This week, with everyone at the Info360/AIIM conference in Washington, it has been quiet release-wise. However, research from this week shows that SMBs are dependent on mobile apps, APAC will lead the SMB charge to cloud computing, Doculex has connected with MS Dynamics GP, while Infusion has upgraded its marketing automation platform.

SMBs Can't Survive Without Mobile

If anyone was in any doubt as to how important mobile applications are for SMBs, new research from AT&T (news, site) shows that not only are they essential for day-to-day business, but that in nearly 40% of cases, the business would not be able to survive without them.

Increasingly reliant on mobile apps and Facebook pages, SMBs -- according to the AT&T Small Business Technology Poll of businesses with between two and fifty employees -- shows that 72% are using mobile apps for business.

It also shows that 40% of employees in SMBs use wireless devices or technologies to work away from the office, again a considerable jump of 66% over last year.

For cloud service providers, there is also some good news. The survey found that one-third of SMBs indicated that they are using cloud-based or software as a service solution -- an impressive adoption rate, although for many of these services it is still early days.

Finally, given that there are more than 500 million active Facebook users, this year’s survey found a significant increase in small businesses that have adopted it as a business tool, with 41% reporting they have a Facebook page for their business.

Usage is up from 27% in 2010, representing a 52% jump in one year. Additionally, of all businesses reporting that they utilize social media, 41% responded that they’ve seen measurable success -- in terms of better communications and relationships with new and/or existing customers -- with these channels.

The results of the poll are based on an online survey of 2,246 small business owners and/or employees responsible for Information. if you want more detailed information, you can find it here.

DocuLex Connects to MS Dynamics GP

Meanwhile, DocuLex (news, site) has announced the availability of the company's WebSearch Connector V2, a desktop solution for integration between DocuLex Archive Studio's WebSearch document management software and business applications, including Microsoft Dynamics GP, QuickBooks, Sage, Needles and other line-of-business software packages.

The WebSearch Connector provides a pipeline between any application and WebSearch, allowing the user to execute document search and retrieval operations from virtually all desktop or browser-based applications.

It eliminates the technical hurdles and expense most often associated with custom programming and integration. Added to version 2 is the ability to retrieve documents associated with a transaction, name or keywords in an email message with one key.

APAC to Lead Cloud Computing Expansion

More research, this time from AMI Partners (news, site), shows that the rebound in the SMB market is not limited to the US. According to the research from AMI, APAC countries will invest US $11.4 billion in cloud computing solutions this year alone.

The proliferation of broadband internet and high-speed mobile networks provides these SMBs with an increasing number of options to gain access to cloud solutions. This allows a new segment of SMBs to adopt ICT functionality for the first time, especially in smaller cities, the report says.

AMI predicts the market for cloud solutions will grow at more than twice the rate of traditional ICT technologies in 2011 in these markets. In addition, this region is expected to lead worldwide expansion of cloud computing markets, thereby providing ICT vendors with a strong, sustainable growth potential.

In 2011, the majority of the APAC region’s cloud investments are estimated to come from SMBs in Korea, China, and Australia. The strongest growth among APAC economies is expected to take place in China and India with annual growth rates beyond 20%.

Compared to traditional ICT technologies, APAC SMBs will purchase a relatively small portion of their planned cloud solutions directly from an ICT vendor in 2011.

Infusion Upgrades Marketing Automation

Infusionsoft has announced that it has upgraded its Web-based marketing automation platform for SMBs that improves the software’s ability to manage marketing campaigns and simplify form building.

According to Richard Tripp, VP Product Management, Infusionsoft, and who previously headed Intuit’s Quickbooks, the release is a milestone for Infusionsoft, which he describes as a company “that historically has provided software that small businesses love and can’t live without, but find difficult to deploy quickly and easily.”

With this release, he says, all that is going to change. The new upgrades' product release helps users capture, qualify and convert leads faster and more efficiently. Users now can create and manage web forms and multi-channel marketing campaigns more quickly and easily through the use of templates and drag-and-drop builders.

New features include the Lead Campaign Template, which provides an assisted approach to creating campaigns that capture leads from a web form and add those contacts to an autoresponder email series.

Web Form Builder enables a new user with minimal technical proficiency to create a web form or landing page by using a drag-and-drop interface.

Of course, there are more upgrades to the platform, but these are the two that caught our eye. If you want to find out more about it, you’ll have to check out the website.

Users Send Sensitive Data by Tablet

Finally, we couldn’t leave it this week without a look at tablets. A survey carried out for FuzeBox shows that 48% of online American adults who own and use a tablet PC have transferred sensitive data over these devices, compared with 30% of smartphone users who have done so.

Age and gender also skew widely on sensitive data transfer over mobile devices, according to an online survey conducted January 27-31, 2011 among 2,364 U.S. online adults.

This new research demonstrates consumers are using tablets in similar capacities to PC computers, with men and younger audiences finding mobile security more trustworthy. Findings show:

  • 48% transfer sensitive data
  • 42% transfer sensitive data for personal use
  • 20% transfer sensitive data for business/professional use

While there is much to worry about in this, the fact that 20% of business users were transferring sensitive data will probably be of most concern to SMBs, or even larger enterprises for that matter.