There's much more to a mobile workforce than the ability to conduct business on the go; mobile technology is also critical to effectively running and growing small businesses, a new study reveals.
The study, released this week by business and accounting software provider Sage North America, found that mobile technology has been instrumental to business processes. Specifically, 70 percent of the survey respondents said mobile technology has had the most positive impact on customer service, while 68 percent said smartphones had a positive effect on company productivity.
Mobile devices have had the greatest effect on the expansion of business operations, the study found: 32 percent of respondents said mobile devices have helped them conduct business in inclement weather, while 20 percent said mobile devices have helped them conduct meetings remotely. Moreover, 21 percent of survey respondents said mobile devices benefited them by bringing more work for the company. [Best Smartphones for Business: 2014 Edition]
The study also showed how employees depend on mobile technology to perform job functions: 96 percent of survey respondents said they use mobile devices to check their email, 84 percent use it for text messaging, 79 percent use it to manage contacts, 71 percent use mobile tech for their calendar and 65 percent use it for documents. Additionally, about 40 percent of respondents said they use work-related apps to connect to the cloud, the study found.
Overall, the study found that mobile technology makes it easier to conduct business, improves customer service and increases productivity.
"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," Joe Langner, executive vice president and general manager of midmarket solutions for Sage North America, said in a statement.
Despite the positive impact of mobile technology on businesses' ability to run and grow a business, however, the study found that more than three-quarters of businesses (77 percent) don't plan for, budget or invest in mobile technology. The study also showed that only 5 percent of companies set an annual budget for mobile devices, and that there has been a 14 percent decrease in employers providing mobile devices to employees since 2013.
The Sage Mobile Device Survey was conducted between April 18 and May 4, 2014, and surveyed 1,090 U.S.-based small and midsize businesses.
Originally published on Business News Daily.