Jeanine Sterling's Blog

Does Canada Lag the U.S. on Mobile Enterprise Applications?

23 Dec 2010 | by Jeanine Sterling
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This past Spring, we administered our second annual survey of North American companies, examining preferences and plans around specific mobile enterprise solutions.  The survey focused on Canada and the U.S., specifically targeting the decision-makers or very strong influencers of mobile and wireless purchases in 307 businesses. 

Four mobile solution categories were addressed:

  • Mobile Office – Allows employees to use push email on their wireless devices and also manage their work by using PIM and calendar tools. 
  • Mobile Workforce Management – Uses GPS-equipped mobile handsets to locate, track and manage mobile field workers and their tasks.
  • Next-Generation Fleet Management – Tracks local field fleet vehicles, typically via hard-mounted black boxes.  Leverages GPS location technology and web-based tracking systems.
  • Mobile Sales Force Automation – Extends corporate CRM/SFA systems to mobile handhelds, and allows sales reps to access product info, pricing, inventory status, customer data, etc.

Similar to last year, we asked respondents about the company’s perceived need for each of the app categories above, their deployment plans over the next few years, purchase barriers, and how they measure ROI if they’ve already deployed the solution.  This year, we added a number of questions for current users of an app, including: level of satisfaction, type(s) of devices used, level of customization required (and whether that was handled internally or by a third party), use of pilots, premise or hosted approach, etc.

Overall, the deployment story for each of the four application categories was impressive.  However, the delta between Canadian and U.S. implementations was eye-opening.  In each application category, Canadian respondents as a whole were significantly more entrenched in the belief that they would not be introducing the app anytime soon.  Why?  They just don’t see the need.  When asked “How necessary would the mobile solution (Mobile Workforce Management, Mobile SFA, etc.) be in helping to meet your organization’s business goals?,” a far lower proportion of Canadian companies responded positively.  For example, regarding Mobile SFA solutions, 41% of U.S. respondents viewed the solution as Very Necessary compared to only 22% of Canadian respondents.  That's a substantial gap in perceived value.

We believe this mobile app "disconnect" between U.S. and Canadian companies can be laid directly at the feet of the wireless carriers – and in our next post, we’ll explore why.