Wireless e-mail is becoming a necessary expense for enterprises, according to new research released by the Meta Group, which predicts that 65 percent of enterprises will be wireless by 2007. Within the next two years, enterprises will slowly expand the scope of wireless deployments to include thousands of users.
Messaging will be the most-wanted application; 50 percent of organizations will enable wireless e-mail within three years and 75 percent within four years. “The reality of wireless is finally catching up to the enormous hype that has surrounded the technology for years,” reports Jack Gold, VP of the Meta Group. According to the study, it is time for enterprises to realize that they need wireless deployments, and that wireless e-mail is only the beginning in application needs.
The study shows that although the trend is toward large-scale corporate deployments, the average wireless deployment will only include 100 to 200 users, at an estimated cost of $250,000 to $500,000. As this is a significant expense, Meta Group advises seriously considering the challenges before implementing broad wireless deployments, as they go beyond simply device costs.
Some challenges enumerated in the report include: selecting the appropriate device and type of network connectivity; strategies for device ownership (i.e., should corporate own the device or should the employee), maintenance and upgrades; and information and device security. According to Gold, “The smart CIO will spend time and resources evaluating business needs, identifying technology limitations and calculating cost/benefit assessments before deploying wireless applications.”
The Meta Group also stresses that messaging is only the beginning of wireless needs. Gold warns, “As users grow increasingly comfortable with wireless e-mail, they will demand more sophisticated technology.” The study says that the question of applications opens up a “Pandora’s box” of issues for enterprises. But rather than postponing deployment because of these issues, the Meta Group encourages CIOs to develop strategies that can support their employees’ developing needs. Inevitably, the need for sophisticated wireless deployment is at hand.