When much of the business of doing business happens away from the office—at customer sites, in remote locations, on the road—lack of control and information can drive up costs and bog down efficiency. A new study by international growth consultancy Frost and Sullivan analyzes the potential of mobile resource management (MRM) solutions, finding three target markets poised to grow significantly in the next two years.
Frost defines MRM as “a category of business productivity solutions to help companies better manage mobile resources.” The study, titled “U.S. Mobile Resource Management Markets,” drills down into three key markets, field force management (FFM), field service automation (FSA) and sales force automation (SFA), detailing the opportunities and restraints of each.
“What we see as really driving this market is increasing pressure on enterprises to utilize MRM as a means of gaining competitive advantage,” explains Brent Iadarola, mobile communications analyst at Frost and author of the report. “Whereas, in the past, MRM has been a competitive advantage, we believe it will shift to be a competitive requirement.”
Frost sees 2004 as the “inflection point,” with networks and
applications beginning to deliver on their promises of increased productivity. The major challenge, other than the technology, still remains making the enterprise sell. “Businesses are still just getting their toes wet,” explains Iadarola. “As they begin to deploy these solutions and see tangible ROI, then the amount of deployments will begin to accelerate.” Iadarola expects this acceleration around 2006.
In terms of FFM, including the transportation and distribution verticals, Frost expects MRM adoption to grow by 96 percent in 2004, with a projection that FFM will account for $347 million out of the total $1.2 billion spent on MRM in 2006. MRM adoption in key FSA verticals, like utilities and telecom, is projected to grow 89 percent in 2004, and spend $449 million in 2006. The SFA market, including healthcare and insurance, is projected to spend $431 million in 2006 on MRM.
Challenges facing all three markets include network coverage issues, data security and the cost and complexity of integration. However, Iadarola is confident that “even with all the restraints, the advantages of deploying MRM solutions will outweigh the costs in only a couple of years.”
—Teresa von Fuchs