Mobility Flop Watch: Seven Views On The Year's Weakest Prospects

By  Susan Nunziata — January 26, 2009

In Part One of our four-part series, we polled members of the Mobile Enterprise Editorial Advisory Board -- which is made up of enterprise executives, industry analysts and consultants -- to get their views on what they expect to be the biggest enterprise mobility flops in the year ahead. Here's what some of them had to say.

Tell us what you think. Take our poll and share your views on which aspects of enterprise mobility will fare the worst this year.  Results will be shared in an upcoming edition of our Mobilizer e-newsletter.
(In Part Two of the series, we identify The Next Big Thing in enterprise mobility.)

Palm, Possibly

Kevin Baradet
S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University

Not sure that it is a flop, but it appears that Palm has reached a critical point with the Pre. If the Pre succeeds, I think that Palm can remain in the cell/web space as a niche player. If it fails, I don't think that Palm can remain as an ongoing concern in this space.

In addition, any mobile service that doesn't have an application/data store for content delivery will have a tough time over the next year or two. Can Verizon's "Get It Now" store thrive or grow in the face of the platform manufacturers' operatons (iTunes, Google's, Palm's newly announced store for the Pre)

Mobile WiMAX

Ben Halpert
Information Security Researcher & Practitioner

Mobile WiMAX--I don't see the impetus for adoption yet.

Mobile Payments

Brenda Lewis
Transactions Marketing

Mobile payments are over-hyped and lacking compelling ROI from an enterprise standpoint. I think businesses in Asia and Africa need these types of services because they lack the highly evolved, secure computer infrastructure accessible to even the smallest businesses in Europe and  North America. Bank of America launched a well-received iPhone consumer banking application last year, but has not extended it to small business customers. Certainly EZ Pass and select mobile payment applications, such as taxicab credit card terminals, have been a success (the cabbies like it because they get higher tips). But I do not see a mass business market here, especially in an economy where retail transactions have tanked.  

BlackBerry Storm

Brendan O'Malley
Tasty Baking Company

I am just hoping not to be involved. . . Seriously, I am not sure.  Mobile applications and devices remain very difficult to build and deploy.  I personally struggled with a Blackberry Storm before retreating to a Curve.  That's my personal flop of the year.

More On WiMAX

Andrew M. Seybold
Andrew Seybold, Inc.

The answer to this question is easy, at least in the United States. It will be Clearwire's WiMAX 4G(not) WiMAX network, which is being touted as the fastest and easiest to use network on the planet. The issue is that the data speeds are not that much better than existing 3G speeds (2 Mbps to 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps to 1.2 Mbps up), and the fact that, so far, the coverage within the United States is very sparse and will remain so for this entire year.

Yes, there will be devices available to move users from the Clearwire WiMAX network to the Sprint 3G network where there is no WiMAX coverage. But Sprint's 3G coverage is not as good as AT&T and Verizon's 3G coverage, and the cost of a dual-mode device and dual-mode service will not save corporations any time or money. At the end of the day, those who opt for the Clearwire/Sprint solution will end up spending a lot of money for no gain in performance or coverage.

Mobile CRM

Gene Signorini
VP Enterprise Applications & Mobile Solutions
Yankee Group

Mobile CRM. Not because the technology and solutions are bad, but because potential deployments will likely be stillborn due to the economic environment.  Mobile CRM solutions are likely to be seen as an added cost that lack clear, immediate ROI.  The potential is there for handheld Mobile CRM deployments to be viewed as laptop displacement for some salespeople, which could be the one saving grace.

Great Expectations

Philippe Winthrop
Research Director -- Global & Wireless Practice
Strategy Analytics

The biggest "flop" in enterprise mobility this year will be expectations.  While vendors sell their solutions based upon the cost savings or efficiencies they can provide to end-user organizations, those expectations may be artificially inflated this year given the economic challenges we are facing. 

That said, I.T. decision makers should not fear investing in mobility solutions, but instead need to be more pragmatic than ever.  Mobility solutions can unquestionably provide benefits to an organization, but they are not a panacea for other challenges. 

End-user organizations must therefore take a sober look at all initiatives (including mobility plans) to make sure they understand both the costs and the benefits of the deployments and develop processes to track and measure the benefits achieved.

Tell us what you think. Take our Mobile Enterprise Flop-Watch 2009 poll. Results will be shared in an upcoming edition of our Mobilizer e-newsletter.


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