September 12, 2011

Mobility Trends in SMBs - 2011

  • The Nature of Mobility in SMB Workforces
  • Communication Habits, Goals, Stumbling Blocks
  • A Webtorials State-of-the-Market Report
  • Steven Taylor, Joanie Wexler, and Leslie Barteaux
  • Webtorials Analyst Division
Companies with up to about 10 to 250 employees are fairly mobile in nature and try to avoid hefty capital investments in real estate, IT infrastructure and other traditional must-haves associated with larger, established companies.

There are several related reasons:
  • Economic conditions are such that large, upfront capital outlays in office facilities, IT equipment and staff, simply aren't feasible for most growing companies that need to conserve cash to optimize operations.
  • The mobile Internet coupled with cloud services makes it possible to minimize those real estate, equipment and software licensing expenses that would otherwise be a barrier to entry for many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).
  • Smart mobile devices mean that not every worker necessarily requires a fixed, static workspace all his own at the office. Some users can carry their offices with them in the form of a wireless smart phone or tablet computer, much like a turtle totes his house on his back. For those who need to park themselves at the office to work for part of the day, organizations can set up a handful of time-shared workspaces and save quite a bit of money on real estate and office equipment.

Nonetheless, organizations of all sizes need certain traditional business capabilities, regardless of how they have set up their offices and intend to ultimately deliver service. For example, the desire to empower mobile employees to deliver customer service and support tops the SMB priority list for what mobile users generally need to be able to do.

These trends and other survey results are discussed in further depth in the remainder of this State-of-the-Market report.

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1 Comment

This report is chock-full of insights concerning the impact of the "mobile revolution" on the SMBs. Just as a starter, the survey base, being composed of the Webtorials community, already has tablet computers deployed to some extent by 43% of the companies. Within the next 18 months, the percentage of companies using tablet computers skyrockets to 76%.

But hardware is only a small part of the story. The really interesting part is on the impact on productivity. The typical SMB mobile worker loses about 5 to 6 hours per day because the mobile tools are not equivalent to those available in the office. Making this access equivalent could amount to recovering over $10,000 per mobile employee per year for a prototypical SMB.

Definitely a "must read" regardless of the size of your business as the SMB benefits may easily be extrapolated to apply to the enterprise as well.

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