The findings were detailed in the Sage SMB Survey on Mobile Devices that polled 490 small and mid-sized businesses across the United States, revealing that the majority of employees’ most commonly used remote devices were laptops and smartphones to conduct business or access important information when away from the office.
Laptops accounted for 80 percent of those surveyed and smartphones at 81 percent, showing that a sizable number of professionals are not only using these devices but often using both. Tablets weren’t too far behind, accounting for 57 percent.
The survey found that four out of five “decision makers” polled felt that the use of remote devices was beneficial to their company and helped make “anywhere” an efficient place to work.
The survey’s findings can be broken down to see just how this can benefit a company. Respondents felt mobile devices are suitable for keeping business contacts organized (31 percent), scheduling (26 percent), and managing and assigning tasks to employees and colleagues (23 percent).
Those polled were also asked if they run a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, or plan to enact one in their business in the future. Almost half, 48 percent, of respondents said this policy was already in place in their companies, while 31 percent have not considered it. Only 9 percent of those polled were opposed to a BYOD strategy for their business.
Despite the fluctuating views of BYOD, smartphones are used by employees over 58 percent of the time according to Sage, regardless of whether it is a personal phone or one provided by the employer.
“For many businesses, the mobile device is an extension of the office,” commented executive vice president of Sage North America, Joe Langner. “It affords workers the freedom to leave the office while maintaining the connectivity necessary to keep business objectives moving forward wherever they are. Mobility can support collaboration of internal teams by enabling seamless integration between the field and the office as well as eliminating potential bottlenecks between departments,” he said.
“Employees are looking to work beyond the ‘four walls’,” Lagner added. “Take mobile salespeople, for example. They need as much data as possible to close a sale. They need to be able to access their catalog of items, create sales quotes, and even compare their sales number against their team’s performance and goals. With mobile business applications, they can do this anywhere; they’re no longer tethered to the office.”
The Sage study follows a similar study conducted by AT&T, on 1,000 businesses nationwide, which found that 98 percent of those polled use some kind of wireless technology in their day to day business. Sage’s findings are only likely compound the belief that more and more businesses should go mobile.
The Sage SMB Survey on Mobile Devices was conducted among 490 respondents and has an error rate of +/- 4.4 percent with a 95 percent confidence level. It was conducted as part of a larger online survey of decision makers and employees of different businesses and industries on their uses of and attitudes to mobile devices in the workplace.