While mobile internet has been around for some time, it’s only now that it is really starting to gain momentum as a valuable business tool.

By all accounts, the next two years will be a crucial time for mobile internet. Already mobile web access is trailing only slightly behind desktop access, and data from Online Marketing Trends reveals that by 2014 mobile internet use will have overtaken desktop access.

In technology terms that’s a long time. But in terms of mobilising corporate processes to accommodate such change, it’s no time at all.

Everybody’s doing it, aren’t they?

Given mobile’s rising profile, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most companies have jumped on the bandwagon, but they haven’t.

Magus recently carried out a study, in partnership with Investis, to see just how far mobile web has penetrated FTSE 100 corporate sites.

We found that only 20% of the UK’s largest corporations currently provide support for mobile devices. A similar study by PR Firm Burston Marsteller last year found that only 38% of Fortune 50 companies had a mobile optimised website.

So why aren’t businesses fully embracing mobile? It would be easy to claim that they are waiting for technology to catch up.

There is a wealth of CMS functionality out there for mobile web, all of it focused on optimising content delivery and user experience. The problem is that many businesses just aren’t using it.

Thinking along different lines

Part of the issue is the fact that mobile has grown so very fast. For many large businesses, the trouble isn’t that they are ignoring mobile, it’s that the market is evolving too rapidly for them to assess the level of opportunity that’s out there.

Even companies at the forefront of corporate mobile provision are struggling to adapt to the demands of the new channel.

At the same time, organisations are having to get to grips with how the shift from PC to mobile affects the content and functionality they serve up to users. Our research indicates that many are still finding their way in this area, with much mobile content having been repurposed from desktop sites.

So, what should businesses be doing?

Making the most of mobile

As always, early adoption is key. Mobile web has the potential to transform corporate communications,  and there are three key ways that organisations can ensure they secure the vital competitive advantage:

1.       Mobile-specific content. Repurposing desktop content leads to usability issues. To avoid this and ensure a rich user experience, businesses need ensure their content is created with mobile users in mind and that editors understand the difference between mobile and desktop requirements. 

2.       Mobile-specific standards. Our report revealed that desktop and mobile sites have all-too-similar levels of mobile content optimisation issues. It appears web teams are applying the same standards to both mobile sites and desktop sites – but to maximise the mobile channel, organisations need to have mobile-specific standards in place.

3.       Updating and monitoring. Like desktop sites, mobile sites can become stale and out-of-date. The only way to ensure their integrity over time is to establish an ongoing monitoring programme.