The proliferation of mobile devices has led to a fundamental requirement for the right network which is capable of handling the bandwidth, security, and mobility involved in the movement from office to home.
A recent found that mobile-connected devices will exceed the world population in 2012. Adding to this, internet traffic, per smartphone, is growing at 77 percent per year and internet traffic per tablet is growing at 52 percent per year. The consumerisation of IT and mobility has now moved beyond the ‘tipping point’ and is a reality in today’s working environment.
Uptake of cloud services in SMEs is set to increase dramatically in the next three years, taking the adoption level of some cloud service or application moved into the cloud to almost 100 percent. Progressive companies that have already rolled out cloud solutions are seeing benefits to their business and bottom line. A recent survey by IDC found that almost every SME that uses cloud services saves money, with most lowering costs between 10 percent and 20 percent.
With cloud-based solutions, SMEs can reinvest their time and resources into product, sales, marketing, and other revenue-generating areas. This not only makes businesses easier to manage, but makes them more efficient as well. With the advent of the cloud, smaller budgets are no longer a hindrance to an SME’s ability to compete in the market.
This is because, with cloud, instead of SMEs operating workloads such as desktops and storage through physical in-house servers, they are hosted on centralised virtual servers in a data centre which means the investment costs more affordable; and the deployment and set-up times are quicker and less complicated than the traditional set-up.
As such SMEs can gain a competitive advantage in that they can have the latest and most efficient services quickly, without having to worry about the initial physical infrastructure.
According to a recent report from IDC, 64 percent of SMEs use at least one cloud-based service. That number is poised to skyrocket, especially when you consider the additional 25 percent of small businesses that have a concrete plan to use the cloud, or are at least thinking about it.
Mobile users increasingly expect to integrate their personal and professional information using mobile devices. This expectation is driving SMEs to build mobile applications that enable users to access enterprise data at any time, anywhere and on any device.
The evolving workplace
For many employees, the terms “office hours” and “work place” are becoming dated as the working environment continues to evolve. Work flexibility is a necessity, not an option. It’s normal for employees to integrate their professional/personal lives on their consumer devices and use social media to share, communicate and collaborate.
The modern professional no longer sees the opportunity to use their own device as an optional extra. They now expect and demand to be able to work on the same devices that they use in their personal lives; they expect their employers to react to this. At a time when employees integrate their professional and personal lives more than ever before, they expect their technology to accommodate this. With collaborative technology, SMEs can optimise their working ethos to suit how their employees work best.
Mixing personal and business devices
New work norms have rapidly replaced the old ones. Employees now work at any time and from any location. They often use personally owned mobile devices and communicate over home Wi-Fi networks. Employees regularly integrate personal and professional activities and use their mobile phones to help them unify those activities. They store enterprise data on public cloud servers and synchronize the data between employer and employee-owned devices.
Users often have a better sense than IT of what mobile products and services are feasible in the work environment. This growing wave of consumerisation, expectation and sophistication has created a powerful force for change, and one which SMEs should embrace.