Businesses are increasingly reliant on mobile technologies for many aspects of operations, from management, to sales, to client service, according to a new survey.
The second annual Sage SMB Survey on Mobile Devices showed that slightly more than half of the businesses responding to the survey supply their employees with mobile devices (54 percent). This figure is down from 69 percent in the 2013 survey. The survey polled 1,090 small and midsized businesses (SMBs) in the United States.
When asked about the positive effect mobile technology has had on their businesses, respondents said the biggest positive effect has been on customer service (70 percent). Business owners found mobile devices have also been helpful in performing business in the event of inclement weather (32 percent). Furthermore, they responded that mobile devices have been helpful in bringing more work to the company (21 percent) and by giving the ability to conduct meetings remotely (20 percent).
"The Sage Mobile Device Survey shows that mobile technology makes doing business easier, empowers superior customer service and increases productivity," said Joe Langner, executive vice president and general manager of mid-market solutions for Sage North America. "With important business functions like customer contact being conducted primarily on mobile devices, business owners are finding ways to take advantage of technology and are seeing mobility make a true impact on their business."
One of the most surprising findings is that while mobility is clearly having a positive effect on business processes, most businesses are not budgeting for the cost of mobile devices. Slightly more than three-quarters of business executives generally do not budget for mobile devices, preferring instead to purchase them as the need arises. Five percent report that their business sets an annual budget for mobile items and sticks to it, while slightly more than one in ten (12 percent) set an annual budget and adjust expenditures as needed.
Other notable findings include:
- Slightly more than half of the survey respondents (51 percent) personally use a mobile device to access work-related information remotely (when away from the office or their main computer).
- About two out of five respondents who use mobile applications are using a work-related application on their mobile device (other than a laptop) that connects to the cloud.
- Employees most commonly use mobile applications for checking their email (96 percent), text messaging (84 percent), managing contacts (79 percent) and their calendar (71 percent), documents (65 percent), banking (60 percent) and social media (55 percent).
The survey was conducted by Sage between April 18 and May 4, 2014, among an independent panel of small and medium-sized businesses in the United States. The margin of error for all mobile device users is +/- 4% with a confidence level of 95 percent and among executive respondents only is +/- 5% with a confidence level of 95 percent.
Complete findings of the survey are available here. For more information on Sage mobile applications, please see here.