By Steve Rizer
In which ways have smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices benefitted construction companies the most? This is one of the questions that Sage North America sought to answer via its recent survey to gauge what the most popular mobile devices are within the industry, the tasks that those devices are used for most often, and whether construction companies typically budget for such equipment, among other things.
Accountants/bookkeepers, office managers, and organizational leadership in 331 small and mid-sized construction companies participated in Sage’s multi-industry Survey on Mobile Devices. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of the construction firms represented in the survey focus on the commercial sector, followed by the residential sector (50 percent). The rest focus on structures such as government facilities and public infrastructure (21 percent). Sage conducted the survey over a span of roughly two weeks earlier this year, soliciting information from company representatives in the United States and Canada.
Construction executives generally are very positive about the use of mobile technology in their businesses, Sage reported, noting that smartphones and laptops are the most common mobile devices used by employees away from the office, followed by tablets and desktops.
“When asked about where mobile technology has had a positive effect, three-quarters of construction executives (75 percent) mentioned that it was especially effective for customer service,” Sage stated. “Slightly more than one-third (34 percent) of responding executives reported that mobile technology has helped bring more work to their companies. It also helped employees conduct business during inclement weather and conduct remote meetings. When asked to expand on the positive effect of mobile technology, respondents mentioned the benefits of keeping in contact with all employees, wherever they are working at any time of the day, that it can reduce the time spent walking around the construction site, send onsite pictures to the office, and troubleshoot from the field, enabling executives to get the information to make better-informed decisions.”
Roughly three-quarters of surveyed construction companies (76 percent) supply smartphone mobile devices to their employees. Slightly more than one-quarter (28 percent) of such companies reported that their employees supply mobile devices. A little less than half of the survey participants indicated they have a policy allowing employees to bring their own devices.
The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes additional survey results and the transcript of ConstructionPro Week's interview with a Sage official about the survey.