Midtier Firms Set Pace with Mobility

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 06-13-2008

Midtier Firms Set Pace with Mobility

Think midtier firms are behind the times? Think again.

CIO Insight's 2008 Mobility Survey finds that small and midsize businesses actually deploy advanced mobile technologies at a higher rate than their bigger siblings. Smart phones, for example, are more common in midtier firms and now outnumber cell phones in the companies we surveyed. And older technologies--dial-up access, low-speed cellular, pagers and industrial mobile terminals--are far less common in smaller companies than in large ones.

But the rise in remote access has caused some problems, particularly in the area of security. While midmarket firms have deployed mobile tools at a fast pace, they haven't invested as much in security capabilities. Though the majority of IT executives surveyed say their organizations' increased mobile deployments haven't made their firms less secure, more than one-third have experienced some form of security breach in the past 12 months.

Despite the problems, midtier businesses believe mobility gives them a competitive advantage, primarily in delivering access, inproving responsiveness to customers and boosting internal communications.

Finding 1

Midtier Firms Focus on Newer Mobile Technologies

Workers at companies with less than $500 million in revenue employ fewer mobile tools than their large-business counterparts, but more of the technology they do use is state of the art. Smart phones are more common in smaller businesses than in larger ones, having surpassed regular cell phones. Smaller firms deploy fewer high-speed mobile networks, like WiMAX, than larger companies do, but they're also less burdened with supporting older technologies, such as dial-up and pagers.

Finding 2

SMBs Must Increase Mobile Security Measures

Midmarket firms have fewer mobile access control technologies than larger firms have. This may be because SMBs don't feel that the rise in mobility has made them less secure. But more than one-third report having some sort of security problem in the past year, with viruses and theft most common.

Finding 2.2 and 2.3

Finding 3

Productivity and Responsiveness Drive SMB Mobility

Small and midsize businesses look to mobility to provide a competitive advantage, through gains in communication speed and productivity. This meshes well with smaller companies' general nimbleness and adaptivity. But it also intensifies the problems midtier users report, such as dropped connections, synchronization issues and unfriendly ergonomics.

Finding 3.2

Finding 4

Mobility in Midtier Firms Leads to Higher Costs, More IT Skills Needed

Only one-sixth of IT support calls in small- and midsize companies are mobility-related. But hardware and software costs have increased in the past three years because of mobility, and there has been a dramatic rise in the need to invest in new IT support skills.