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Despite enthusiasm from two-thirds of Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to integrate digital and mobile technologies into the workplace, it transpires the same organisations do not have a strategy in place to achieve this.

For 66% of SME senior management, optimizing the cloud, applications and mobile devices, thereby creating the Digital Workplace, is a strategic priority. Yet, according to a study of over 500 SMEs by Aruba, half of all organisations have no foreseeable plans to implement such a strategy.

A quarter of SMEs are already thinking digital and plan to invest in the digitalisation of the workplace over the next year. SMEs are investing in technology designed to optimise the mobile workforce, and a further 20% have plans to make similar purchases. But there are concerns about security and increased cost: half cite data security as the major barrier between their company and the Digital Workplace, and 30% see cost as the main issue.

Across all respondents, the number one reason given for investing in the mobile workplace is to achieve an increase in productivity, efficiency and flexibility, followed by the better access and sharing of data and improved team collaboration.

Jeremy Lye, European marketing manager at Schroders UK, added: “The more advanced digital technology and analytics we have invested in has increased our understanding of clients’ purchasing behaviours. It’s also very important to have flexibility to work from anywhere. Our clients are based across various parts of the country which means our sales people can now visit clients at their offices and access business data just as if they were in their office. This has improved sales productivity and clients are happier.”

Small businesses do recognize the need to deploy better security policies and for IT departments to establish control of all devices being used for work. To understand how to achieve this, 85% intend to seek the advice of a local IT partner. Seeking out expert support is the number one strategy that SMEs plan to adopt in pursuit of the Digital Workplace, over and above peers, analyst reports or web searches.

Chris Kozup, VP marketing at Aruba, said: “SMEs that are embracing the Digital Workplace are reaping the benefits, but it’s a tough ask for any IT manager to marry the ambitions of senior management with their limited budgets and perceived security concerns. Local IT partners have a huge opportunity to become trusted advisors that can help SMEs overcome these challenges, helping them to implement digital and mobile technologies that can improve business productivity, enhance customer experience and achieve increased revenues.”