European firms now spend 32% of their telecom and networking budgets on mobility, according to Forrester Research.

In its report “The State Of European Enterprise Mobility In 2006”, the analyst firm sets out how the opportunity for greater productivity, cost savings, and boosted employee morale has put mobility at the core of strategic agendas.

Today, more than 70% of the 335 enterprises surveyed are using some type of mobile application. A third of businesses say that setting mobile and wireless strategy and policy is a priority in 2006; for another 16%, it’s a critical priority.

Forrester claims mobility provides the enabling technology for business practices like flexible working, with quantifiable benefits.

However, it also reports that mobility projects raise cost and reliability concerns, especially as businesses start to enhance their enterprise applications – like sales force and field force applications - with mobility. The firm said enterprises need to stay focused on identifying needs while taking a step-by-step approach to realise the full benefits.

Report author and Forrester analyst, Jenny Lau, said: “It’s good news that enterprises are strategically planning for mobility and benefiting from it. However, there is a risk that mobility will remain a strategic agenda point that doesn’t get realized. To turn strategy into reality, firms must devise a strategy and plan pilots with users, set handset policies early, and have contingency plans in place. In addition, it’s best to start small. Firms should see how mobility could give existing infrastructure a boost rather than planning for an ERP overhaul at the outset.”