Increasing replication of desktop computing environments on mobile devices is opening up the market to IT service providers which will pose a threat to mobile operators, an Ovum report has found.
The 'Managed mobility is the front in the ICT wars' report claims mobility is becoming a major plank of most IT service providers' offerings.
Until now the most commonly deployed applications on PDAs and smartphone devices has been email, which has been relatively simple to roll out. However, newer applications being deployed today required more complex integration with existing systems and often required considerable customisation, Ovum said.
"The challenge is that this type of task is one most mobile operators are poorly equipped to deal with, whereas it is very similar to the type of application integration and customisation that is the 'bread and butter' of large IT service providers [ITSPs]," the report's authors, Jeremy Green and Jan Dawson, wrote.
"The ITSPs recognise this opportunity and are developing broad mobility offerings as one of several planks of their push into network services."
Such services also open up a new channel for the application vendors who, until now, have relied on mobile operators to get their solutions into enterprises.
"As application deployment becomes more complex, more and more application vendors are working with IT service providers to develop alternative channels which are capable of providing the greater level of customisation and integration [as well as support] that enterprises are increasingly demanding," the report stated. "They are skeptical about the abilities of mobile operators to develop these skills in-house and are banking on the ITSPs to be a major part of these solutions going forward."
Ovum predicted the war between operators and service providers will be fought over the coming years, with ITSPs succeeding in very large complex application deployments. Carriers were more likely to be successful with more automated, generic applications and smaller deployments.