Mobilizing email tops priority list among large enterprises and SMBs in Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East, says IDC

PRAGUE, CZ – March 20, 2006 – Recreating the desktop experience, and particularly email access, is top of the list of priorities for companies with mobile workers. According to a new IDC multiclient survey of mobility among enterprises in the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe, users in both regions ranked access to email as the number 1 requirement for mobile workers. Mobile and remote access to desktop applications and Internet access also ranked high, while mobilization of more complex enterprise applications took a back seat to the essentials of the work environment.

"Enterprises in the region are playing catch up on basic mobile connectivity needs that enable increased productivity among their mobile workforce," said Mohsen Malaki, senior program manager for communications and consulting, IDC CEMA. "Mobile operators in the region have only very recently introduced mobile office solutions for the enterprise and SMB segments, and customers are eager to adopt them. For all the fanfare operators have created around things like videoconferencing and mpayments, it's the everyday tools for getting things done that are and will be in demand among users considering mobile solutions."

According to IDC's survey, over 80% of enterprises in Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East report some level of workforce mobility.

Nevertheless, the proportion of workers considered highly mobile in both regions is still quite low overall, in the range of 15% to 20%.

"Interestingly, our survey revealed that although large and very large enterprises have a greater number of highly mobile staff," said John Gole, program manager, communications, IDC CEMA, "the smaller the organization, the more mobile its workers tend to be." While the average small enterprise has a higher penetration of mobile devices and subscriptions among its employees, larger enterprises have thus far enabled remote access to email to more of their employees. These larger enterprises are, depending on the vertical sector, either in the process of further expanding the availability of mobile email to their employees or are considering mobilizing other enterprise applications such as CRM and ERP. Smaller enterprises, on the other hand, are more focused on mobilizing email.

"This has important strategic implications for product development and the go-to-market strategies of operators and mobile middleware and device vendors," said Gole. "One-size-fits-all solutions do not effectively address the mobility demands of enterprises across different size segments.

While the average SMB seems to fit the bill for prepackaged mobility solutions such as mobile email access, large enterprises have more tailored needs."

In the move to mobilize enterprise applications other than email, the primary external supplier that enterprises would prefer to partner with varies significantly by country, business size, and vertical sector. In the Middle East, the mobile operator is not viewed favorably as a solutions provider, for example. "The lack of confidence in the mobile operator seen in the Middle East is a wake-up call to these operators: Either they improve their product portfolio and brand image as a mobility partner or they lose out in the lucrative enterprise market as large enterprises resort to software, device, or IT services vendors for their mobility needs, reducing the role of the mobile operator to a mere data-pipe provider."

Compared to their counterparts in the Middle East, mobile operators in Central and Eastern European countries are viewed more positively as partners in mobilizing enterprise applications other than email. In CEE, the mobile operator is most frequently viewed as the primary provider of mobility solutions for non-email enterprise applications, though mobile operators have only a slight lead over other suppliers in the enterprise mobility value chain. "Operators in Central and Eastern Europe have excellent upsell opportunities to such enterprises, retaining the client interface while partnering with other suppliers along the enterprise mobility value chain, such as software and IT services companies, to deliver the needed solutions. They must work hard to maintain that edge, though, as IT services providers and enterprise application developers are also frequently cited as the primary provider of mobility solutions," said Malaki.

Malaki and Gole present selected results and strategic implications of IDC's Mobilizing the Enterprise multiclient study at an IDC telebriefing on April 6, 2006, 12:00 noon EST. They examine how mobility is changing the way enterprises in the CEMA region interact with employees, partners, and customers. Although enterprise mobility is not a new concept, the technological evolution in all parts of the ecosystem (from WAN infrastructure, middleware to devices) have brought about a dramatic difference in the way vendors and companies view enterprise mobility and the benefits it can bring to any organization.

This IDC multiclient study, Mobilizing the Enterprise in CEMA, presents:

— How is the mobility ecosystem playing out, and how is it likely to evolve?

— What are the primary access technologies (GPRS, EDGE, WiFi, etc.) and devices favored by organizations?

— Which departments and individuals within a company will use or are using mobile solutions?

— To what extent will enterprises outsource or rely on in-house teams?

— What are the areas of opportunity, and what are some of the pitfalls vendors should be watching out for?

To inquire about the results of this IDC multiclient study or the related IDC telebriefing, please contact Mark Yates at

About IDC

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