Businesses Adopting Mobile Devices at a Rapid Clip, but Investment Down

March, 2017

The development curve of smartphones and tablets has slowed, and applications for these devices—rather than the devices themselves—are where the innovation is. Moreover, data from our annual survey of technology trends shows a high adoption rate, but other metrics, particularly around ROI and cost of ownership, are mixed.

Figure 1 from our full report, Mobile Devices/Wearables Adoption Trends and Customer Experience, shows that adoption and satisfaction are high, but future investment and ROI is low.

Mobile fig 1 - Businesses Adopting Mobile Devices at a Rapid Clip, but Investment Down

Mobile devices and wearables enjoy a 58% adoption rate—one of the highest of the 12 technologies surveyed in our annual Technology Trends study. But investment rates are not nearly as high. In 2016, 44% of organizations reported investing in mobile devices and wearables, but that percentage dropped to 30% in 2017—a somewhat surprising decline.

Our definition of mobile and wearable devices includes company-supported smartphones, tablet computers, mobile data collection scanners, smart watches, wearable devices, and other mobile devices. We do not include traditional laptop computers in this category, although we do include convertible tablets, such as Microsoft’s Surface.

Companies should be advised that use of mobile devices and wearables present security and privacy concerns for IT organizations that need to support them on the network. Another drawback is the lack of interoperability with laptops and servers. Many organizations also face a challenge developing acceptable-use policies for mobile devices in the workplace.

“The adoption of mobile devices in the enterprise is going strong, but the investment decline shows that this market is at a crossroads,” said Tom Dunlap, director of research for Computer Economics, an IT industry research firm based in Irvine, Calif. “This is a typical pattern as companies embrace the growing pains of a new, quickly adopted technology.  Mobile innovations could cause the investment rate to rise again, however current smartphones show little sign of major breakthroughs.”

The full report provides an overview of key concepts and vendors in this space. We then examine mobile devices and wearables adoption and investment trends, providing data on how many organizations have the technology in place, how many are in the process of implementing it, and how many are expanding implementations. We also look at the return on investment experience, total cost of ownership experience, and which type of applications are the most popular.

This Research Byte is based on our report on this subject, Mobile Devices/Wearables Adoption Trends and Customer Experience. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).