Mobility Drives IT Spending in 2011

Ann All
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Creating a Bring-Your-Own-Technology (BYOT) Program

12 steps to follow when creating a BYOT program.

It's way too early to tell if 2011 will be the year mobile technology poses a serious threat to the traditional computing experience. (Some would argue it already has.) But if the first month of the year is any indication, it's a pretty safe bet.


It was all mobile, all the time at last week's Consumer Electronics Show, thanks to some key mobile trends spotlighted in a PCWorld article:

  • Mobile devices are being beefed up while applications are being scaled down.
  • 4G technologies are coming, though not as quickly as users would like.
  • Google's Android operating system is coming on strong.


That's consumer technology. I guess we can assume the stodgy enterprise is lagging, as usual? Maybe not. Mobility seems to factor strongly into enterprise IT spending forecasts. An eWEEK article shares updated predictions from Gartner and Forrester Research, both of which mention mobility.


Forrester says global IT spending will reach $1.7 trillion in 2011, up 7.1 percent from last year. Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels is pretty bullish, writing that 2011 will see "new demand for IT goods and services, not pent-up demand from prior years," as was the case in 2010. Gartner says global IT spending will increase 5.1 percent in 2011 to reach $3.6 trillion. Gartner's figure is higher than Forrester's because Forrester does not include telecommunications gear and services. The telecommunications segment will see the strongest growth, according to Gartner, thanks largely to demand for mobile devices. Both Forrester and Gartner predict spending on software and services will outpace hardware spending.


A story on 2011 spending plans quotes a couple CIOs planning to increase their investments in mobile technologies this year. Fifty-four percent of IT executives surveyed in November intend to increase their budgets in 2011, a big jump from the 14 percent that planned to do so at the height of economic insecurity in May of 2009. A whopping 87 percent of respondents believe mobile devices and applications boost employee productivity.


Echoing the Forrester analysis, 57 percent of survey respondents will spend on new projects this year, with 34 percent of that spending allocated for projects designed to increase top-line revenue.


Not since the PC has the enterprise seen a trend so strongly pushed by workers, not employers. Writing on TechRepublic last January, Patrick Gray called bring-your-own-technology the biggest CIO challenge of 2010. Not much has changed since then, though IT organizations are beginning to come up with some workable BYOT solutions that let employees enjoy greater choice while the employer still retains some control. My favorite, suggested by Unisys: Survey employees about their mobile technology preferences via Web-based surveys, then present them with a "white list" of approved technologies and support options.

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