Mobile devices are proving to be essential to the competitiveness of small businesses, according to the results of a new survey recently released. Technology solutions provider CDW LLC polled 752 mobile device users and IT professionals from U.S. small businesses and found that 67 percent believe that their companies would lose competitive ground without the devices.

CDW’s 2012 Small Business Mobility Survey indicated that an even larger number (75 percent) of these small business mobile device users believe that mobile device use is critical to their job and 94 percent believe mobile devices make them more efficient. Among the top mobility benefits cited were:

  • 60% Improved communication between field/office personnel
  • 60% Increased availability to customers
  • 55% Increased employee productivity
  • 53% Provided better customer service
  • 45% Increased collaboration between employees
  • 35% Improved work/life balance
  • 34% Streamlined business processes

CDW 2012 Small Business Mobility Survey

Among survey respondents, 55 percent of smartphone and tablet users are using work related mobile apps. Regarding apps, CDW said, “Small business users consider productivity and business apps on mobile devices to be game changers that make them more efficient and competitive. They want still more apps to help them manage unique aspects of their businesses and the prospect is for dramatic growth in tablet use…”

The benefits of mobile devices seem to be far outweighing any risks associated with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). IT managers surveyed reported that 89 percent of their employees use personally-owned mobile devices for work. However, just 51 percent of those IT managers say their company has an effective strategy for managing and securing all of those additional devices.

The CDW report includes findings specific to the construction, food services, manufacturing, professional services and retail industries.