Is Mobile Messaging Passe?

— April 10, 2007

Enterprise mobile messaging, particularly push email service, seems to be an almost de facto tool for the mobile executive. BlackBerry alone has almost 7 million users thumbing away at their devices every day. Does this mean that the market for push email devices is already saturated?

Aberdeen's recent benchmark study, "Enterprise Mobile Adoption: A Corporate Conundrum," showed that wireless access to corporate data and email is one of the most important factors driving organizations to develop a mobility strategy. The study also found that 74 percent of respondents were using mobile messaging solutions. Additionally, the inventory of devices was shown to be very broad. In some instances, mobile workers use different mobile devices for different messaging applications. The data suggest that while messaging is present, companies have the opportunity to better leverage solutions.

Aberdeen's current study on enterprise mobile messaging shows that there is still much room for growth in mobile email and that 2007 may be the watershed year for true mass adoption within the enterprise. In the current survey, 38 percent of responsdents stated that they have been using a push email service for less than one year, while 13 percent were planning to implement one within the next 12 months. This increasing momentum is corroborated by Nokia's acquisition of Intellisync in November 2005, Motorola's recent acquisition of Good Technology and Microsoft's continuous efforts to extend the reach of its Exchange server.

What's Pushing Mobile Email?
Increasingly, customer responsiveness is an important productivity advantage for executives, sales and field service. Of the organizations surveyed, 77 percent stated that the ability to react more quickly to customer needs was the primary driver for adopting push email solutions; second was the ability to drive increased collaboration within the organization.

The falling cost, increasing availability and improved performance of networks and devices is driving the proliferation of mobile messaging applications, including push email. Organizations are assessing how mobile messaging solutions--beyond just push email--can improve workflows, with the ultimate expectation of having all these communication options available on one device.

Key Challenges in Mobile Email
The biggest challenges facing organizations include ensuring security, technology interoperability and the ability to justify the cost of deploying and managing these solutions. One primary roadblock to implementing push email is the ability to quantify its expected ROI. While there is a fundamental understanding of the implicit value of always being connected and accessible, almost half of the survey respondents stated that their ability to measure the ROI of such functionality was low or very low. This low level of understanding creates an opportunity for all the players in the push email ecosystem to help organizations understand and quantify such returns on investment.

There's no doubt that mobile email has changed the mobile professionals go about their business. Wireless email is just the beginning of the opportunities that exist for companies looking to extend their reach, provide true collaboration and ensure real-time data flow away from the confines of the office. //

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