When it comes to using technology, one thing is clear: Small businesses that embrace it are growing faster than those that don’t. From mobile applications to social media, and cloud computing to data management, “new” ways of doing business centered around technology are taking hold and becoming the norm for millions of small and mid-sized firms nationwide.
Here are two tech trends that are reshaping how the most successful small businesses are facing the future:
• Mobile adoption soars. A new study by the SMB Group, which tracks technology adoption by small and medium businesses, shows that mobile use continues to skyrocket. In the last two years, the number of small businesses using mobile-friendly websites has nearly doubled, from 18 percent to 35 percent according to the SMB Group study. Meanwhile, the use of mobile apps for employees continues to increase, as does the number of small businesses using mobile commerce solutions.
Business owners are also spending more money on mobile. On average, a small business spends about 11 percent to 20 percent of its technology budget on mobile. And two out of three business owners expect to spend more on mobile next year in areas such as devices, applications, security and consulting services.
The big problem, however, is that most small firms still struggle with how to manage the explosion of mobile devices, apps and the so-called “bring your own device” (BYOD) phenomenon, where employees are asked to use their own smartphones or other mobile devices for business purposes.
In the past year alone, use of mobile apps for employees – including email, calendars and customer relationship management (e.g. SalesForce) – has jumped 20 percent among small businesses. And the number of businesses adopting BYOD policies for employees has more than doubled.