We were thousands of feet above Texas and ready to jump out of a (fully functioning) airplane…where we really going to do this? Everyone was there: Dell, Dell EMC, VMware, RSA, Pivotal, Secureworks, Virtustream, and roughly 800 invited guests.
Truth be told, your intrepid blogger, his colleagues, and several hundred industry guests were not actually on said plane. We were not commemorating the recent launch of Dell Technologies with an acrobatic, aerial descent complete with company banners and smoke grenades. We were safely within the confines of a hotel in midtown Manhattan for the Dell EMC Forum where we were treated to an introductory visual and audio experience the likes of which shook the room. Following the impressive video, we learned a great deal about what to expect from this newly formed, privately held company. Throughout the day, AMI-Partners attended various breakout sessions to gain greater insight into current and emerging trends, with an obvious eye toward implications for the SMB market. As the specialization of employees across small and medium sized businesses evolve, so too must the tools they use to get the job done.
Tech to Match the Employee
One session that caught our attention concerned the workforce of the future. The US SMB space, with 6.5M businesses, is ripe for innovation and open to new ways of working. Attitudes are changing and so too are the ways work can get done. According to an AMI study, 74% of SBs and 100% MBs in the US support a mobile workforce. An increase in employee productivity and better collaboration among staff are two of the most frequently cited benefits of mobility. Management is working to better equip employees with devices that match their activity since work now permits staff to function in various locations.
The future workforce will be more mobile than ever, but there will still be room for the employee, at a fixed location, with a computer on a desk. To borrow from terminology we heard, the Desk-centric staff will be joined by a Corridor Warrior (the individual who is in-and-out of various rooms all day), an On-the-go Pro (the traveling type), the Specialized user (those requiring devices for a particular purpose), and the Remote worker (those who work from home or another location outside the office). Numerous AMI studies concerning mobility have shown the workforce is becoming more mobile and this trend will continue. Equipping the right person with the right tech will be paramount to ensure employee engagement, the realization of potential, and continued professional success.
Each of the aforementioned workers will need devices that match their activity. Desktops, portable PCs, tablets, ultrabooks, mobile phones and peripherals play a focused role in the workforce of the future. According to AMI’s Global Forecast Model, spending in the US on these devices will see a CAGR of 7% to 2020. It is not a closely guarded secret that desktop PC spending (and for that matter, shipments) is on the decline, but there is still a market for these devices. Specialized users, such as graphic designers, use highly advanced desktops with large monitors, often with multiple displays. However, mobile tech is gaining greater prominence in the modern office. In the US, professional services and the banking/financial industries are experiencing the fastest growth in spending across these devices. As these industries grow, with expanded services and the entry of new players, spending per employee will only increase if new devices brought to market are matched with the activities each employee performs.
The possibilities for the workforce of the future are limitless. The functions employees perform today, and the devices they use, were absent a generation ago. As the work we do changes, devices of all type will need to keep pace. Where once an employee was confined to a desk, now the world has become an office. Manufacturers will be well advised to stay abreast of developments in the SMB space concerning mobility, device usage, and the changing workforce structure. As stated earlier, 6.5M SMBs in the US are ripe for innovation and open to new ways of working. They just need the device(s) to get the job done, wherever they set up shop.
Andrew Svonavec | Associate