If enterprises don’t see mobile computing as being business critical, they’d better hope they’re correct in that assumption, according to one analyst.

Kevin Burden, program manager, Smart Handheld Devices for research firm IDC made the comment at a recent ComputerWorld Canada Technology Insights seminar series

in Toronto.

During his keynote, Burden noted that most enterprises have pushed mobile computing to the side as they cope with the current economic downturn. But with mobile poised to pick up – IDC has predicted that sales of handheld devices such as PDAs will triple to 14 million by 2005 – the technology is expected to play a crucial role in tackling enterprise issues such as database access, supply chain management and sales force automation.

Wireless and handhelds are witnessing better integration, Burden said, adding that while “wireless (deployment) doesn’t have to be done right now,” enterprises that gamble on surviving without a defined mobile strategy may be ill-positioned when mobile computing takes off.