Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs) may be steadily increasing their IT spending, but only a small portion is spent on enterprise mobile solutions. 42% of SMBs had mobile apps by 2016, whereas 35% are either unlikely to build or unsure about building one in the future. While these statistics indicate the quick adoption of mobile apps as tools for business growth, mobility experts believe SMBs are still in the “first inning of the ball game”.
If you’re part of an SMB that’s yet to embrace enterprise mobility or is midway through the decision-making process, the following may apply to you.
Why SMBs Should Embrace Enterprise Mobile Solutions
Mobile devices and enterprise mobile apps play an important part in today’s enterprises. Models such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) have influenced many enterprises to create their own mobility strategy as they offer the advantages of an always-connected workforce at a fraction of the cost. SMBs can reap the same benefits, including:
- Zero Paper – Despite digital technologies becoming widely accessible, many businesses still rely on paper documents for day-to-day transactions. This could lead to document management failures such as delayed approvals and document loss. In turn, these failures affect workforce productivity and compromise SMBs’ data security – if sensitive data falls in the wrong hands. Enterprise mobile solutions allow the submission of data directly into core business systems like CRM and ERPs. This eliminates paper from procedures, ensures the authenticity and accuracy of data entered, and protects data from unexpected disasters.
- Simplified Business Processes – Enterprise mobile apps streamline business processes and workflows. For instance, they effectively contribute to talent and acquisition management by onboarding new hires and providing on-site training. Similarly, health, safety, and environment (HSE) apps and mobile forms allow real-time communication and remote access to project data.
- Quicker Communication – Communication and connectivity are vital for today’s SMBs. Mobile devices and enterprise apps effectively support both of these. For starters, mobile apps minimize the volume of email employees receive. Information can be communicated via push notifications instead.
- Higher Productivity – A 2014 IDG study revealed organizations implementing collaborative technologies such as enterprise mobile solutions reported 50% increased productivity and 39% higher employee morale. Enterprise mobile applications streamline business procedures and improve workflows through quicker information delivery and features such as electronic signature panels. This relieves employees from spending too much time on mundane tasks. As a result, they remain driven and have the time and effort to focus on activities directly impacting the bottom line.
- Enhanced Compliance – Small to medium enterprises need to adhere by numerous compliance regulations. The challenge, however, is ensuring all employees are up to date with these or have access to them while away from the office. Mobile applications can help by offering clear information on policies to employees regardless of where they may be.
So What’s Causing the Delay?
As tempting the above mentioned advantages are, SMBs have a few challenges to overcome before embracing mobility. Below are the top issues they face.
- Smaller Budgets – Small to medium businesses tend to be more conservative with their spending on new technologies. Their smaller budgets may not withstand a financial hit if their investment doesn’t work out.
- Time Constraints – The process of converting paper documents, records, and forms may take a lot of time. This can be challenging, especially with only a handful of employees and a lot of paper.
- Limited IT Staffing – With smaller budgets, these businesses don’t usually invest in IT support staff. In fact, 27% don’t have any form of IT support implemented.
- The Risks of BYOD – Smaller organizations may not have well-developed mobility management solutions in place. With fewer financial and IT support resources, SMBs fear BYOD will bring on security and policy concerns.
How to Effectively Introduce Your SMB to Enterprise Mobility
In spite of the four challenges above, many small to medium enterprises successfully implement enterprise mobile solutions. Here’s how.
- Plan Your Mobile Transition – Starting this process without a plan in hand will exhaust an enterprise’s financial resources and take up a lot of its time. Therefore, create a mobile business strategy and define what goals you wish to achieve. Based on these goals, define milestones for the app development process. For instance, if HSE compliance is your goal, mobilize your safety documents and forms first.
- Bring Employees On Board – Ushering the paperless era into your enterprise can take some time, especially if workers resist the change. To prevent this from exhausting your time and financial resources, make sure everyone is on the same page. Promote the need for mobility in your enterprise, focusing on how it can help all employees.
- Opt for Vendors Who Can Train Your Staff and Provide Support – Rather than spending an average of $4,000 per technical staff employee, choose a vendor who can train your staff and perform troubleshooting whenever necessary. These clauses can be part of your service level agreements (SLAs) and a deal breaker to get the most value for your money.
- Invest in Mobile Device Management (MDM) – To balance the risks and rewards of BYOD, MDM should be part of your enterprise’s mobility infrastructure. This technology is especially important for avoiding legal and compliance-related issues. If your enterprise can afford going beyond the basic features of MDM, consider other enterprise mobility management solutions such as Mobile Application Management (MAM) and Mobile Content Management (MCM).
- Create Your Enterprise Mobility Solution Yourself – One of the simplest solutions to save time, money, and human resources is creating your own enterprise app. With the help of an enterprise mobile application development platform like Miracle Mobile, you can create sophisticated mobile forms and apps without a single line of code. Simply drag and drop components such as text boxes, pickers, and eSignature panels onto a page. You can also configure connectors to link the app to core business systems.
The Bottom Line
Enterprise mobility isn’t just for large enterprises. SMBs can easily make it part of their enterprises with the right mobility strategy in hand. While there are some challenges that could delay the process, the benefits an enterprise mobility solution has to offer will make the transformation worthwhile.