A new Citrix-sponsored study shows the impact that mobile Relevant Products/Services devices are having on small businesses. The report, conducted by pollster YouGov, found that nearly one-fifth of small businesses in the U.S., Canada and Australia have experienced productivity gains of more than 30 percent after adopting mobile workstyles.

The survey, which queried 1,250 small businesses in Europe, North America and Australia, was intended to find out the impact that mobile workstyles, including anywhere-you-want cloud Relevant Products/Services technologies, were having on small businesses.

Only about 8 percent of European small businesses have experienced 30 percent productivity gains, but the report notes that the Old World leads North America and Australia in establishing governance and management procedures for "bring your own devices" (BYOD). Thirty-two percent of European small businesses have policies and IT systems in place for managing employees' personal devices used for work, while only 26 percent of those in the U.S., Canada or Australia do.

Under Pressure

Laura DiDio, an analyst with industry research firm Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, said her company's research finds a greater impact of productivity gains among small businesses. In an ITIC report covering February and March of this year, she said, the data Relevant Products/Services showed that "3 in 5 companies in the U.S. have seen about a 40 percent increase in productivity" because of mobile workstyles.

DiDio attributed the high gains to "the ability to work anywhere and do it 24x7." She also noted that, for a small business Relevant Products/Services, if something doesn't get done right away, "they might have a cash flow problem," so mobile workstyles have very tangible consequences.

The pressure is building for more small businesses to adopt work-anywhere policies and technologies. Overall, the Citrix study found that slightly more than a third of small businesses are under more pressure to adopt or boost mobile work practices than they were five years ago. In France, that pressure is felt by about half of all small businesses.

As with the BYOD movement in general, a substantial portion of the pressure to enable work-anywhere practices is coming from employees. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said that employees were providing the greatest pressure for change, a greater pressure than budget, productivity or competitive advantages.

Making Lives Easier

And the pressure is not just coming from employees who interact with customers, or who work remotely. Instead, 42 percent of respondents said it was coming from employees throughout their organizations. Sixty-eight percent of small-business decision-makers in the U.S. report that their staff are already using their own personal communication devices for business. In Canada, it's 65 percent, while in the U.K. it's about 47 percent.

For employees, what is the key driver of this trend? The report found that the main motivation is simply making employees' lives easier by making management of their personal and work lives -- which are increasingly blurred -- easier. Unsurprisingly, the most utilized mobile device is the smartphone, even more than PCs -- 65 percent, compared with 58 percent.

Social collaboration is considered a key tool for increased productivity among mobile workers at these small companies. Forty-five percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that social collaboration tools helped make meetings more productive.