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SMB Smartphone, Tablet Adoption On The Up

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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More and more SMBs are providing their staff with smartphones, tablets and netbooks according to IDC

Small to medium businesses are following the mobilisation trend after an IDC survey found increased adoption and personal use of advanced technology within that sector.

The report found that SMBs in developing countries are much more likely to encourage the use of worker-owned technology, allowing employee smartphones, netbooks and media tablets to be connected to company networks to run a host of different business applications.

Portable Computing

SMBs in developed countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan typically indicate higher levels of advanced technology use, from notebook PCs to wireless networks, than do similarly sized firms in developing countries such as China or Brazil. However, the gap closes quickly when portable computing/communications products are added to the mix.

SMBs in developing countries are keeping pace with their more developed counterparts when it comes to providing employees with smartphones, netbooks/mininotebooks and media tablets, and in some cases, the report found they are actually more likely to provide these products to their staff. IDC research indicated China-based SMBs are providing company-owned smartphones to employees most often.

“To remain competitive and increase efficiency, SMBs in developing countries are leveraging workers’ own technologies,” said Ray Boggs, vice president of small and medium business markets at IDC. “Despite the potential security risks, these SMBs continue to allow employees to gain access to the company network and related resources through their own devices.” This consumerisation of IT has important implications for technology providers as well as for firms competing against SMBs that are taking advantage of every productivity tool they can.

New Tech

IDC’s research also found that, independent of region, midsize firms (MBs) are more likely to provide employees with advanced mobile devices than are small businesses (SBs). In developed countries, 33.7 percent of SBs and 46.7 percent of MBs indicated they provide access to the business network for employee-owned smartphones.

The study, “Consumerisation of IT in SMBs Worldwide: Developing Countries Outpacing Developed Ones in Leveraging Employee-Owned Technology,” examines the ways in which SMBs in developed and developing countries are supporting the use of advanced technology by their workers.

The extent to which smartphones, netbooks and media tablets are provided to workers is described along with the access to corporate resources available to employees using their own portable computing and communications products.

Midmarket companies from six countries are examined: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China and Brazil.