The PDA As a Small Business Tool

The Internet has had a massive influence on how business has been conducted so far in the 21st Century. A huge number of small businesses have some form of web presence and some of them now see the Internet as a vital communication tool for interacting with their customer base. However, the majority of them still only consider it to be an additional sales channel or a method of advertising. Of course, the Internet does both of those things very well, but other important uses are often overlooked.

Business owners are becoming more and more familiar with using the Internet in the same way they had to adapt around ten years ago to the new technology explosion of mobile phone ownership. With the advent of mobile phones, small business owners could be available to their clients at all times of the day and this allowed many of them to adjust their business model quite significantly.

A similar change of working style has been possible in the past five or so years in that your entire business could be taken with you on-board a laptop due to the growing availability of Wi-Fi access in public areas. However, a laptop is still a fairly cumbersome device and this has prevented the widespread adoption of this style of working.

In the past few years there has been a gradual merging of the two technologies to combine the free-roaming nature of the phone with the functionality of a laptop. This duality of purpose can now be found in modern Personal Digital Assistant’s (PDA’s) and in Smartphone’s such as the Blackberry or (to a lesser extent) the iPhone.

There are a number of benefits to using one of these new devices as a business tool. The greatest advantage is the ability to access and edit your data at any time or place, because the majority of them can connect to the Internet via broadband provided by the 3G mobile networks.

Another benefit is being able to use remote access software on the device allowing you to actually connect directly to your home or office PC and run applications or get access to data you need. This technology also allows you to connect to the computers of customers in need of assistance.

Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are increasingly now being developed with mobile technology in mind. The major small business SaaS such as OnlineOffice from WinWeb is already functional from handheld mobile devices. This allows you to access and edit your data on the move with the reassurance of knowing that it is automatically being remotely backed up.

As mobile phones become increasingly like tiny personal computers, small business owners should be aware of the competitive advantage that incorporating them into their business strategy will provide.

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Mark Cruz
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Posted on Feb 4, 2012