Mobile technologies will exacerbate SMB support spending

New white paper from Parks Associates finds that 30 percent of small businesses are seeking remote technical support options for mobile phones.

The drive toward increasingly mobile technology solutions may have an unintended side effect: higher technical support costs for small and midsize businesses.

New research from Park Associates, published in conjunction with PlumChoice, predicts that the market for support services specifically aimed at SMBs will surpass $20 billion by 2015. That is no small chunk of change.

Mobile devices including smartphones and tablet computers are one of the primary factors driving growth of these services, Park Associates suggests. The company figures that small companies lose an average of 3.2 hours per month shooting mobile phone issues. When you consider that 3.4 hours are spent dealing with computer server problems, that is not a small number. It is also the reason that a third of small businesses are seeking remote technical support services for mobile phones used for business purposes, according to Park Associates.

"SMBs' technological needs are getting increasingly complex, with mobile devices creating new challenges and the cost-benefit ratio tilting toward professional technical support," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst for Parks Associates.

This challenge is compounded by the fact that many mobile phones -- and tablet computers for that matter -- may not actually be owned by your company, but rather by the people who work for your company. Your organization will need to decide to what extent it wishes to manage things such as security or application glitches on these devices.

In any case, it may make sense to reconsider the portion of budget your company sets aside for keeping mobile devices up-to-date. My guess is that this doesn't really factor into those plans today.