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Temur Durrani

Multi-Platform Writer


The pace of business investment in mobile technology has rapidly accelerated by nearly six years over the past 18 months, almost entirely because of the pandemic, according to new research released Tuesday.

And if that trajectory continues, mobile operators themselves will have to invest an estimated US$900 billion in total through 2025 to meet ballooning demand, the GSM Association said.

But while many organizations have already seen a return on their mobility investments, they still have gaps around fully integrating their portfolio of internal-use devices or don’t have good enough security for it, making it a barrier to meet their full potential for profitability and growth, found a new report by SOTI Inc. 

The global mobile tech management company, headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario polled 1,400 senior managers and directors in eight markets with 50 or more employees: the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., Germany, Sweden, France and Australia. 

“Our goal here was to really understand what the mobile landscape looks like today,” said Shash Anand, SOTI’s vice-president of product strategy, in a phone interview ahead of a wide release Tuesday. “We’re still adapting to a new normal with COVID-19 or some have already adapted to it, so we wanted to see where people are investing and what they’re thinking now.”

The results are a mixed bag of surprising and predictable answers, Anand added. 

At least 79 per cent of respondents said their organization's executive managers realize the importance of mobile technology much more now than they did before the pandemic. 

On top of that, the report found that 64 per cent of companies have changed the way staff were trained or contracted to work with that technology, with 67 per cent already receiving positive returns.

Still, 56.9 per cent of executives said although their organization’s portfolio of mobile devices has grown, managing that sudden increase is proving difficult. And 66.2 per cent believe more needs to be done to improve the agility and adaptability of their enterprise.

“I see this as some good and some not so much,” said Anand, explaining that the results indicate how many businesses are doing the right thing by investing in the first place. 

“However, what it also shows us is that these businesses might not have the right device management technology in place or that they don't have any such management at all.”

That includes aspects such as troubleshooting mechanisms, integration of their full devices and secure storage of data among other tools, he said. 

“Think about it from the perspective of someone who’s working in delivery and does not have access to the internet or is completely remote at the time or probably most of the time. They can’t afford that downtime if problems occur with their mobile device, and so that loss of productivity means loss of revenue as well,” said Anand.

“Organizations need to be able to have these issues handled before they occur.”

Companies polled by SOTI seem to agree. Over 65 per cent said they need better business intelligence to help navigate future unforeseen issues, and 60.8 per cent said they require better tools to diagnose issues before they become a problem.

“We don’t see this acceleration to mobile devices stopping anytime soon,” said Anand. “So, companies must start adapting to how they manage things now.”

The report found, over the next 12 months, more than three-quarters of organizations are considering an increase to their expenditure in mobile devices, systems or security. And almost half plan to commit more funding towards system integration or replacing legacy systems.

“At the end of the day, this is about putting yourself ahead of the pack,” said Anand. “The companies who see mobility as an opportunity to enable progress and innovation rather than an added mandate will only propel further.”