As organizations begin planning their technology investments for 2017, a number of industries are prioritizing mobile products and solutions. In its most recent Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide, released on Oct. 26, research firm IDC has forecast that mobility revenues will reach $1.72 trillion by 2021. Worldwide mobility spending will total $1.58 trillion in 2017, an increase of 4.3 percent over 2016.

Consumers account for more than 70 percent of total mobility spending. However, organizations are investing in mobile solutions to support today’s on-the-go workforce. In many industries, mobile is also seen as an essential tool for enhancing productivity, generating new revenue and meeting customer expectations for highly responsive interactions. Even industries that are traditionally slow to change are seeing mobile as a way to become more efficient and gain competitive advantages.

Banking and professional services will lead the way with the largest spending on mobility, with manufacturing and retail close behind. In seven industries, the growth of mobility spending will far outpace the overall market: professional services, construction, telecommunications, government, healthcare, retail, and security and investment services.

From a company size perspective, small offices with one to nine employees will account for roughly three-quarters of all mobility spending as these businesses purchase mobile devices and services as an affordable alternative to traditional IT solutions. Very large businesses (more than 1,000 employees) and large businesses (500 to 999 employees) will provide the fastest spending growth, IDC says.

However, too many organizations remain in a reactive mode as the rising tide of smartphones and tablets flood into their organizations. Without a clear strategy, organizations cannot maximize the benefits of mobility and achieve a return on investment.

Many organizations will need to make operational changes to better incorporate mobility into their workflows. Field and customer service personnel need applications that enable instant data access, customer engagement and transaction processing via mobile devices.

Getting there isn’t easy, as there are many factors to consider:

  • What devices will you support? Does your strategy only incorporate smartphones, or do you need to consider tablets, ultra-portables and some of the newer device form factors?
  • What about security and regulatory compliance? Security remains a significant barrier to mobile adoption for many organizations, and their concerns are not unfounded. Mobile device threats are on the rise, and they often bring lost data, lost revenue and loss of customer trust.
  • How are employees going to access company data? Few legacy systems were built to integrate with mobile devices, and they must be transformed to support mobile adoption.
  • How will employees communicate and collaborate? Relying on personal phone numbers and messaging features creates a patchwork collaboration environment that hampers productivity. A far better approach is to invest in a unified communications platform that extends seamlessly to mobile devices.

Do all of these issues need to be addressed before an organization can begin to tap mobility to drive revenue? Not necessarily — early adopters have seen top-line benefits from mobile device adoption. However, many of those organizations also experienced mobile incidents such as lost devices and data breaches, leading to consequences such as regulatory fines and lost revenue.

Mobility can help boost the top line if organizations take a proactive approach and carefully plan an effective mobile implementation strategy. Contact IPC to discuss how to maximize the benefits of mobile in 2018 and beyond.