The mobile working market has boomed over the past few years and, according to recent research, the number of staff now classified as mobile workers in UK SMEs has reached the 50 per cent mark.
For the reseller community there is an obvious sales opportunity here, in the form of laptops, PDAs and mobile phones. But surely it is time for the channel to think beyond IT if they are to truly capitalise on the growing market.
Mobile working has clear benefits for UK businesses. Giving staff the ability to work from home can create a much more productive working environment than insisting they are in the office nine-to-five, seven days a week. Likewise, business travellers are able to maximise time spent on trains and planes if they are equipped with a laptop. But mobile working also brings with it many health and safety concerns. For instance, lugging heavy laptops around can result in back injuries, and carrying around expensive PDAs place employees at risk of theft. Furthermore, the rise of hot-desking, where employees spend a lengthy amount of time hunched over a screen that is not at eye level, also puts workers’ health at risk. All of these problems could be stamped out with the right advice and products from the reseller, and at the same time have a positive impact on revenue and the prospect of repeat business.
The channel needs to provide consultancy to customers for non-technical personal workspace solutions – the laptop carry-case market alone is worth £36m. Focusing on ensuring the technology works is one thing, but making certain that mobile workers are safe and comfortable at the same time is another. Ignoring this opportunity means missing out on margin.
Resellers need to be arming their customers with additional products to support mobile workers. It is a burgeoning market and one that shows no sign of decline. Ergonomic and sound products that assist customers to adhere to health and safety regulations will also help to differentiate one reseller’s sales proposition to another.
The channel must think beyond IT and look to personal workspace solutions and accessories as an essential part of the selling process. Continuing to focus on shifting boxes for short-term gain will mean missing out on a huge chunk of revenue.
Lianne Denness is managing director of Hypertec.
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