Consumer Technologies Help Smaller Business, Yankee Finds
February 18, 2008 Alex Woodie
Ever since IBM introduced the first personal computers almost 30 years ago, the consumer has been driving the development of computing technologies. This trend has been especially evident among the smaller businesses that adopted PCs and PC servers to automate their businesses, but it’s also had an impact on corporations that buy big honking servers. But a new study by the Yankee Group aims to shed some light on the new class of consumer technologies, and how they help drive employee productivity at small and mid size businesses.
According to the Yankee Group, SMB technologies like blogs, wikis, smart phones, wireless-enabled laptops, instant messaging, and online travel services can improve the productivity of SMB employees by 25 to 50 percent. These technologies are particularly useful for certain groups of users, including mobile employees, which Yankee dubbed the “Anywheres.”
Consumer technology is not necessarily improving productivity in the office for SMBs. In many cases, the technology makes it more possible for the Anywheres to achieve a balance between their work and home lives, “adding a level of sanity to their hectic lives,” Yankee says.
While some technologies can benefit some types of employees, SMBs as a whole are generally technological laggards, according to Steve Hilton, vice president of the Yankee Group’s enterprise research group. “SMBs are stuck in a productivity malaise using technology no more helpful than a bikini in a meat locker,” he says.
And then there is the potential for consumer technologies to decrease the productivity of the SMB. Voice-only cellular phones, Second Life, Slingbox, and YouTube are examples of technologies that hurt productivity.