Mobile devices are being used in 91 per cent of UK businesses, but many are introduced without the knowledge of IT departments, according to a mobility report from system integrator Omnetica.
The firm questioned 400 UK IT decision-makers about business mobility and found that 59 per cent of respondents had not yet calculated possible return on investment for mobile devices, or had any future plans to do so.
"We discovered that businesses without mobility plans already had mobile devices on their network, but that they had been introduced by stealth," said Fausto Amoroso, vice-president of marketing at Omnetica.
The report identified security as the main barrier preventing businesses adopting a wider mobility strategy. Almost 30 per cent said possible security threats and implementation costs were the major factors preventing take-up of mobile devices, such as wireless laptops.
However, 48 per cent of respondents said they would consider using a managed service provider to overcome security concerns.
Despite these worries, the research discovered that 65 per cent of IT decision-makers view mobile email access as a major business benefit.
"It's the easiest application to use via a mobile device," Amoroso said.
Omnetica also identified several applications as leaders in mobility take-up. According to the survey, wireless 3G data cards for laptops are currently the biggest area of growth, thanks to their wide range of uses in corporate and home environments.
The report identified PDAs as a future area of growth. "Laptops are the main device used to access secure VPNs, but PDAs and smartphones are up-and-coming. They will fuel mobile email access before more applications are built into them," Amoroso said.
Yad Jaura, marketing manager at mobile software vendor iAnywhere XcelleNet, said: "Omnetica's 91 per cent figure is absolutely right. Many mobile devices come into businesses through the back door."
He added that wireless is still a good market for VARs. "There are a lot of devices that need to be brought together to form a complete solution," Jaura said.
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