Report: Impact Of Mobile Devices On Business Could Equal That Of Early Internet

Mobility is going to impact businesses with the same force the Internet did in the 1990s, according to a study released Monday by VAR500 solution provider Accenture.

The study found that 67 percent of IT professionals said mobility will influence their businesses as much as or more than the Internet did. In addition, 69 percent of the respondents would allocate in excess of 20 percent of their discretionary budgets this year to mobility projects.

That's a trend that's already become very apparent to some IT solution providers, such as LAN InfoTech, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. "Mobility today has been a tremendous issue with my clients," said CEO Michael Goldstein. "With the addition of smart phones to the network, higher SLAs by IT are required to make sure the mobile user has 24x7 access. The second major concern has been management of the mobile devices as well as securing them."

In fact, the Accenture study found that security -- followed by cost -- led the list of IT professionals’ biggest concerns. Half of the respondents said security was the biggest factor that would cause them to hold back on moving ahead with mobile projects. Furthermore, not a single one of the most popular smartphone operating systems received "overwhelming security endorsements" from applications developers. Slightly more than half (53 percent) considered Apple’s iOS operating system to be the most secure; Google’s Android operating system came in second place with 24 percent considering it secure.

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[Related: VAR500: Accenture Examines Customer Loyalty ]

The report noted that a majority of CIOs recognize mobility’s potential to transform their business, to increase marketshare and to expand markets. Increasing numbers of companies are expanding their online presence to include mobile sites. That hasn't been lost on vendors such as CodeBaby, Colorado Springs, Colo., which develops interactive characters that provide guided online customer service.

“CodeBaby customers are typically seeing 12 percent to 20 percent of their Web site traffic originating from mobile devices today but realize the trend is accelerating quickly. 2014 is the year many of our prospects and customers see as the tipping point for a majority of site visitors arriving via a mobile device," said CodeBaby CEO Dennis McGuire. "We anticipate the transition will vary across varying industries depending on the audience they target and serve. CodeBaby capabilities will be 100 percent compatible within the mobile environment by the end of Q1 2012 to take advantage of the trend.”

The Accenture study concluded that companies should create a list of all the mobility projects they have started and assess them. After that evaluation, areas for standardization should be identified. As mobility projects accelerate at any particular organization, competitive advantages can be gained. The report advised that companies review their mobile strategy every six to 12 months to ensure "they’re placing their bets on the right trends.”