Techaisle’s survey of SMBs (1 to 999 employees) in Europe shows that mobility is addressing a clear business need and these firms are in turn responding with growing investments, especially in applications and solutions. 63% of small businesses (1-99 employees) & 74% of midmarket firms (100-999 employees) say that adoption of mobility solutions has contributed to business growth, up from 67% and 68% respectively from the previous year. Some SMBs have even experienced 2X growth as prior to mobility solutions deployment. Similarly, 37% of small businesses & 24% of midmarket firms say that adoption of mobility solutions has contributed to improved profitability.
39% of small businesses and 89% of midmarket firms have deployed one or mobility solutions and the average spend has increased by 29% for small businesses and 51% for midmarket firms. Survey data shows that service providers are becoming the top purchase channels of mobility solutions for both small and midmarket firms but there is also a distinct increasing influence of IT consultants.
However, European SMBs need help from suppliers in expanding and hardening their mobile infrastructure. The number of applications that run on mobile devices is increasing dramatically –beyond the capabilities of the IT staff responsible for deploying, integrating and securing these applications and the corporate data that they access. There are solutions available to help automate the key tasks inherent in this mobility challenge, and SMBs are investing in them – but they do not have a clear path to identifying suppliers who are able to work with them in reducing IT overhead and mitigating exposure from careless or neglectful users. There is no question that the European SMB mobility market constitutes an enormous opportunity for suppliers.
Data security, manageability and ability to support multiple device types and employee requirements are important factors when selecting mobility solutions. Survey data also shows that 37% of midmarket firms are planning to adopt mobile app stores with 45% saying that it may become be the center-point for all applications procurement & installation. Better control of apps and corporate security are two issues that are driving adoption of mobile app stores.
SMB employees are no longer clustered in one location. Work from anywhere, anytime is more prevalent today than before. 43% of European SMB employees are spending 20%+ time away from primary workplace, up from 32% in 2016 and 86% are using personal mobile devices to access company data, which is up from 74% in 2016.
Mobile devices are an essential component of mobility, but mobility itself extends beyond hardware to applications, solutions and work habits. Similarly, while the “dual mode” user represents a specific problem for SMB IT staff, the challenges of supporting a mobile workforce go well beyond the device.
The survey data shows that small and midsized businesses have different challenges in supporting the mobile workforce and they are quite different when compared with US SMBs. For European SMBs, security and compliance are the most significant challenges whereas in the US managing TCO is rated as the most significant challenge. European SMBs are more concerned with security/data protection and mobile management including network security, protecting corporate data on mobile devices and managing these devices. These firms also struggle with the “on ramps” to mobility: finding appropriate suppliers and solutions and integrating multiple screens are also ranked in the top challenges in support of the mobile workforce.
The survey was conducted with 1776 SMBs in select European countries.