October 10, 2012, 10:40 AM — 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.
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.