Mobile Apps Fuel Small Business Savings

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted March 30, 2012

Mobile apps can help small business owners save an average of $377 each month, according to survey conducted by eVoice, a provider of IP telephony services. The efficiency-boosting combo of on-the-go Internet access and handheld computing is helping entrepreneurs save roughly $4,500 each year by shifting their bookkeeping, document sharing and travel workloads to mobile apps.

They're also saving on the most precious of resources: time.

Thirty-one percent of small businesses with 20 or fewer employees report that they are improving efficiency through the use of mobile apps. Thanks to those apps, they are recouping an average of 5.6 hours a week.

eVoice's 25 Hour Day Survey (PDF) took the pulse of small business mobility by polling 400 participants. According to the results, today's small business owner is more likely to rely on mobile apps and devices. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed reported having become more mobile over the past two years.

And where mobile devices like smartphones and tablets go, cloud services follow.

Bright Outlook for Small Business Cloud Services

Nearly half of those polled by eVoice, 45 percent, plan on adopting a cloud service this year. Of those jumping on the bandwagon, 59 percent favor online backup and storage. Email marketing comes in second at 35 percent, followed by customer relationship management (CRM) at 28 percent and customer service at 26 percent.

Clearly, small businesses are turning to the cloud for data protection and go-anywhere access to files. The data also shows that significant numbers of small businesses are warming to the idea of accessing CRM software -- the lifeblood of many modern organizations -- via the cloud.

Despite the downsides of cloud-based CRM offerings like limited offline access and ongoing subscription costs, eVoice's findings suggest that growing numbers of small business users think the benefits outweigh the shortcomings.

In Small Business Computing’s CRM buying guide, packages like Salesforce.com and Zoho CRM were noted for constant upgrades, easy access for mobile and remote workforces -- not to mention enterprise-grade data protection and availability by virtue of their data center infrastructures. The cloud clearly fits the bill for small businesses that are big on ambition but a little short on in-house IT resources.

Coincidentally, these attributes also alleviate the major IT pain points that small businesses currently experience. Thirty percent of respondents cited keeping up with technology changes as the top IT challenge. This was followed up by a lack of IT support at 16 percent and achieving mobility at 15 percent.

For more insights, check out this infographic from eVoice.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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