Small biz owners dependent on their mobile devices for competitiveness.

CDW LLC (CDW), a leading provider of technology solutions to business, government, education and healthcare, today published The Mobility Edge: CDW’s 2012 Small Business Mobility Report, which is based on a survey of 752 mobile device users and IT professionals from U.S. small businesses in five industries about their use of smartphones, tablets and laptops.

The report focuses on trends in small business use of mobile technology, such as: bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and use of productivity-enhancing apps; the challenges of mobility, such as managing security of mobile devices and reducing the risk they pose to company networks and data; and what small businesses can do better with the advanced capabilities of today’s mobility solutions.

“CDW’s report says that small business users consider productivity and business apps on mobile devices to be game changers that make them more efficient and competitive”

The survey found that almost all small business users surveyed (94 percent) believe their mobile devices make them more efficient, and most (67 percent) believe their companies would lose competitive ground without those devices – which may explain why IT managers surveyed report that 89 percent of their employees use personally-owned mobile devices for work.

There is some risk, though, and just 51 percent of those IT managers say their company has an effective strategy for managing and securing all of those additional devices.

“CDW’s report says that small business users consider productivity and business apps on mobile devices to be game changers that make them more efficient and competitive,” said Jill Billhorn, CDW vice president, small business.

“They want still more apps to help them manage unique aspects of their businesses, and the prospect is for dramatic growth in tablet use. That expanding demand, though, also means growing need for solutions to manage and secure mobile devices, as only a fifth of small business IT managers say their company has deployed or even plans to deploy such a solution.”

The report found that mobility benefits extend beyond small business employees to owners and customers alike. Sixty percent of users surveyed believe that mobile devices lead to improved communication between field and office personnel as well as increased availability to customers – resulting in better customer service.

“We are a catering company, and our delivery system wouldn’t work a fraction as well without smartphones,” said an owner/partner of one food services firm.

“We now manage all orders on a shared calendar, which is easily accessible by smartphone. All employees now have instant access to our production and shipping schedule, which is invaluable in the field,” said an executive with one manufacturing firm.

CDW’s 2012 Small Business Mobility Report includes findings specific to five industries with a high potential to benefit from mobile innovation: construction, food services, manufacturing, professional services and retail.

The report offers perspectives on aspects of mobility unique to each of those industries, focusing on top benefits, how mobile devices have changed the ways small businesses operate, the mobile offerings small businesses use to communicate with customers, and deployment/use rates of laptops, tablets and smartphones. The complete report is available at www.cdw.com/smallbusinessmobility.

 

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