By Daniel Hunter

Nearly 600,000 UK small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are not completely satisfied with their current mobile strategy, with almost half of IT managers recognising that providing their employees with a different smartphone could improve their productivity.

In spite of this acknowledgement, mobile strategies remain low on their agenda, with 48 per cent of UK SMEs admitting that developing the right mobile solution isn’t high on their current list of priorities, according to a study released today.

The study, commissioned by Nokia, examines how satisfied UK SMEs are with their current mobile strategy, how much emphasis is currently being put on deploying the right solution and key consideration areas for IT managers when making a purchasing decision.

It reveals that of the 1.9 million UK SMEs with a mobile strategy in place, only a fifth are strategically planned. The majority have evolved organically, and a quarter of UK SMEs don’t have a formal strategy in place at all. It’s therefore unsurprising that IT managers are dissatisfied with their current mobile solution across a number of areas, including limited choice of suitable mobile platforms, complexities with integration, support and/or security, complex user experience and poor service or support from their current mobile provider.

The main concern identified in the study is around employee productivity, with almost half of IT managers believing that a different smartphone would make performing certain activities quicker. A quarter are of the opinion that providing a different device would provide easier integration with other business applications and systems used across the organisation, whilst 42 per cent believe it would provide additional functionality.

It’s interesting to note that 93 per cent of IT managers felt that their current smartphones provide most, if not all, of the required functionality. This conflicting statistic suggests that whilst IT managers understand the benefits of reviewing their mobile strategy, current, adequate functionality tides them over meaning that this gets deprioritised.

“The mobile industry is evolving at great speed, with manufacturers and operators regularly bringing out new devices and improved services. The prospect of reviewing and potentially changing a mobile strategy can be off-putting for busy IT managers, who are faced with many other challenges," Ewan MacLeod, editor of Mobile Industry Review commented.

"However, it doesn’t have to be as complex as it may at first appear and having the right mobile solution in place provides tangible and immediate benefits for businesses and employees.”

The rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) introduced an additional challenge for IT managers who in some instances have been required to support multiple devices / systems / platforms in the workplace. It’s encouraging to see that mind sets appear to be changing with over half of IT managers understanding that it’s important to provide a smartphone that blends work and personal use, and 55 per cent recognising that a smartphone acts as an incentive for employees.

“We see the challenges faced by IT managers every day, and understand the difficult decisions they have to make to get the best from their mobile strategy, both for their business and employees," Adrian Williams, Director of B2B Solutions at Nokia, commented.

"The days of the work phone/personal phone are numbered, with devices, such as the Nokia Lumia 920, available that successfully blend personal and work use.

"By spending some time researching, planning and implementing the right strategy, IT managers can introduce a wealth of benefits and opportunities for their business to not only save money, but also make money as their workforce is able to conduct business whenever and wherever they are, and to do so on a device they love.”

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