Whether it’s a builder en route to the office reaching a superintendent in the field via smartphone or a consultant collaborating on a tablet with colleagues across the country, mobile technology drives business success today.
A new study, The Mobility Edge: CDW’s 2012 Small Business Mobility Report, finds that 94 percent of small-business users surveyed say their mobile devices make them more efficient, while 67 percent believe their companies would lose competitive ground without those tools. Based on responses from 752 mobile device users and IT professionals from U.S. small businesses in five industries, the report focuses on trends such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives and mobile apps.
Small-business users consider productivity and business apps on mobile devices to be game-changers that make them more efficient and competitive. Sixty percent say smartphones have made the greatest change in the way their company does business.
Ask builders or contractors about their smartphones, and more often than not they’ll tell you they live on the devices. A full 85 percent of construction respondents view mobile devices as critical to their jobs. Steve Kendrick, owner of Structures Building Company in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., says his 10 project managers rely on Android phones for communication (primarily voice and e-mail). By the end of the year, he will begin piloting tablets to provide project managers with access to plans, specifications and subcontractor proposals in the field via Dropbox.
The rapid expansion of mobile devices in business does not come without its challenges. This burgeoning demand also calls for solutions to manage and secure mobile devices. According to the CDW report, 22 percent of small business IT managers say their company has deployed or plans to deploy mobile device management software.
IT managers in companies that have deployed MDM solutions cite numerous benefits, including IT security (53 percent), workforce productivity (46 percent) and backup and disaster recovery (34 percent).
As innovative mobile devices continue to hit the market, businesses will need some time to adjust. Here are some recommendations for getting the most out of a company’s mobile devices:
Additionally, there’s no better way to show the outside world that your company understands mobility than by having sites optimized for mobile devices. Businesspeople have used mobile devices for years. But with the growth of apps for smartphones and tablets — and tools to manage them — small and medium-sized businesses can stay agile and compete amidst consolidation, globalization and a jobless recovery.