Consumer technology takes away the 'big company' advantage

Consumer technology takes away the 'big company' advantage

Summary: IDC research suggests SMBs are adopting the 'bring your own device' concept quickly, helping them gain productivity and efficiency advantages against larger enterprises.


I have long believed that the true breakthroughs for mobile technologies over the past decade have been inspired by the way that small businesses use notebooks, smartphones and various cloud-delivered applications to run their companies. This isn't because these managers were necessarily smarter or more creative than their counterparts in big businesses, it is because they were far more resourceful -- often out of necessity.

If you think about it, this whole "bring your own device" phenomenon that you have been hearing so much about for the past year was pioneered and driven in large part by small businesses.

The reason is pretty simple: When small-business owners buy notebook computers, they don't just buy them for their business, they buy them for personal needs, too. That is why consumer features such as support for super high-quality video have made their way into business notebook models. The same goes for smartphones. Seriously, who wants two phone numbers? Not me, and not you. So why wouldn't a small business owner or manager pick something that can work in both worlds? It has only been more recently that larger companies have begun to catch on.

Market research firm International Data Corp. has released a new report this week that suggests the consumerization of information technology is helping level the playing field for small and midsize businesses around the world. The study ("Consumerization of IT in SMBs Worldwide: Developing Countries Outpace Developed Ones in Leveraging Employee-Owned Technology") suggests that worker-owned technology is having its biggest impact right now in small companies outside the United States. These businesses are taking advantage of every productivity tool that they can find, IDC suggests.

Said Ray Boggs, the IDC analyst who focuses on SMB technology usage:

"To remain competitive and increase efficiency, SMBs in developing countries are leveraging workers' own technologies. Despite the potential security risks, these SMBs continue to allow employees to gain access to the company network and related resources through their own devices."

Here are several revelations from the report:

  • Midsize companies have been more adapt in adoption of "advance mobile devices"
  • SMBs based in China are most likely to support strategies that let employees use their own technology
  • About one-third of the small businesses in developed economies allow network access for employee-owned devices; approximately 47 percent of midsize companies do the same

For the purposes of the report, IDC studied six countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, China and Brazil.

As larger companies grapple with how to manage and secure employee-owned devices, SMBs are charging forward. This strategy is fraught with risk, of course, but for smaller companies sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. Isn't that part of the definition of entrepreneur?

Related stories:

Consumerization in 2012: Cloud and mobile blurs into other people's IT

Topic: SMBs

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  • RE: Consumer technology takes away the 'big company' advantage

    Every one should have it's proper cloud computing by uploading onto i't's own webmail alll to persistent data, blank contract and forms needed in the course of a business appointement, when doing so we have in the personal devices (could be a smartphone) you can update to document live have it paraphed by the client send a copy to him and another to yolur office where they will,be completed by the backoffice ready for the next appointement where things will get moving.

    Roduit Pascal, 63 Rue de la Madeleine, 1963 V??troz, Suisse
  • RE: Consumer technology takes away the 'big company' advantage

    Not the greatest apple (sorry), oranges to oranges comparison. Small companies do not continually have over 100 active lawsuits, etc. that require a stronger management of records. Along with yearly SOX audits etc. and constant IP fights. Many employees in large companies do not want to mix business on their own device as the company will erase them if they are lost, stolen or after termination. Again that is due to IP, potential litigations, etc. Very large companies cannot dump technology on its employees anytime it pleases.
  • RE: Consumer technology takes away the 'big company' advantage

    this is not the greatest idea for SMB's. there are many issues and risks that they are not aware of nor considering. What happens when someone leaves the company with their own equipment? How can a company be sure what they have? Employees are not going to be happy when the security software required for a company see's what websites they go to at home on their own time. Monitors any emails they send on their own time, etc. The software doesnt only work from 8-5, it is on all the time.
  • RE: Consumer technology takes away the 'big company' advantage

    It makes sense to use personal devices for work and let work pay some of the bill if the business would be encumbered by having to buy and being forced to administrate notebooks and mobile phones.
    • RE: Consumer technology takes away the 'big company' advantage

      dont complain when they wonder why you went to site or sent a text message that was meant as a joke, but misunderstood. Or that you lost all your photos from your kids birthday party when they had to erase your phone.
  • RE: Consumer technology takes away the 'big company' advantage

    What many SMB owners / operators seem to be quite ignorant of (purposefuly?) is the risk of intrusion / hacking / compromise of their information. Any business who truly wants to remain secure must dedicate resources to managing all access to their information as well as actively presenting firewalls to at least discourage if not prevent compromise. BYOD flies in the face of all that should be done in the name of security, and I submit is mostly alllowed simply as a matter if convenience. Convenience leads to carelessness, which significantly increases risk of compromise.