Software developer Sage North America announced the results of the Sage SMB Survey on Mobile Devices focused on the construction sector, which recently surveyed 331 small- and mid-sized construction companies in the United States and Canada. The Survey found that while mobile technology has had a positive impact on many facets of this industry, organizations still are not budgeting in advance for these needs and instead wait to invest in mobile on a case-by-case basis.
The survey demonstrated the value of mobile devices to the construction community with more than three quarters of organizations (76 percent) reporting that a portion of their workforce is using a smartphone to access work-related information while out of the office. Seventy-seven percent of respondents reported that smartphones have had a positive effect on organizational productivity.
The positive effects of mobile technology have been most keenly felt in the area of customer service, according to the survey. Seventy-five percent of respondents stated that client support has been improved in their company since the adoption of mobile technology.
“Forty-four percent of respondents stated that they have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy in place. This may explain why construction businesses don’t budget for mobile: BYOD helps ensure that expenses are relatively small,” said Joe Langner, executive vice president and general manager, mid-market solutions for Sage North America. “Yet, it’s evident that businesses are [seeing] productivity benefits of mobile devices, so it’s absolutely worthwhile to encourage companies to forecast for mobile — whether it’s a specific line item expense or it’s an official BYOD policy.”
With regard to mobile applications, organizations were less concerned with customer service and more interested in connectivity. Among six different options, nearly half (44 percent) of respondents agreed that their number-one priority is for an app to integrate with their existing system. The next most popular mobile application priority was far behind, with 17 percent pronouncing monthly cost to be their primary consideration.
“The construction industry inherently requires mobility,” said Langner. “Mobile technology can enable design teams and contractors to access construction documents, take photos and publish reports all from the field, promoting efficiency and immediacy in their tasks. With so many professionals in the industry spending substantial time on job sites, transporting materials and meeting with clients on-the-go, it’s imperative that construction businesses adopt mobile technologies to ensure they remain competitive.”
Despite largely positive results of the survey with regard to a commitment to mobile technology in the construction field, organizations still haven’t committed to a dedicated budget for mobile technology and applications. While 78 percent of construction companies will supply mobile devices to its employees, less than 14 percent set any kind of annual budget for mobile technology. Furthermore, less than one quarter (20 percent) of construction companies have a single employee dedicated to maintaining IT systems on a fulltime basis.
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 the executive respondents is +/- 5 percent and among mobile device users +/- 4 percent with a confidence level of 95 percent
Complete findings from the study are available here.