By Ben Macklin
In the enterprise space, the successful implementation of wireless
solutions will be measured in the ability to link the back office
to the mobile device, so [users] have real-time access to the
latest information and applications relevant to them. This is
the promise of wireless technology in the workplace, and as the
economy improves, an increasing number of North American organizations
will be closely examining the benefits of an integrated wireless
solution in their business.
North American organizations have been very successful in adopting
new technologies to improve efficiency, and now that wireless
data services are becoming widely available at speeds considerably
faster than in the past, the possibilities to improve supply-chain
management and customer service are expanding.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts there will
be 84 million wireless internet users in the US by 2005. Business
users will make up 49 million of this total, or 58%.
Most companies have significantly cut back on the IT and telecom
investment spending over the last year. This has delayed and may
continue to delay the adoption of wireless solutions in the enterprise
space. Morgan Stanley conducted its regular CIO study in May 2002,
asking CIOs opinions on the status of their internet-enabled
handheld integration strategy. The study revealed only 4% had
actually deployed such a strategy throughout the enterprise, with
a further 6% who were currently implementing one. A further 35%
of CIOs indicated they were currently considering a deployment,
and 34% had no intention of deployment.
According to a Yankee Group study, the main reason an enterprise
is adopting a wireless data solution is for a specific corporate
application or to have access to corporate e-mail. In general,
companies are not employing wireless solutions for their customers,
but rather, they are employing solutions so employees have remote
access to company data and applications to improve internal efficiency.
The top barrier to implementing a wireless data solution is security.
Network speed, geographic coverage and device limitations are
cited as the next most important barriers, but these are factors
that are increasingly being addressed by wireless operators and
But a note of caution for enterprises considering mobile data
"The wireless carrier market is threatening consolidation,
most 2.5G networks aren't fully deployed at this point, and data-friendly
devices are emerging slowly. Additionally, the mobile middleware
market is extremely confusing, and the cost/benefit justification
of the investment in mobile data initiatives continues to be generally
unclear. Overall, we believe it's a tough time for enterprises
to invest confidently in today's mobile data technologies."
--Aberdeen Group, August 2002
Ben Macklin is a Senior Analyst with eMarketer
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
with comments, questions or suggestions.