If you haven’t already, now is the time to buy smartphones and tablets for your workers. Or better yet, let them buy the devices for themselves…
(This blog series -- Save Money, Spend Smarter, and Get More Done -- is sponsored by HP Officejet Pro. Did you know that inkjet printers can create professional color documents at about half the cost per page of laser printers?)
So, what are you waiting for?
Haven't you noticed the mountains of news and advice about how mobility is transforming the way companies large and small do business? Or maybe you're skeptical that the hype is nothing more than just that.
Well, for once, the hype is justified.
Productivity - Anywhere, Anytime
Mobile computing -- more specifically the business use of smartphones and tablets - isn't hot just because tech vendors want to sell your company new stuff. Everyone's talking about the power of mobility because it really is a game changer.
And that means if your small business isn't already leveraging mobile technology, you're missing an opportunity to make your increasingly mobile workers more productive - and more satisfied with their jobs.
Think about it. Odds are that you and many of your most important employees are spending more and more time out of the office -- visiting customers, checking on projects, and attending meetings. (And if you're not, shouldn't you be?) With mobile technology, those people can be just as productive on the road as they are at their desks.
The latest smartphones and tablets give everyone instant access to a full suite of communications options, from calls and texts to email, the Web, social media, and even video conferencing. And new apps and cloud computing services make it easier than ever to do serious work, and pull the levers of your business, no matter where you happen to be.
Better Than the Desktop
In some cases, mobile technology is actually better than the desktop alternatives. As I've posted before, smartphones are typically more powerful and easier to use than office desk phones. (Does your desk phone have anything like the iPhone's Siri?) And cheap, portable video calls are infinitely more useful than those spendy videoconferencing systems stashed away in a conference room.
Similarly, for small groups, giving a presentation on a tablet can be more intimate and compelling than projecting your slides on the wall.
None of this should be a surprise. Consumers have enthusiastically adopted mobile technology, relying on it for both their personal and business lives.
That's critical, because your younger employees expect advanced mobile connectivity at all times. It's a given of modern life for them.
If your small business doesn't support this, those workers are likely to do it anyway, circumventing your company's policies and security procedures. Plus, they'll be annoyed and more likely to look for work elsewhere.
A Wealth of Mobile-Tech Options
I'm not even going to get into which flavor of smartphones you should choose. Sure, there are plenty differences among the various choices. But despite all the fanboys, passionate reviews, and online arguments, the real truth is that iPhones and iPads, Android devices, Blackberries, Windows Phone 7, and even the recently deceased Palm all do pretty much the same things - and they all do it pretty well. You might like one better - and one might have better options for your particular business - but the bottom line is that you can't go wrong with any of them.In fact, your best choice may be NOT to choose. Unlike large enterprises hobbled with legacy rules, many small companies find they have the freedom to support whatever technologies their mobile workers want to use.
Perhaps the best way to leverage the power of mobility is to let employees buy their own smartphones and mobile devices (and even computers) and then give those devices access to the corporate network. That gives your workers exactly what they want, and you can control your costs by offering set subsidies for purchases and service.
I'll ask again: If your small business hasn't already gone mobile, what are you waiting for?