Only a third of firms have had a mobile business strategy for over a year, and the rest either have no strategy or are only in the early stages of adopting one.
This is according to research from Forrester, which questioned over 200 firms. "Despite the fact that mobile is the technology that has reached the greatest ubiquity in the shortest time - more than 5 billion connections established worldwide in less than 20 years - the largest companies have not yet moved away from the trial stage," said Forrester analyst Thomas Husson in his new report, "How Mature Is Your Mobile Strategy?".
The research also found that brands in media, travel, and financial services are the most likely to have the most mature mobile strategy.
Firms said mobile is seen as a way to increase customer engagement, satisfaction and loyalty, not generate direct revenues. Over half (52 percent of firms) see increasing customer engagement as their number one mobile goal.
Almost one-third of companies don't have a single executive in charge of defining their mobile consumer strategy and 46 percent of survey respondents reported that one or fewer employees work full time for their company's mobile efforts globally.
The research showed that 70 percent of firms will increase their mobile budget in 2011, with one in four companies doubling or tripling their mobile budget.
But whilst investment is ongoing, Husson said: "It's early days in the mobile world, particularly with regard to measurement. Although firms are making an effort to establish a collaborative and qualitative vision for mobile in the future, the majority of them fail to quantify precise objectives, allocate costs, and measure the overall success of their mobile business."
The Forrester research was based on a survey and interviews with firms in the US (40 percent of those questioned), Europe (40 percent) and elsewhere (20 percent). Three-quarters of firms questioned employed over 1,000 employees.
At the back office, Forrester says there is some progress. Although the adoption of mobile business processes is well behind the take-up of mobile business email and calendaring, firms are expected to increase their adoption as suppliers launch more easier-to-deploy packaged solutions.
Forrester recently published its "Mobile Applications will Empower Enterprise Business Processes" report, which is based on consultations with 12 leading business applications firms, including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com, SAP, and Sybase, along with Blackberry maker Research in Motion. The report said mobile applications for business use are receiving "a great deal of attention from package application software vendors" and "considerable interest" from business process professionals at firms.