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CDW’s 2012 Small Business Mobility Report

Small businesses are getting a competitive lift from their employees’ use of mobile devices, but most employees use their own devices, and small business IT managers are working to keep up.

CDW’s Small Business Mobility Report surveyed mobile device users and IT management professionals across five small business industries to determine how mobile technology will change the small business landscape moving forward. The report includes findings specific to the construction, food services, manufacturing, professional services and retail industries, and found that while mobility is boosting efficiency and competitiveness among small businesses, there is increased opportunity for small businesses to benefit from the use of business-related mobile apps.

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Key Findings

  • Mobile device users believe their companies would lose competitive ground without mobile devices
  • Smartphones are the most popular mobile technology among small business mobile device users
  • Most small business employees use their own mobile device for work
  • There is increasing opportunity for small businesses to benefit from the use of mobile apps

Mobile Devices Enable Efficiency

  • Small businesses agree: Mobility delivers many benefits, to customers, owners and employees alike, making small businesses more competitive

*According to mobile device users; percent that strongly or somewhat agree
**According to IT managers; percent that strongly or somewhat agree
***According to mobile device users; respondents asked to select all that apply

Smartphones Provide the Most Value

  • Smartphones provide both users and companies the biggest benefit among mobile devices

*According to mobile device users

BYOD is Commonplace, and IT Managers are Working to Keep Up

  • According to IT managers, 89% of small business employees use their own personal mobile device for work, but the challenges lie in managing and securing mobile devices

*Percent that somewhat agree or strongly agree
**According to IT managers; respondents asked to select all that apply.
***According to mobile device users; respondents asked to select all that apply

Recommendations

  • Secure personal mobile devices: 89 percent of small business employees use their own devices for work. Protect your network and data accordingly
  • Add MAM: Mobile application management solutions (MAM) encourage consistent use of apps across an organization, simplify collaboration and reduce employee resistance to MDM in a BYOD setting
  • Consider MDM: A mobile device management solution (MDM) can simplify policy, security and other facets of management. Speak to a trusted solutions provider to find out which solution best fits your company’s needs
  • Comprehensive Mobility Management Services: Some providers offer cost effective management of devices and apps, from inventory control, carrier management, provisioning and help desk to lifecycle management
  • Involve your customers: Mobility can be great for customers, too. Consider offering them

Methodology

CDW surveyed* small business mobile users and IT professionals across five industries in July, August and September 2012. The total sample size equates to a margin of error of ±3.5% at a 95% confidence level; individual industry samples equate to a margin of error of ±8.0% at a 95% confidence level; end users and IT management samples equate to a margin of error of ±5.0% at a 95% confidence level.

*Research conducted by O’Keeffe & Company