Want to get in on the mobile craze? Target business users. That's the finding of research by New York-based AMI-Partners which found that the use of smartphones and tablets by U.S. small and medium businesses (SMB) is skyrocketeing. The firm found that 3.5 million small businesses are currently using smartphones and 700,000 using tablet PCs. AMI estimates that in the next 12 months, the number of SMBs owning smartphones will increase by 40 percent and those owning tablets with increase by 85 percent.
"The current generation of workers is never without their mobile devices. These workers already use mobile devices to email and browse the web ," said Prashanth Motupalli, Survey Research Analyst at AMI, “but they are now looking for more sophisticated business applications while not in the office. This opportunity means much more than spreadsheets and documents,” Motupalli said.
These mobile apps are fueled by data that lives in the cloud. It is no surprise that their adoption is analogous to what AMI has observed with the cloud; U.S. SMBs have been adopting cloud services to meet a wide variety of business needs, starting with basic communication which—over time—led to advanced, analytics-based applications, AMI said.
“Early success within mobile apps was driven by communication applications such as email and IM," Motupalli said. "Future growth for mobile apps is expected to meet more sophisticated business needs. These applications have become ‘must haves’ for this generation of workers which is always on.”
U.S. SMBs are looking to service providers of smartphones and tablets to offer solutions with the mobile devices to meet this need, either out-of-the-box or as a quick, headache-free add-on, AMI said. Productivity suites will be the next applications to experience high growth. However, as the mobile needs of U.S. SMBs continue to evolve, more specialized mobile applications, such CRM and analytics, will likely be next to gain mainstream adoption.
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