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The rise of mobility is the most prevalent and consuming change for businesses to manage today. A number of factors, from technological innovation such as cloud and security considerations to economic recovery, are contributing to this transformation across European companies. A key consideration during this period is making sure that your business invests in the right hardware, services and software to enable staff to work efficiently, regardless of whether they’re office-based or on the move.
Move away from consumer-grade solutions
According to SMB Group, over 60 per cent of SMBs believe mobile solutions are critical to the business[i] – however, it is employees wanting to use familiar devices that is the significant catalyst in driving consumer device uptake within BYOD strategies.
But SMBs face a variety of challenges that differ to those of consumers, and devices need to meet these security, connectivity, reliability and image stability requirements that aren’t always considered within the build of a typical consumer product. Instead, devices designed specifically for the mobile era of business, such as Toshiba’s lightweight Portégé Z20t 2-in-1 laptop and tablet, have been created with these factors taken into account, providing tools truly designed to meet business needs.
Security and reliability are key
Smaller businesses often do not have the in-house IT support to provide advice or back-up equipment, and any time offline will have a large impact on productivity and the ability to serve customers. With this in mind, SMBs should make sure they buy from a reliable brand that has a strong focus on customer support and creating products with reliability guarantees – for example Toshiba’s support includes money back and a free repair over the first year, [ii] providing complete confidence to SMBs when it comes to IT investments.
As people become more dependent on their devices and spend the vast majority of their working lives online, the amount of confidential material being stored on smartphones, laptops and tablets is also on the rise. Data is the most valuable asset for the majority of businesses today and strong security should not be ignored by SMBs – if a device is stolen, it’s not just the hardware you are losing but potentially a large amount of valuable, business critical information. Buyers should therefore be considering products that have advanced security measures built in like Trusted Platform Module or as additions such as Toshiba Cloud Client Manager – this level of protection is not required for traditional consumer laptop use, but can give business owners peace of mind that their data and devices are sufficiently safeguarded.
Affordable financing options – making business devices accessible without the upfront costs
Despite the advantages of business-built devices, SMBs may not always have the capital to invest in new technology of this sort. At the same time, IT investment is on the rise so it is essential SMBs can embrace new technologies in order to remain competitive. Some vendors offer flexible financing options, removing up-front costs and keeping IT expenditure down. For example, Toshiba’s Buy & Try Satisfaction Guarantee scheme provides purchasing confidence to businesses, [iii] allowing them to ensure they are fully comfortable with the Portégé Z20t and understand the productivity and security enhancements it brings to their employees. If not, they are eligible for a refund within 30 days. When coupled with Toshiba’s Reliability Guarantee programme, it goes to show options are out there to give SMBs complete reassurance during the purchasing cycle and beyond.
The top 25 per cent of SMBs globally are experiencing double the revenue growth and up to eight times the number of jobs created based on their adoption of mobile technologies. [iv] But as business needs grow, it is equally important mobile working is embraced in the right way – with technology designed for business. IT spend continues to increase globally, so SMBs must ensure they are investing in the products suited to them, providing benefits to support growth – otherwise, they may find themselves on the back foot in an increasingly competitive market.
The author: Neil Bramley is Northern Europe business unit director, B2B, Toshiba
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 Available in selected countries and applicable on eligible models only. Subject to the Terms and Conditions, should your laptop break within one year of purchase you may be eligible to claim a free Standard Warranty repair and a refund of the purchase price. Claims can only be made if the laptop has been registered within 30 days of purchase. Please visit http://www.toshiba.eu/innovation/generic/reliability/ for full details
i. ‘2014 Small and Medium Business Mobile Solutions Study (SMB Group), http://www.smb-gr.com/
ii. Available in selected countries and applicable on eligible models only. Subject to the Terms and Conditions, should your laptop break within one year of purchase you may be eligible to claim a free Standard Warranty repair and a refund of the purchase price. Claims can only be made if the laptop has been registered within 30 days of purchase. Please visit http://www.toshiba.eu/innovation/generic/reliability/ for full details
iii. One reimbursement per company, product must be returned in full working order. Terms and conditions apply. Please visit www.toshiba.eu/z20t for full terms and conditions
iv. ‘The Mobile Revolution: How Mobile Technologies Drive A Trillion-Dollar Impact’ (Boston Consulting Group and Qualcomm), https://www.bcgperspectives.com/Images/The_Mobile_Revolution_Jan_2015_tcm80-180510.pdf