UK and US businesses are embracing mobile at an unprecedented rate with a third of companies planning to launch four or more mobile projects in the next 12-18 months – but frustrations around the cost, complexity, management and timescale of those projects are growing, according to a Vanson Bourne poll of 1,000 CIOs and business unit leaders in the UK and US.

IT and business decision-makers interviewed for the report revealed that enabling employee mobility is now as much of a priority for companies as establishing a customer-facing mobile presence: 43 per cent of companies on both sides of the Atlantic are currently working on a mobile app for their customers – only 1 per cent more than are currently working on a mobile app for their employees.

The report also found that 45 per cent of companies are working on developing a mobile website for consumers, suggesting that there is now widespread acceptance that having a mobile presence is about more than just apps.

The forecast reveals that UK and US companies are working with an average of three separate mobile solutions vendors simultaneously, highlighting the general inability of suppliers to address multiple aspects of the mobile value chain. The report shows that companies undertaking concurrent development are likely to see their mobile business strategies become increasingly fragmented, hampered by redundant technologies, and difficult to manage.

Mobile devices are now so ubiquitous that a business without a mobile strategy is a business without a strategy. Investment in mobile is growing at a meteoric rate, and that’s partly due to companies thinking beyond the app and beyond the idea that mobile is only critical when it comes to consumer engagement.

Of course, the stresses and strains of joining the mobile revolution are still too much for many businesses to handle. Only when companies can quickly, securely and cost-effectively mobilise themselves whenever, wherever, and however they need to, will we see them unlocking the true potential of the mobile channel.

“Mobile technology has changed the way that people interact, and the implications for business are equally profound,” said Eugene Signorini, Senior Vice President of Research for Yankee Group.” The question today is how companies seize the opportunities afforded to them by mobility while still maintaining control and visibility. Today an organisation must consider the entire mobile experience and approach enterprise mobility in a holistic, unified fashion to satisfy both employees and customers and drive new revenues and growth.”

The research showed that 45 per cent of IT and business decision makers in the UK and US are dissatisfied with the speed at which the mobile projects they commission get to market. In addition, 42 per cent of respondents attested to being frequently dissatisfied with the eventual cost of the solutions deployed.

The report revealed that, on average, projects commissioned by UK and US companies take over six months to come to fruition, with one in 10 taking a year or more to complete. However, most businesses need to move fast and effectively if they’re going to compete in today’s tough economic climate.