Expert Interview Series: Laurie McCabe of the SMB Group on Why SMBs Should be Using Mobile Technology
Laurie McCabe, co-founder and partner at SMB Group, has long had a passion for technology. She worked as a technology industry analyst for several years before becoming involved with the then new software-as-a-service market around 2000.
“At that time, most of the vendors in this space were focusing on small business, which had often been unable to afford or run most business solutions themselves,” she says. “I found the opportunity that the SaaS/cloud model offered for SMBs to automate their operations and level the playing field against large companies exciting.”
We recently asked Laurie a few questions about why small businesses should consider investing in mobile technology today. Here’s what she had to say:
How should small businesses be using mobile technology today?
Mobile solutions are quickly becoming essential to SMBs. Our research shows that 55 percent of small and 65 percent of medium businesses view mobile solutions as essential to their businesses. Almost all SMBs already use mobile apps for collaboration, such as email, calendaring and contact management. SMBs are starting to see the value of using mobile apps to complement and extend traditional business applications – such as CRM, financials, HR and other functional areas. Over time, I think the line between traditional business apps and mobile apps will blur as more vendors take a mobile first development approach.
What are some of the most innovative uses of mobile technology you’ve seen in SMBs?
Every business is unique, and SMBs can use mobile to focus on their unique requirements, whether to improve flexibility, customer experiences or employee productivity. One story I like is about a company that deployed a mobile fleet management solution, which helped them more flexibly and efficiently adapt to route changes. The app helped them to identify and dispatch the closest driver, so they could respond to customers faster. It helped them to improve customer satisfaction, efficiency and to save money.
What considerations should SMBs make when incorporating mobile technology into reaching customers and growing and running their businesses?
While providing mobile business capabilities for employees is important, it’s also critical to make it easy for your customers to interact with you via their mobile devices. Your website should be mobile-friendly, and you should consider providing customers with mobile apps for key interactions, such as scheduling appointments or paying bills.
What mobile solutions do you think more SMBs should consider?
When it comes to mobile business apps, look for apps that easily integrate with existing business solutions so you can more easily streamline workflows and get the full value of mobile solutions.
What are the most common mistakes you see SMBs making when it comes to implementing mobile solutions?
SMBs are rapidly adopting mobile solutions, but too often without a solid strategy to guide and manage mobile investments. Although it’s easy to buy and install mobile apps, SMBs often neglect security and management until a problem surfaces. It’s important to develop a mobile strategy to help map out top priorities and the outcomes you need from mobile solutions, and to create security and use policies to ensure that you can protect your mobile investments. Take a holistic approach and develop a mobile strategy, policies for users and put a mobile management solution in place to manage and secure mobile devices and apps.
What considerations should SMBs make when shopping for mobile solutions?
Again, mobile should be part of your overall business solutions strategy. there are lots of mobile solutions out there, so it can be overwhelming if you don’t have business objectives for your mobile investments. Focus on the areas of the business that you want to improve and streamline, and look for solutions to address these as top priorities.
What do you think is the future for how SMBs use mobile technology?
SMB Group research shows that mobile accounts for an increasing percentage of SMB technology spending. SMBs are bullish on using mobile solutions to help grow the business and improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. SMB employees will continue to do more work on mobile devices, and SMBs will continue to build and refine customer-facing mobile websites and apps to interact, engage and transact more effectively with their customers.
Connect with Laurie on LinkedIn and Twitter.Mobile solutions, mobile technology
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