Discussion Papers

Franz Büllingen

Mobile Enterprise-Solutions - Stand und Perspektiven mobiler Kommunikationslösungen in kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen

Nr. 282 / November 2006

Summary

Experts regard Mobile Enterprise-Solutions to be of mayor importance for enhancing the productivity of enterprise business processes. This seams to be especially true for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Small Office / Home Office (SOHO) businesses. Due to the rising availability of mobile broadband access by the up-grade of GSM (EDGE) and UMTS (HSPA) networks, WLAN-hotspots and WiMAX (2007), more sophisticated mobile terminals, decreasing costs and the intensifying competition of service providers the prerequisites for implementing Mobile Enterprise-Solutions in business processes have considerably improved. For mobile workers it makes less and less difference getting broadband access to the intranet in their office or being away on business. Though our results indicate, that voice, SMS and e-mail services at present are still the "killer applications" of Mobile Enterprise-Solutions, our analysis of market structure reveals, that most SMEs regard horizontal applications to be of high importance for synchronizing appointments, accessing remotely enterprise data or acquiring contracts from customers by using mobile solutions. It seams obvious, that mobile data services will become a most important element for marketing activities, business management or information gathering. More important than cost reduction for SMEs are advantages for increasing flexibility. Increasing mobility of their employees offers manifold opportunities to improve their Customer Relation Management. Therefore Mobile Enterprise-Solutions become a key-function for intensifying customer relations, improving responsibility and contentness of "multi local workers" as well as optimizing the flexibility of employees being out on business. In order to reap the full benefits of Mobile Enterprise-Solutions it is necessary to implement accordingly technical solutions and to re-organize continuously the value chain from the front to the back end. The full adoption of these potentials creates great challenges to SMEs because many strategic decisions have to be taken with regard to rights of access, expertise and know-how of IT-specialists, extensive planning, education of employees, negotiations with the works council etc. Many SMEs and SOHO, which regard robustly running IT-processes as an asset, therefore shy away from Mobil Enterprise-Solutions. Further challenges extend to securing the availability e. g. in case of data loss or theft of mobile terminals. Especially aspects of IT-security (viruses, intrusion) threaten more than 80% of SMEs and SOHOs. The lag of IT-security is one of the mayor barriers for implementing Mobile Enterprise-Solutions besides the total costs of ownership. The results of this study are based on the analysis of the market structure as well as on primary data gathered by an Online-inquiry conducted in January 2006. Moreover many face-to-face interviews have carried out in order to validate the outcomes of this study. [Full version only available in German]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

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