Small and midsized businesses are showing increasing demand for mobile and cloud-based applications, given that more than half of their employees work outside the office, according to new research from Fonality and Webtorials.
Other findings presented in the "State of the Market 2011 Report: Mobility Trends in SMBs," include the increased use of tablet computers, which report authors expect to become the standard mobile device within 18 months. In addition, due to increasing mobile dependence, 43 percent of SMBs plan to deploy cloud-based or hosted mobile solutions to improve delivery to employees.
"SMBs are relying on mobile tools to better serve customers and reduce capex," said Joanie Wexler, an independent networking analyst and editor in Silicon Valley. "However, employees are struggling with inconsistent access experiences when inside and outside the office, which can be a productivity-buster. Companies with highly mobile-centric employees that invest in solutions enabling consistent access can recoup a lot of worker time, and this study shows that cloud/hosted services are emerging as a primary way of achieving those goals."
Additional details from the report include the following:
- Real-time presence as well as corporate directory and calendar access are favored unified communications (UC) capabilities;
- Contact center functionality, including customer escalation, skills-based routing, and queue management,are an increasingly high priority; and
- Wi-Fi connectivity is a preferred method to preserve mobile plan minutes.
As a call-to-action, the study states that mobile workers who spend hours in the field experience difficulty accessing critical business applications, which in turn, burns productivity. This productivity loss is up to six hours per week of wasted time per SMB employee. By providing the same business communications experience inside and outside the office, an average firm consisting of 137 employees with 67 mobile workers can recoup up to $700,000 annually in measurable staff productivity gains, or more than $10,000 per mobile employee.
"This study reveals that the mobile workforces of today's growing businesses have been artificially inhibited by legacy technologies," said Wes Durow, chief marketing officer at Fonality. "SMBs now have access to cloud-based unified communications and contact center features that fully enable remote workers in a simple and affordable manner."