Mobile applications have been "the next big thing" for several years now. The building of wireless networks, aggressive pricing of data services, and a rise in the use of handhelds and special-purpose e-mail devices have set the stage for large-scale rollouts. According to the 520 IT executives answering our latest survey, the use of mobile applications by both employees and customers has been on the rise, but the results are a mixed bag, suggesting that mobility isn't a near-term answer for every company.
The 57% of respondents with employee-focused offeringstypically dial-up e-mail access for Windows laptopsreported improvements in productivity and communication. About 76% said they were somewhat or highly satisfied with their mobile offerings for employees, but 60% found their mobility offerings only somewhat valuable, with ROI still not fully clear.
The 38% of CIOs whose companies provide or support mobile applications for their customers focus on e-mail, news and providing access to account information. But, like employee offerings, satisfaction with initiatives supporting mobile customers remains mixed. About 68% say their efforts are highly or somewhat valuable, but slightly more than half were in the latter category. Only one goal, more efficient logistics, was achieved by more than 50%, and a downturn in projected spending for 2002 shows concerns with such weak results.