A strategic look at your business environment may prove mobile only to be a smart move.

A survey finds enterprises are increasingly supporting a diverse mobile workforce. (as in eWeek by: Nathan Eddy


Global enterprises are shifting to mobile-only communications more rapidly than expected—as well as adopting unified communications services more broadly, according to the results from the BroadSoft (NASDAQ: BSFT) 2011 Mobile Enterprise of the Future Survey. Notably, 25 percent of enterprise IT decision-makers believe desk phones will be replaced by mobile phones within two years, and 82 percent of enterprises have employees currently using mobile applications for communications and collaboration.

The 2011 BroadSoft survey, conducted by Cohen Research Group, gathered insight from 200 U.S. and 200 U.K. IT decision-makers (CXOs, vice presidents and directors) at enterprises of all sizes. The results indicate enterprises are increasingly supporting a diverse mobile workforce and a challenging range of mobile platforms and are rapidly prioritizing the expansion of their unified communications capabilities.

Survey results were drawn from respondents with significant input in IT purchasing decisions. More than three-quarters (76 percent) said they were the sole decision-makers on mobile and unified communications IT purchases, while the remaining 24 percent shared that responsibility. The survey found 44 percent of enterprises surveyed have at least one-quarter of their workforce operating solely using a mobile phone, and 82 percent of enterprises have employees using mobile apps for communications and collaboration. Already, 30 percent of enterprises support tablets, while 51 percent support BlackBerry devices; 40 percent, iPhones; and 31 percent, Android phones.

Sixty-two percent of IT leaders are expanding their enterprise’s unified communications capabilities, with instant messaging, Web collaboration and video conferencing identified as the top UC services they are looking to support on mobile devices over the next three years. Seventy-two percent of IT decision-makers in the United States are looking to deploy video conferencing across their organization in the next year, compared with 56 percent in the United Kingdom.

Enterprises believe their mobile network operator (MNO) is better positioned to deliver many UC services (including video calling and conferencing, Web conferencing, voicemail, presence management and instant messaging) than fixed line providers, Microsoft, Google or IBM. When asked who could best deliver a complete, integrated set of unified communications services, “my mobile service provider,” Microsoft and Google were the top choices among respondents.

“Enterprise end users are demanding their IT department support a consumer-grade communications experience that includes access to advanced communications services and applications across their preferred mobile communication device,” said Leslie Ferry, vice president of marketing for BroadSoft. “More telling is the fact the survey revealed that mobile network operators have a compelling but closing window of opportunity to be the preferred provider of choice when it comes to delivering unified communications services that keep mobile employees connected via video, instant messaging, Web conferencing and presence management, indicating MNOs need to act now, before competitors erode their customer base.”

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