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Customers Will Switch Wireless Carriers For Better Device Management

CIOs feel mobile devices improve productivity, but say effective management of these devices is becoming increasingly difficult, according to a survey.

Two-thirds of businesses would be willing to switch wireless carriers for mobile device management, according to survey results released on Thursday by Mformation Technologies.

Businesses are currently facing many challenges that stem from a growing mobile workforce, the rapid introduction of new smartphones, and the demand for mobile applications. CIOs feel that the use of mobile devices by employees improves productivity, but at the same time they find that effective management of these devices is becoming increasingly difficult, according to Mformation, a provider of mobile device management software.

Mformation recently surveyed CIOs from large businesses and found that 45% of the CIOs are looking to wireless carriers to assist them with the management of mobile devices. Furthermore, 62% of the CIOs said they would change their existing carrier if a competing carrier offered them a complete mobile device management package.

The survey was conducted by research firm Coleman Parkes and included interviews with 200 CIOs and telecommunications directors at companies with operations in the U.S. and Europe.

One survey conclusion is that businesses want wireless carriers to play a larger role in helping them deal with the growing complexity of mobile workers and applications. Eighty-two percent of CIOs reported that managing mobile devices has become increasingly difficult.

The majority of the CIOs surveyed (95%) are looking for products and services for managing and securing mobile devices and applications. Eighty-eight percent expect carriers to play a role in mobile device management, while 60% would prefer to make an arrangement with carriers that would give their IT department direct control over company-issued mobile devices.

CIOs want to provide a high level of device and network security, while being able to remotely support users. By having the option of remote support, they can identify and fix problems quickly, send updates to mobile devices wirelessly, and keep support costs under control. But most CIOs today feel that they're on their own when it comes to managing mobile devices; 60% of U.S.-based businesses surveyed didn't have a positive opinion of device management support currently provided by carriers.

That's why many businesses are taking matters into their own hands. Seventy-four percent said they have increased investment in data and system security, and 71% are allocating more resources to staff training, according to the survey.

Another option for businesses is to turn to mobile platform providers for support. Research In Motion offers mobile device management products and services to its BlackBerry users, and Microsoft last month introduced a server for managing and securing Windows Mobile-based devices. Microsoft's System Center Mobile Device Manager, due in the first half of 2008, will become a direct competitor of RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Third-party tools for mobile e-mail control are being offered as well by providers such as Altiris and LANDesk.

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