Mobile device management missing in small businesses

Nonetheless, CDW survey finds that 35% of SMB execs believe mobile device use has improved work and life balance

By , Computerworld |  Consumerization of IT, Mobile Device Management

A new survey of 753 mobile device users and IT professionals in U.S. small businesses revealed that most are unfamiliar with mobile device management (MDM) technology, even though 79% have deployed smartphones to at least some workers.

The survey, conducted by CDW from July through September, found that despite the overwhelming use of personal devices, 67% of IT managers are unfamiliar with MDM software. Only 22% of those who were familiar with MDM tools have deployed or plan to deploy it.

[ Mobile device management by the numbers ]

CDW's report found that almost all small business users surveyed (94%) believe mobile devices make them more efficient despite security and management challenges.

Survey respondents overwhelmingly said mobile devices are important to fulfilling company tasks -- 75% said they are "critical" to their job. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said their companies would lose competitive ground in today's market without mobile devices.

Survey respondents included users in a number of markets, including manufacturing, professional services, retail, construction and food services.

CIM said that 50% of respondents were professional end users, including CEOs or COOs, vice presidents, business directors and managers. Meanwhile, 11% of respondents were CIOs or CTOs, 10% were IT directors or supervisors, 16% were IT managers, and 13% indicated they were IT professionals.

When asked how mobile devices help them do their jobs, 60% of respondents said it improved communication between field and office personnel and the same percentage said they increased availability to customers.

Additionally, 35% responded that mobile devices improved work and life balance, and 34% said the technology streamlined business processes.

While some mobile phones are company owned, 89% of small business employees who use them for work use a personal device.

CDW said that 55% of respondents reported that their companies have deployed tablets to some workers. Thirty-six percent of the IT managers surveyed said some employees have replaced their laptop or desktop computer with a smartphone or tablet.

When asked how much employee use of tablets and smartphones would increase over the next two years, IT managers said 117% and 33%, respectively.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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