Mobile Business Expo: How To Craft A Mobile E-Mail Strategy - InformationWeek

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10/24/2007
10:52 AM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Mobile Business Expo: How To Craft A Mobile E-Mail Strategy

Yesterday afternoon at Mobile Business Expo (MBX) we tackled the issue of crafting a push e-mail strategy. Guess what, it's not just about e-mail anymore.

Yesterday afternoon at Mobile Business Expo (MBX) we tackled the issue of crafting a push e-mail strategy. Guess what, it's not just about e-mail anymore.The panel, "How To Develop A Mobile E-Mail Strategy," was moderated by Sean Ginevan of InformationWeek and included Brian Havener, director of solutions management, Motorola Good Technology; David Heit, director of product management, enterprise software, Research in Motion; Dennis Sullivan, Americas product marketing manager, Nokia Enterprise Solutions; and Senthil Krishnapillai, director of product management, Sybase iAnywhere.

The first thing all the panelists stressed was that any CIO or IT manager crafting a mobile e-mail strategy today needs to look beyond just e-mail. They need to plan for more sophisticated applications and they better have a flexible strategy that will accommodate different devices and different types of users.

Dennis Sullivan laid out three benefits to push e-mail:

1. Mobile e-mail creates a more agile workforce.

2. Contrary to public opinion, mobile e-mail can improve work/balance for employees, allowing them to work when it's convenient and even spend more time with their families.

3. Mobile e-mail has become a competitive necessity for many companies and it will increasingly become a business-critical application for most businesses very soon.

David Heit stressed that mobile e-mail is currently a collaboration tool, but warned that mobile collaboration could soon shift to other applications, including mobile IM. Any push e-mail strategy should, he added, be able to accommodate a shift like this.

If mobile e-mail is so beneficial, why are there only 20 million mobile e-mail users globally but over two billion mobile phones?

The panel identified a number of roadblocks:

1. Wireless data plans and mobile e-mail plans are still expensive.

2. Mobile e-mail still needs cheaper, easier-to-deploy end-to-end security.

3. Many employees don't use e-mail as much as office workers.

While the panelists were in almost total agreement for much of the panel -- very surprising considering just how competitive they are -- they did disagree on one area: Just how device-agnostic should the mobile e-mail strategy be?

Krishnapillai and Sullivan embraced the most open positions. Krishnapillai re-enforced iAnywhere's position that mobile e-mail should be totally agnostic. Sullivan took a similar path, stressing Nokia Intellisync's ability to work with many, non-Nokia smartphones.

While Havener stressed that Motorola Good can work with different devices and platforms, he stressed the importance of the mobile device in any mobile strategy and challenged the attendees to think about how this could affect the flexibility of their mobile plans.

Heit stressed the benefits of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and just how easy BlackBerry is to use for both employees and IT managers.

I want to thank Sean Ginevan and the panelists for a great session. I'll bring you more from MBX later today.

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