Over the past few years, Sub-Saharan Africa has led the world in mobile take-up growth. With increasing smartphone penetration, coupled with falling data prices, more and more people – as well as businesses – are turning to mobile as their go-to computing device. For business owners, now is the time to begin considering a mobile-first approach to daily operations. Here’s why…
1 – Designed for Fast Growth & Agility
Given that SMEs and start-ups generally don’t have large-scale legacy technology infrastructure and systems in place, these businesses can be more agile and leapfrog to a mobile-only approach. Also, as many business leaders are now finding, being geared to operate on-the-go can spur the growth of new and expanding businesses. Today, many of the new productivity apps are built for, and work better on, phones and tablets. They’re also more efficient and user-friendly than legacy desktop software, making things like payments and document creation far more simple and seamless.
2 – Mobile Micro Computers Enabling Green IT (& Energy Efficiency!)
With an increasing regulatory emphasis on green business practices and environmental sustainability, new micro computing devices promote mobile working while also significantly reducing energy usage. The CloudGate X, for example, is a locally developed microcomputer that uses less than five percent of the electricity that a typical desktop requires. By switching to this highly innovative palm-sized device, businesses of any size can immediately reduce their energy footprint by a substantial amount. This type of cost-saving device also enables businesses to continue operating for a longer time during outages – with much of the processing power and storage capabilities that traditional computers offer.
3 — Mobile-Only Mindset Fuelling Global Innovation
According to analytics firm ComScore, mobile digital app use has grown by around 50 percent over the past two years. The company has noted that ‘mobile has grown so fast that it’s now the leading digital platform, with total activity on smartphones and tablets accounting for 62 percent of digital media time spent, and apps alone now representing the majority of digital media time at 54 percent.’ It’s no surprise then, that technologists are creating highly innovative and effective tools that align with a mobile-only mindset.
4 – E-Commerce is Growing Wings
Smartphones and other mobile devices are rapidly shaping how global commerce is conducted. Beyond influencing shopping behaviour, data is revealing that consumers are becoming more comfortable finalizing transactions on their phones. In the U.S., a trailblazer for e-commerce and all things retail, smartphones were used in over one-third—or more than $1 trillion—of total U.S. retail sales in 2018. This is according to Forrester’s 2018 Retail Best Practices: Mobile Web study.
Additionally, according to data from Google Analytics from June to September 2017, over 40 percent of online transactions were made on mobile devices. For savvy brands and businesses, this means that more and more eyeballs are being trained on smartphones at every hour of the day – creating infinite opportunities to engage with both consumers and businesses.
5 — Restless Millennials Craving Mobility
For any emerging start-up or fast-growing SME, it is becoming critical to attracting young and tech-savvy talent. This generation has grown up with smartphones and social media, and expect to be able to work remotely, preferably off a mobile device. In SA, Millennials represent the largest generation (at 19.5 million) to enter the workforce. They’ll represent over 50% of the workforce by 2020 and 75% by 2030!
Given these statistics, businesses across sectors simply cannot afford to ignore the need for a mobile-first (or mobile-only) approach.
Review Your Mobile IT Security Practices
Before leaping into the highly seductive sphere of the mobile business, however, we have to highlight the importance of robust mobile IT security. Today, given the shift within the business and consumer ecosystems, mobile is now being described as the new ‘playground’ for cybercriminals and hackers.
According to an IBM study, users are actually three times more likely to respond to a phishing attack on a mobile device than a desktop, largely because a phone is where people are most likely to first see a message or email (by the way, a staggering 91% of cybercrime starts with email!) Notably, research from U.S. telecoms giant Verizon shows that the smaller screen sizes and corresponding limited display of detailed information on smartphones (particularly in notifications, which frequently include one-tap options for opening links or responding to messages) can also increase the likelihood of phishing success.
Before panicking and renouncing mobile (and the Web!), rather speak to your IT provider to ensure that you have the best protections and strategies in place. By following basic rules and guidelines, as well as implementing key security tools, you can keep your mobile and micro computing environments both safe and user-friendly!