Survey: PCs, Not Tablets, Dominate Small Biz App Use

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted September 20, 2012

Small business owners are still clinging to their PCs despite an explosion of cloud services and mobile devices that enable anytime, anywhere productivity.

In August, Newtek, a small business services provider, polled 2,100 small business owners about their mobile usage. The company discovered while mobile devices are becoming a common presence in both the personal and professional lives of workers, a majority of small business owners, 67 percent in fact, aren't running business applications on their smartphones or tablets.

And in potentially bad news for tablet makers targeting small business IT budgets, a staggering 86 percent do not envision replacing their PCs with a smartphone or tablet. A meager 14 percent of those surveyed said that they are pondering making the switch.

Newtek CEO Barry Sloane believes that those switchers won't stay in the minority for very long.

BYOD or Bust?

"We are somewhat surprised that those non-mobile application participants do not recognize that they will be moving over to tablet use, as only 14 percent of those non-users interviewed said they intend or believe they will switch in the future," said Sloane in a company statement.

All signs point to a cloudier, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) future, says Sloane.

"We believe the long-term trend toward cloud computing and small businesses using tablets and smartphones has started." he states. Sloan adds, "We also see businesses saving a lot of money and becoming much more efficient with fingertip data; and [we see] much more reporting and computing power with state-of-the-art software becoming more readily available."

Those predictions are already playing out for many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Earlier this year, a study conducted by RingCentral, a cloud business-phone services provider, revealed that that tablet ownership ballooned to 62 percent this year from 28 percent in 2011 among SMB owners.

RingCentral's data also indicates that as iPads and other tablets invade in the workforce, cloud app adoption soon follows. Fifty-seven percent of SMB owners said that they use cloud services for more than half of their applications, with document sharing, collaboration and payroll apps taking the lead.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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