More businesses than ever want to get on the mobility bandwagon yet few service providers are stepping forward to assist, according to an IDC survey.
IDC mobile and wireless analyst, Jerson Yau, said recent analysis suggested a sizeable number of Australian businesses wanted to go mobile but didn't know how.
"Part of it is almost wishful thinking but it also comes from the expectation that you can do things with mobile technology," Yau said. "[Businesses] are thinking, 'I'm pretty sure something can be done' and want to know if there is a service provider to help them."
Yau said many businesses believe that mobile technologies, properly integrated into their business processes and workflow, could help control costs and smooth communications.
Examples of enterprise mobility included getting CRM data accessible by smartphone to the whole team so it was available whenever and wherever needed, he said.
Yet few organisations had so far been able to achieve such heights. Some were struggling with a variety of deployment issues compounded by the adoption of multiple devices and applications, he suggested.
Service providers that could assist appeared to be thin on the ground, Yau said. "Some are constructing applications for their clients, but it tends to be in niche pockets at this stage," he said.
Whether many Australian service providers yet had the skills needed to adequately mobilise customers' IT systems and processes remained to be seen, Yau said.
"Requirements from mobile platforms are very complex. Most of the successful ones I've seen tend to limit it to a single device, [for instance]," he said.
Further, a lot of businesses that had made early investments in mobility had overextended themselves one way or another and were essentially still in trial phase, he said.
"There is a tremendous opening in the Australian market for service providers that can provide a clear and compelling case for enterprise mobility solutions," Yau said. "Mobile solutions and services addressing a tangible return, improved cost efficiencies and high manageability will have universal appeal among organisations, irrespective of their unique industries or size."
Integ national professional services manager, Ian McPherson, said opportunities around the convergence of IP and IT with mobile technologies were definitely something Integ was looking at.
Integ hoped to be able to deliver services involving mobility platform integration with IP PBX or other mission-critical business technology in about 6-12 months.
"That's something we're focused on; it's in our existing business plan," McPherson said.
According to IDC, Australian business spent $4.25 billion on mobile voice, messaging, and data services in 2006, with professional services, manufacturing and primary industries, and retail/wholesale sectors leading the charge.