More than two thirds of IT leaders believe mobile technology facilitates business innovation at their companies. Conversely, less than half think mobile investments are being driven by business strategy.
These are the findings of CIO's recent survey, polling 276 IT professionals on their mobile IT plans. It indicates that mobility concerns top the IT agenda, and that 66 percent of IT budgets will include more spending on mobile solutions in the next year.
Most IT leaders cite productivity advantages (87 percent) and improving customer service and support (86 percent) as a driver for mobile solutions. Also high on the list is the need for real-time information (84 percent), something which is highly important to Tim Walter, CIO of CrossCom National. The company's workforce has become increasingly mobile, with employees working in multiple remote locations. "The ability of mobile devices to link into our systems is becoming more and more critical."
Similarly, Michael Shannon, CIO at Dechert, a law firm, says his mobile investments are driven by a need to enable better business practices. "[Mobile] basically allows you to do more, better, faster and stronger," he says. "It's not going to change the way lawyers practice law but it's another convenient on-ramp to get their jobs done."
The top mobile solutions IT leaders are eyeing include devices (71 percent), followed by security and data management software (70 percent), applications (63 percent) and wireless services (62 percent). When making purchase decisions, IT leaders are nearly unanimous in considering ease of use first, followed by support, services, reliability and security.
Of course, there are areas of concern, chief among them the difficulty of measuring ROI and the vulnerability of mobile networks to attack. Barbara Porter, CTO of FragranceNet.com, is taking a wait-and-see approach. "The mobile space is still in its formative stages, and over time certain strategies will prove to be more successful than others," she says.