Businesses have woken up to the benefits of mobile working and are now worrying about how to make mobility an integral part of their mainstream IT strategy, Gartner has said.
The majority of businesses are planning to maintain their mobility budget at 2007's level or increase it by between five and 10 percent, Gartner's survey of medium to large European enterprises found.
Some companies even plan to hike their mobility budget by as much as 20 percent year on year, it found.
Monica Basso, research vice president at Gartner, told ZDNet.co.uk sister site silicon.com: "Mobility is going mainstream. It is maturing and enterprises are moving from a phase of experimentation into a phase of rationalisation, where mobility investments are part of the overall IT picture."
"It's not any more a matter of testing or trying mobile technologies — it's not any more appropriate to deploy islands of mobility mostly as proof of concept that this technology may be beneficial to an organisation. All of this is a given. Everybody understands that, [through] deploying mobile devices and smartphones with access to corporate email, the mobile workforce get benefits. Email is a critical application," Basso said.
In line with this shift from dabbling with mobility to planning enterprise-wide deployments, the survey found that building a long-term mobility strategy tops the list of enterprise mobility concerns over the next 12 to 18 months.
This was followed by integrating mobility with the IT infrastructure and operations; and wireless/mobile security and device management.
Integration with IT presents lots of challenges because it means business operations will need to be aligned, according to Basso.
She said: "Whereas so far we have seen mobility managed as a separate topic by a separate group of people, now, and increasingly, mobility operations must become part of the rest of IT operations."
Basso added: "As mobility investments keep growing, security and management become critical elements for organisations to make sure that their deployments integrate properly with the rest of the IT infrastructure."
In terms of business benefits, the most commonly cited advantage of wireless is increased staff productivity — cited by 56 percent of respondents — followed by improved internal communications.