Going mobile is too difficult and too expensive say CIOs

Given all of the current buzz surrounding mobile you'd think that businesses would be falling over themselves to embrace the technology. But a new survey of IT decision makers by enterprise application and security expert Mobile Helix shows that whilst 78 percent of enterprises have a mobile strategy, 86 percent are not using it to transform their business.

The survey of 300 CIOs in the UK and US reveals that 87 percent think that their employees would benefit from mobile access to enterprise applications. However, many of them are reluctant to invest. Complexity is cited by 66 percent as a reason not to pursue a mobile strategy, with 72 percent saying it's too costly to integrate mobile innovations into legacy applications. Development, security and support concerns are also listed as limiting factors.

As a result of this reluctance a mere 14 percent of businesses surveyed are currently using mobile solutions to transform their business processes, drive increased revenues and develop new income streams.

"Cost concerns are understandable, given that widespread enterprise mobility is still in its infancy, yet if CIOs make the right long-term choices today, they can generate significant returns for their business," says Mobile Helix's President Matt Bancroft. "Mobility has the potential to disrupt business in much the same way as the internet, but at the moment, cost and complexity challenges lead people to frequently ignore the enormous possibilities available. Take an industry where physical signatures are still needed: why not look at ways to use fingerprint scanning and location awareness on mobile devices as a way to completely change the way the industry works. Ultimately, we see the strategic value of mobility delivered in three phases: mobilizing existing enterprise applications, then adding mobile-specific capabilities to existing applications, and then creating totally new mobile apps where need and business case dictate".

Where mobile technology is used it's most likely to provide a simple extension to the office. Less than half of those surveyed are taking enterprise specific applications mobile. Of those that are, secure offline access is the most common use. Location-based tools using GPS are also becoming popular.

"To date, people are focusing on simply doing what they have always done, but from a mobile device, yet there is so much more potential value available from mobile technology," Bancroft says. "Perceived complexity is hindering adoption, but a key challenge to mobility is companies’ lack of vision, and that is a much bigger hurdle to overcome. With the introduction and broad adoption of HTML5, enterprises today can develop and deliver apps using their existing infrastructure and in-house skills. This means that the development of mobility solutions and mobile innovations can be both simple and cost effective".

Has your company taken CRM or other key systems mobile or is it sticking with more traditional means of accessing systems? Let us know.

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