An “explosion” in mobile devices is driving a rapid increase in enterprises’ need for third-party mobility services. However, as detailed in a new Forrester Wave report most third-party mobility services providers do not offer services that can manage the entire enterprise mobility lifecycle.

Buyers Need Speed, Have Options

Forrester begins the report, “Enterprise Mobility Services Q1 13,” with some statistics that illustrate exactly how prevalent the need for enterprise mobility services is becoming. For example, there are now more estimated mobile devices (7.3 billion) than people (7 billion) on earth and 71% of IT services executives say the increased use of smartphones, tablets and the apps running on them will moderately or significantly have an impact on their IT services spending in the next 12 months. And 47% expect to increase their services budget in IT to pay for services while 34% plan to hire a third party to help develop mobile apps.

According to Forrester, enterprise mobility services buyers need fast delivery and reliable performance of services that are adaptable to the constantly expanding range of mobile devices and platforms. In response, service providers are offering industry-specific, fully developed solutions (such as mobile wallets) and relying on reusable tools and IP. Many providers also offer flexible contracts with options such as “pay as you go” to help alleviate buyer concerns about not getting what they paid for or being stuck with unsuitable services and/or technology.

In addition, Forrester says buyers actually have a wide range of enterprise mobility services options. These include expertise in special mobile device factors such as NFC, industry-specific expertise, broad-based expertise and development resources across multiple platforms and end-to-end service capabilities. As Forrester analysis of top enterprise mobile services providers shows, not every provider offers every one of these options, but buyers can look for services vendors with particular strengths in particular areas.

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Leaders – IBM is Number One

Forrester places IBM at the head of the “leaders” pack of enterprise mobility services providers due to its “world class” IBM Interactive design agency, technology capabilities, global presence and “significant investment” in R&D of “bleeding edge” mobility solutions. In addition, IBM can offer enterprise mobility services clients cross-consulting from its many other domain areas.

Forrester credits Accenture for being able to offer Global 2000 clients pre-built or custom solutions for almost any need. Accenture is also given kudos for its portable usability testing/development expertise and wide range of experience consulting with many different industries.

Lauded as a leading provider of “ready to go” solutions, especially for mobile banking and retail, Infosys offers quick time-to-value and offers a high level of competency in technical development as well as prototyping/design of the mobile user experience.

HCL offers pre-built mobile solutions for industry verticals including CPG and public sector and prebuilt tablet and smartphone apps. HCL solutions can be deployed as either standalone applications or as an integrated part of an enterprise suite from a leading ERP vendor such as Oracle or SAP, although HCL offers its own end-to-end service capabilities.

Forrester recommends Wipro for users with larger enterprise mobility needs, such as those in verticals like pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. Forrester cautions that Wipro does not offer advanced design capabilities, but does have a “deep developer pool” including centers of excellence for the Android and Windows 8 platforms.

TCS is recognized for providing end-to-end mobility solutions that are especially strong in leading-edge areas such as location-based computing. Specific verticals where TCS offers a large amount of expertise include transportation, insurance and retail.

Forrester includes Cognizant as a leader because of the company’s strength in UI design, developer expertise across numerous mobile platforms and investment in leading edge areas such as NFC and augmented reality. Customers in life sciences and financial services are especially advised to consider Cognizant.

Consulting firm PwC offers a “strong, robust, holistic” approach to enterprise mobility with solid process consulting expertise and background in numerous industries. However, Forrester advises that PwC does not offer as deep a technical developer resource pool as some other leaders.

Telco giant AT&T receives high marks for offering end-to-end mobility services in a range of verticals and its ability to bundle enterprise mobility services with other enterprise telco offerings. However, bundling only applies to existing customers in certain geographies.

Atos focuses on offering industry-specific enterprise mobility services and solutions and operates design centers in multiple global locations. Forrester says Atos differentiates with “innovative pricing” and is especially strong in the European market.

In addition, Forrester identifies CSC and CGI as strong performers. CSC is recognized for helping clients transition into a mobile work environment and focusing on security, while CGI is mentioned for its 2012 purchase of Logica, which will improve its capabilities but also may offer some “bumps in the road” as Logica assets are integrated internally.