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Small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) intend to pump up the volume of their spending on mobility-related products and services over the next five years in an attempt to bolster sagging bottom lines, aid customer retention and decrease operating expenses. Enhanced SMB mobility capability will not be the only beneficiary, a new report claims.
It will also accelerate the demolition of remaining IT resistance to supporting "multiplatform" mobile device ecosystems, according to a SMB mobility landscape report published by AMI, an IT research firm. AMI predicts that North American SMB expenditures on mobility-related products and services will nearly double over the next five years.
Increasingly, SMBs are also allowing employees to use their personally owned untethered devices in the workplace as a way to enable mobility and enhance productivity, the report found.
"BYOD [bring your own device] among SMBs is becoming inevitable, which is why SMBs should look at ways to better address and leverage this trend," said AMI senior consultant Antara Jaitly.
As a result, she said, the SMB workplace is progressively being exposed to new BYOD use cases, productivity-enhancing mobile applications and wireless network solutions, which all aim at supporting a growing array of mobile device deployments.
Interestingly, AMI research revealed that SMBs that allow BYOD deployments are also typically more open to supporting multiplatform mobile device ecosystems. Currently, a quarter (27 percent) of firms that allow BYOD tablets and half (51 percent) of firms that welcome personal smartphones in the workplace support multiplatform mobile ecosystems. These BYOD firms also exhibit stronger purchase intentions for non-Apple-branded mobile devices such as Microsoft, Samsung and Sony, and also display significantly higher awareness of mobile alternatives such as Windows 8 OS and Microsoft Surface tablets.
As a result, more North America SMBs are evaluating ways to support multiple mobile operating system environments. The need to manage and secure these varying mobile devices and applications is propelling SMBs to look for ways to accommodate their expanding "mobile appetite."
But for many SMBs, IT management has not caught up with the speed of their BYOD deployments. AMI research shows that currently only about two-thirds of BYOD SMBs have created policies to govern employee-owned mobile devices. It is not surprising that North America SMBs display strong purchase intentions for mobile device management (MDM), security and wireless network management solutions.