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Analysis: Mobility Apps

Several potent forces are acting in concert to dramatically expand the ability of mobile workers to access any information, at any time, from anywhere. The implications are far greater than improved productivity: We see companies functioning in completely new ways as they eliminate the unnecessary or redundant steps bogging down business processes. Firms that fully integrate the power of these technologies will become what we call "mobile dynamic enterprises." This metamorphosis occurs when IT starts using mobile computing strategically, not just tactically as is the norm today.

Don't get us wrong: Tactical is a great way to get your feet wet with mobile computing. But if you can go to the next level, the payoff will be immense. It shouldn't be a huge leap--how many of your employees already carry powerful laptops and handheld devices and have access to 3G networks? The missing link: A wide selection of off-the-shelf software applications.

Three factors are causing a shift in the status quo: Faster wireless networks mean improved application responsiveness, and middleware has grown more sophisticated. But most important, vendors are finally getting in sync with their customers' needs and offering built-in support for mobile devices in their enterprise software.

And clearly, mobility is on your mind: Our reader poll for this article showed 70 percent of responding companies adopting mobile/wireless technologies. However, only 17 percent had companywide strategic initiatives, so much work remains to be done. What's the holdup? In a word, complexity. A smorgasbord of mobile platforms and wireless networks means integration challenges.

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