In the age of BYOD and the consumerisation of IT, workers are increasingly mobile and a growing number of SMEs are focused on supporting employees who use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to do their work at the office, at home and while traveling.

SMEs are embracing the tools available to them as well as reacting quickly to the changes in technology. A recent technology adoption survey by Forrester found that 98 per cent of SME owners think it’s important to keep up with new technology.

More SMEs are embracing working from home and using wireless technology with 26 percent of employees working from home 3+ days a week and 71 percent of SMEs are mobile working from anywhere businesses.

The various business cases for mobility

This momentum will continue as an increasing number of employees purchase and use their personal devices for work-related activities and a growing number of SMEs support BYOD programmes to mobilise their workforce in a cost efficient way.

For example, the technology adoption survey also found that 82 percent of workers use smartphones to read or view documents, spreadsheets, or presentations and 36 percent of employees engage in these work activities using tablets.

Accessing email, calendar, and intranet or employee portal sites lead the way for both devices. Two of the top three work-related activities employees engage in are the same for smartphone and tablet users. Specifically, more than three-quarters of employees who use smartphones and 63 percent of tablet users access their employee intranet or portal sites using these mobile devices.

Benefits and challenges must be evaluated

As SMEs expand the breadth of mobile applications and collaboration services deployed to employee-owned devices, they must evaluate the benefits and challenges associated with supporting these initiatives. Part of this process includes looking at what types of benefits the business will achieve from embracing mobility.

Increased employee responsiveness, decision-making speed and issue resolution are key benefits for dynamic SMEs that harness the adoption of mobile solutions. The top benefit to deploying mobility solutions for smartphones and tablets are increased employee responsiveness and decision-making speed, with 76 percent of respondents identifying these benefits to mobility solution implementation.

SME mobility is gaining momentum

Mobility initiatives are a key component to overall corporate strategic initiatives, and many SMEs are expanding their support of mobile devices and solutions. The growing trend of firms supporting employee owned devices is a key factor in driving this mobility expansion.

Similar to enterprises, many SME employees already have their own devices and so SMEs are able to save on hardware costs if they implement cost-effective and scalable the solutions.

BYOD isn’t the end point

Finally, many people think BYOD is about the end point or personal device, but it’s much broader than that. It’s about ensuring consistency of the user experience working from any device, whether it’s in a wired or wireless environment or in the cloud.

Wi-Fi is now becoming more business critical as users have more devices to connect. As such, employees may need to connect multiple devices (business and personal) to the network and SMEs are faced with the challenge of ensuring the security aspect is fit for purpose and provides a unified policy for all users on all devices whether wire, wireless or VPN.