Techaisle’s recently completely study 2015 US SMB Mobility Solutions Adoption Trends shows that mobility adoption within US SMB is reaching 86 percent by end of 2015. However, mobility adoption is not about mobile devices anymore, rather it has transitioned to mobility applications and over to mobility solutions (solutions that provide management, security and infrastructure needed to connect mobile devices and applications into the corporate IT environment).
Unfortunately for SMBs, each of the above three essential areas of investment has different suppliers. Data from the survey shows that SMB buyers are therefore confused about where to turn for help, especially with respect to mobility solutions needed to integrate and manage their burgeoning mobility portfolios that includes both company and employee mobility activity.
Mobility addresses a clear need within US SMBs and these firms in turn are responding with growing investments, especially in applications and solutions. The real question is who will capture this business. At present, no one vendor of devices, applications or solutions – or even any one category of vendor is ideally positioned to meet SMB mobility solution needs.
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. Techaisle’s 2015 US SMB Mobility Solutions Adoption Trends survey shows that SMBs are increasing the virtual dimensions of their employees’ technology-defined workspaces by expanding the number of applications that they make available to employees and by investing in solutions that enable best corporate use of these application resources.
No doubt there is an enormous US SMB mobility opportunity but IT companies looking to expand presence in the SMB mobility market will need to build strategies to address four key SMB issues:
- Devices. SMBs of all sizes need to support both company-owned and BYOD devices, which are used to run a mix of business and personal applications and to store a mix of business and personal data. SMB buyers are clear in stating their requirement for support of multiple form factors (smartphones, laptops, tablets and to some extent, Chromebooks), multiple operating systems (Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome), multiple supplier brands and configurations and screen sizes, and varying degrees of user commitment to effective management and security.
- Applications and solutions. Techaisle’s survey highlights a pending explosion in the number of mobility application types that will be used by SMBs. This will in turn drive demand for application integration and for mobility solutions – integrated infrastructure, security, and management (of mobile devices, applications and solutions). SMB buyers of these solutions universally cite “manageability” as their most important selection criterion. Small businesses are also looking for characteristics that make adoption easier, such as good customer support, native support for third-party applications and brand credibility, while midmarket firms emphasize information security and support for a large number of mobile platforms, including customer-owned and employee-owned devices.
- Empowering the mobile workforce. If the “office” is defined by devices, so too is “workplace” defined by the ability to work from wherever those devices (and their users) are located. SMBs are investing in mobility because it contributes to both cost savings and increased market reach, with “improved productivity” and responses connected to establishing “better ways of working” viewed as the greatest benefits of mobility within SMBs. Techaisle’s data shows that small and midmarket businesses have different challenges in supporting their mobile workforce: while both cite TCO as their most significant challenge, small businesses struggle with the “on ramps” to mobility (such as finding appropriate suppliers and solutions), while midmarket firms report that they are more concerned with security/data protection and mobile management.
- Mobile security and threat sources. Techaisle believes that SMBs are more optimistic than they ought to be about their current security profiles, but even so, less than 20 percent of US SMBs believe that they are “fully prepared” today. Like manageability, security is an important constraint on mobility within the US SMB market.
Suppliers with a clear vision spanning device integration and support, application expansion and management, and effective and flexible security will find a large and eager SMB audience.