If you can’t imagine a time when you didn’t have access to a smartphone to help you run your business, you’re not alone. A new study by technology solutions provider CDW polled small-business owners and found that more and more, they’re relying on mobile devices for everyday business tasks—and that reliance is accelerating rapidly. Here are some of the trends uncovered in The Mobility Edge: CDW’s 2012 Small Business Mobility Report and what they might mean to your business.
Mobile Devices Pay OffThe top benefit companies see from use of mobile devices is speed; 94 percent of the small-businesses users surveyed say mobile devices make them more efficient. Respondents also cited improved communication between the main office and workers in the field, greater responsiveness leading to better customer service, and better collaboration thanks to the ease of accessing and sharing information.
Mobile devices are no longer a luxury but a necessity. Some 75 percent of mobile users say mobile devices are now “critical” to their jobs, and 67 percent say their businesses would be less competitive without the use of mobile devices.
It’s Not All BYODWhile we hear a lot about the “bring your own device” approach, that’s not the only way small businesses are handling mobility. In fact, nearly 80 percent of small-business IT managers have given their workforce company-owned smartphones, and 25 percent have given them tablets.
That’s not to say BYOD is a myth; 89 percent of IT managers say their employees use their own mobile devices for work. However, small businesses aren’t yet dealing with BYOD risks effectively. Just 51 percent of IT managers whose companies have BYOD in place say they have an effective strategy for managing and securing personal devices.
Tablets are Catching Up
Smartphone adoption is widespread, which is why IT managers predict it to grow by just 33 percent in the next 2 years. By comparison, tablet use is projected to grow by 117 percent in that time frame. However, smartphones still win out in terms of both adoption and usefulness, with 49 percent of mobile users saying smartphones are the most helpful in everyday work tasks, and 60 percent saying smartphones have made the biggest difference in how their company does business.
Will computers become obsolete? It could happen sooner than you think. Some 36 percent of IT managers say at least some employees in their business have replaced their desktop or laptop computer with a smartphone or tablet, and 20 percent expect more employees to do so in the next two years. This trend was especially prevalent in foodservice and construction businesses.
Visit the CDW site to download the full report.
How are you using mobile in your business? How is it changing the way you work?