In all the excitement surrounding the launch of SharePoint 2010 in May 2010 another very significant development was overlooked, and that was the purchase of Sybase by SAP. This acquisition brought together business intelligence (in its widest definition) and mobile network management expertise.

In June, Apple launched the iPhone 4 and in September along came the Microsoft Windows 7 Phone with good integration with SharePoint. For these, and a number of other reasons, the stage was set for a quite dramatic level of interest in the use of smartphones to access enterprise information applications, a market space I define as Enterprise Information Mobility.  

These developments did not come as a surprise to the relatively small number of companies who reported in the Global Intranet Trends Report 2011 that they had a strategy for mobile phone access to intranet content. As a result it was also not a surprise that six of the ten organizations featured in the Nielsen Norman Intranet Design Annual 2011 had taken quite significant steps to provide employees with access to some sections of their intranets, notably staff directories.

Both the Nielsen Norman and Net/JMC reports capture the situation as it was in probably mid-2010. Since then, a number of surveys, notably from MicroStrategy and Sybase, indicate that 2011 is going to be the year when mobile access to enterprise information becomes a main-stream priority.

Mobile Access to Business Intelligence

A primary driver for this is being able to provide employees with access to business intelligence information. According to a recent Aberdeen Group study, best-in-class companies are achieving a speed-of decision that is 70% faster than industry averages and five times faster than companies who are not offering mobile access. That business advantage is a very impressive ROI justification.

The degree of consensus between Gartner, IDCForrester, Aberdeen Group and many other market watcher consultancies is remarkably high, and it is not surprising that -- for example -- IBM, Unisys, SAP, Cisco, Symantec and all the mobile handset companies (including Apple) are pushing enterprise information mobility very hard indeed. Notably, in January 2011 PwC devoted its entire 60 page Q1 Technology Forecast to this new market and technology opportunity.