How can the use of smartphones and tablets help SMEs?
In recent years, as IT becomes increasingly integral to business, there are numerous situations in which mobile terminals such as smartphones and tablets can be of use. That said, there is lingering resistance to the introduction of new technology into the workplace. It might be interesting to consider the benefits for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of integrating the use of mobile terminals into their business and how this can best be achieved.
What characteristics are specific to smartphones and tablets?
To consider the pros and cons of the use of mobile terminals such as smartphones and tablets in business, let us first determine where their specific characteristics lie. Their most striking characteristics are their excellent portability and functionality. They are more portable than a PC, while giving the same access to online services such as document production and spreadsheets. Indeed, if connected to a detachable keyboard, they can be used instead of a PC when out and about. In addition, touchscreen phones and tablet are now the norm, giving intuitive access to those unfamiliar with conventional terminals such as PCs.
Today’s smartphones can be used to take payments
Functions can be added to smartphones and tablets by downloading different applications. For example, the AirREGI application allows almost all of the tasks carried out by a conventional cash register to be carried out on a tablet. In addition, the Square application allows payment to be taken by credit card anywhere, once a specialist reader is attached to the mobile terminal, with the customer signing the touchscreen. These functions are surely applicable to sectors other than services and retail.
The use of such online services could spread gradually throughout society. FinTech, which fuses finance and IT, has progressed in recent years, and the aforementioned payment services could become increasingly ubiquitous. Thus, it is important for SMEs to be flexible as regards the adoption of new technology, if they are to avoid being left out on a limb with incompatible systems.
Can smartphones and tablets completely replace PCs at SMEs?
Years ago, there were barriers to SMEs introducing PCs. Installation and security were complex, and subsequent maintenance required some technical skill. However, outsourcing maintenance to specialists pushed up costs, meaning it was no simple matter for cash-strapped SMEs to introduce PCs.
Compared to this, it is easy for SMEs to integrate the use of smartphone and tablets into their business, with installation and operation both simple. Previously, PCs were used for email confirmation, requiring the installation of the relevant software. However, when using the online services available via smartphones and tablets, confirmation is possible at any time and place.
The use of smartphones can reduce costs and generate sales
Effective utilization of smartphones and tablets reduces costs and raises sales. First, employees have access to information no matter where they are, and can quickly respond to customers while on the move. Also, emails and intra-company social networks allow confidential intra-company communication, which must surely contribute to improved business efficiency. Some companies have been able to control the maintenance costs associated with glitch-free instore payments by using the aforementioned online payment services.
Use of smartphones at SMEs to become commonplace
In the future, it will be more and more common for SMEs to utilise smartphones and tablets in more and more ways. The introduction of such mobile devices is inexpensive and simple, even for SMEs. Also, their use is likely to help raise sales and reduce costs. Early integration of the use of smartphones and tablets may prove essential for continued success and enhanced efficiency at SMEs.