Fewer businesses are supplying their employees with mobile devices this year over last, according to the second annual mobile device survey from Sage, with a little more than half of responding companies (54 percent) giving their staff devices, down from 69 percent in 2013.

Respondents are seeing the positive effects of mobile technology, however, with the biggest impact in customer service, according to 70 percent of the 1,090 U.S. small businesses polled. They also reported devices to be helpful for performing business in bad weather (32 percent), bringing more work to the company (21 percent) and enabling them to conduct meetings remotely (20 percent).

Despite these benefits, most businesses (more than three quarters) report they are not budgeting for mobile devices and instead purchasing them as the need arises. Five percent said that their business sets an annual budget for mobile items and sticks to it and 12 percent set an annual budget and adjust expenditures as needed.

“The Sage Mobile Device Survey shows that mobile technology makes doing business easier, empowers superior customer service and increases productivity,” stated 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.”

Other notable findings to the survey, conducted by Sage between April 18 and May 4, 2014, among an independent panel of small and medium-sized businesses:

  • A little 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 complete survey is available here.

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