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Demand for Mobile Enterprise Applications

The mobile employee is mandating more solutions to answer a broader set of needs, spurring the strong growth of the worldwide mobile enterprise application (MEA) market. Understanding the significance of these needs requires taking a truly holistic assessment of the application environment.

According to a new IDC study, the mobile enterprise application market reached $1.2 billion in 2005 and IDC forecasts that this market will grow to $3.5 billion in 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent.

"Vendors and organizations alike must recognize that MEA's are not just about mobilizing a particular application, but rather delivering a set of composite applications based on the mobile workers business processes," said Stephen Drake, program director of IDC's Mobile Enterprise research.

"Recognizing this, the underlying platform infrastructure plays a critical role in the delivery of such MEA's. Vendors must continue to enhance their platform or otherwise look to support other existing platforms. Organizations should seek out suppliers that offer a robust underlying infrastructure to support the applications and provide enterprise-grade scalability for future expansion."

"The worldwide growth of cellular networks, the proliferation of handheld devices, and a general level of 'connection' in individual's personal lives are quickly finding their way into the enterprise," said Mary Wardley, vice president of IDC's CRM applications research.

"The current trend in enterprise applications is to 'mobilize' the application by giving employees access to salient portions of the application's content while working in an 'always available' mode with various levels of connectivity."

IDC believes the following factors are driving and impacting this emerging market:

- Varying requirements for application functionality and data based on employee role and time criticality;

- Ability for carriers, device manufacturers, ISVs, and systems integrators to provide packaged solutions to end-user organizations;

- Sophistication of organizations as it relates to mobility, and;

- Horizontal deployments across organizations that drive collaborative, customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

This study also indicates that the entry into mobile enterprise applications is one that all enterprise applications vendors must consider and include in their applications portfolio to a greater or lesser extent.

In order to be successful, IDC recommends that vendors realign their understanding of the 'user experience' in the context of mobile enterprise applications. The value to the user will be increased by what is not visible to them by virtue of the behind-the-scenes automation.

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