Canadian companies realize the benefits of mobile technology but the number of firms that are sponsoring workplace bring your own device (BYOD) expenses for employees is shrinking, according to a recent survey by software company Sage.
In its Sage Canadian SMB Survey on Mobile Devices, the company polled 1,628 small and midsized businesses in Canada, and found that 73 per cent of firms reported a positive effect of mobile devices on customer service.
Some 32 per cent of the respondents indicated that mobile devices were helpful in performing business in the event of inclement weather. Twenty eight per cent said mobile devices have been helpful in bringing more business to the company and 29 per cent said the devices enabled them to do business remotely.
However, one of the most surprising findings of the survey was that 78 per cent of Canadian businesses are not budgeting for the cost of mobile devices, and were instead purchasing mobile technology as the need arises. Less than 10 per cent of businesses surveyed set an annual budget for mobile devices and adjust expenditures as needed, according to Sage.
In fact, the percentage of companies that supplied employees with mobile devices shrunk form 71 per cent in 2013 to 63 per cent in 2014.
The number of firms that allowed employees to purchase their own devices and then reimbursed their workers for the cost also plummeted, from 18 per cent last year to just 13 per cent this year. As many as 36 per cent of employees bought their own mobile devices for office this year, compared to 28 per cent in 2014.
Other notable findings include:
• Thirty-seven per cent of respondents have a “bring your own device” policy (BYOD) policy in place, while 39 per cent have not considered this option. Another 13 per cent have considered but decided against a BYOD strategy for their businesses, and six per cent are still considering a BYOD policy
• Slightly more than half of survey respondents (53 per cent) 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 that use mobile applications are using a work-related application on their mobile device that connects to the cloud
The number of Canadian businesses sponsoring their workers’ mobile devices pale in comparison with those in the United States. Sixty-three per cent of Canadian businesses supply mobile devices to their employees, compared to 54 per cent of U.S. companies.
“The Sage Canadian SMB Survey on Mobile Devices found that that while Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are seeing benefits of mobile technologies, they aren’t yet setting clear budgets for what can be a growing expense,” said Nancy Harris, Sage North America senior vice-president and general manager, Canada. “With some of the most costly mobile plans in the world, Canadian businesses should set budgets for mobile technology and establish clear guidelines for mobile expenses and employee usage so they can leverage the benefits of mobile technology while keeping costs in check.”