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SMBs and Mobility: An Evolving Reality

Amit Raj Bathla, Director & Head of Marketing, APAC, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise | May 27, 2016
Embracing mobility has become a workplace norm. If your company is small in size, now is the time to reap the benefits of what mobility technologies afford.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach. 

Mobility has been a critical business factor for companies, both large and small, since the 90's.  Adding to the pressure is accelerating demand for mobility features and services for the recent proliferation of smartphones and tablets. The latest Asia Pacific mobile and smartphone forecast by Forrester predicts that smartphone adoption in the region will nearly double to 2 billion users in 2019. Zooming in locally, Singapore ranks the highest globally for smartphone penetration, according to a survey by Deloitte's Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT)

The definition of business mobility continuously evolves as new technologies and trends get introduced. In the early 2000s, mobility meant having a mobile phone. Next, it was about equipping staff with corporate-owned laptops that provide a portable alternative to desk computers. At its core, business mobility is about empowering employees to perform their tasks outside of a typical or traditional office environment.

In today's highly competitive business world, it is increasingly imperative for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to stay on par with larger enterprises. Internal limitations, such as budget and manpower constraints, are other issues that challenge them. One way that SMBs could be competitive is to ensure that they adopt mobile technologies that are relevant, efficient and secure.

The Rise of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend

The acceleration of the mobility movement comes as employees and businesses begin performing basic work functions (such as business emails, calendars and access to company contacts), on their personal devices. Also known as BYOD, the Asia Pacific BYOD market will continue its strong growth as consumer smartphone and tablet use grows across APAC, according to IDC. In a recent study by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU),  Singapore ranked globally as one of the top 10 markets with the most affordable mobile surfing costs. This suggests the adoption of BYOD will continue in years to come. With this in mind, SMBs need to embrace the ever-rising BYOD trend and adopt solutions that facilitate support and integration.

Mobility for greater employee productivity

More enterprises are acknowledging that mobility produces higher employee productivity levels. There is an increasing recognition on the potential benefits of removing the "shackles" of a traditional 9 to 5 environment for employees - most notably the increase in employee productivity. Today, even traditional businesses that were initially reluctant to embrace the mobility revolution are encouraging employees to go mobile.

In addition to simply embracing and allowing employees to use their devices for basic functions like managing emails and calendars, SMBs should actively seek ways to add capabilities and functions to support mobility. This includes incorporating access to cloud storage services so employees can access and share important documents conveniently. To make workflow processes more seamless, businesses are also beginning to incorporate mobile applications that enable employees to complete company functions such as managing inventory, company expenses, and booking travel. According to a global workplace survey by Regus, around 76 percent of the 44,000 respondents from 105 countries feel that senior managers are actually more productive if they have flexible working conditions, which can increase productivity levels and decrease employees' stress levels.


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