Mobile applications have become so pervasive in the consumer space that a user can now do anything from their smartphone from setting their home alarms to fighting Darth Vader with a virtual light saber. But in the mobile enterprise space, useful applications have been a little more difficult to come by.
Well, there's hope on the horizon, at least according to Jeanine Sterling, senior analyst at Frost & Sullivan. Sterling recently moderated a webinar, 'Premium Mobile Enterprise Applications: What's Working in North America?' and what she said may be surprising.
For starters, she noted that four mobile enterprise application categories are projected to total $10.9 billion in annual revenues by 2015: mobile office, mobile workforce management, mobile field asset management and mobile sales force automation (SFA). Those categories may not be so surprising, given the profile of the average mobile worker, but the revenue numbers are simply astounding.
During the webinar, Sterling discussed in detail the results of a recent Frost & Sullivan online survey of 300 enterprise mobile and wireless decision makers in North America. Among the results, she noted that 49 percent of respondents consider mobile office applications-one of the four driving categories of mobile enterprise applications-to be a 'must have,' followed by mobile workforce applications at 40 percent. On the flip side, 42 percent of respondents believed next-gen fleet management was 'not at all necessary,' followed by mobile sales force automation at 40 percent.
Judging by the sheer number of vendors in the sales force automation space, you'd think more end users would find such mobile applications more relevant. But of those 40 percent eschewing the technology, 70 percent of those simply said there was no need for the application.
However, those who do use mobile sales force automation applications seem to be pretty happy with them. Of those respondents currently using them, a whopping 59 percent plan to expand their use or application within 12 months.
So what has created this gap? Has sales force automation simply jumped the shark and become too much of a good thing? Or do the vendors in this space need to spend more time refining their ROI message to end users? It's clear that sales force automation seems a natural application for the mobile sales force; what's not clear is why it's having a difficult time penetrating that market.