/23/2007
05:19 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Forrester Claims Mobile Business Will Not Be A Reality Until 2013

A new study from Forrester Research claims that while CIOs and IT managers are interested in business mobility, they are only now beginning to really embrace the technology. As a result, we may have to wait a little longer for the truly mobile enterprise. Are they serious?

A new study from Forrester Research claims that while CIOs and IT managers are interested in business mobility, they are only now beginning to really embrace the technology. As a result, we may have to wait a little longer for the truly mobile enterprise. Are they serious?The Forrester report, called Evolution Of The Enterprise Mobility Market, claims that vendors will do a lot of work between now and the end of 2008 to help make business mobility more accessible. Mobile devices still need to evolve, carriers need to roll out more 3G and cover all the current 3G dead zones, and the proof of concept for mobility beyond push e-mail needs to be developed.

The report claims that the real growth period for mobile business will be between 2008 and 2013. And how about all those line-of-business applications? Those won't go mobile until 2013.

The Forrester folks claim that some industries will adopt mobile technology earlier, including utilities, transportation, and health care.

I don't know if I buy all of this report. Business mobility is already ingrained in many corporate cultures. If you don't believe me, see how much chaos last week's BlackBerry crash caused throughout corporate America. I think all it really takes to sell new mobility solutions is to show these BlackBerry-addicted IT managers and employees another application that works just as well as push e-mail and they'll buy.

There is one part of this report, though, that I couldn't agree with more:

Integrators should focus mobile efforts on business process transformation - not technology. While firms are still building mobile strategies and policies, the thorny issue to solve is enabling business process transformation by mobilizing line of business applications. While SIs have mobile offerings, they should add mobility to business process enablement solutions or combine elements of discrete offerings like application development, mobility, VoIP, and RFID practices to build BPT solutions. For example, Capgemini should combine its mobility transformation practice with elements of its RFID and agent technologies and add unified communications. Smaller specialized SIs like Rush Tracking Systems (in RFID) and Presidio. (for unified communications) should band together to build service networks that can provide more comprehensive offerings.

I think this applies to anyone selling mobility solutions in the business space today. Focus on creating solutions that are easy to use and work and you'll capture this space.

To some degree, I think this Forrester report is guilty of the same thing it critiques the integrators for -- pushing technology ahead of a clearly defined solution. I am sorry, but smartphones are here today and they're both usable and affordable, unlike five years ago. And 3G is here, too, and for many networks there aren't that many dead zones left. I am tired of the technology canard hiding why business mobility is still delayed. That's so 2003. It's time to move on.

I think the real problem is the lack of applications that are clearly defined and ease of use. Frankly, one would be hard pressed to justify most BlackBerry deployments on a strict ROI basis or on the kinds of technology criteria that Forrester and other analysts often present. But that hasn't stopped BlackBerry from exploding across the business market.

This is why the BlackBerry is such a success. Despite last week's outage, BlackBerry is a clearly defined solution that is easy to use and reliable. If you build a solution with these traits, it will sell. If you don't, either we'll be having this debate in 2013 or RIM will have stolen all the mobile business market by then. Which will it be?

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