Mobile applications and optimised websites not a priority for SMBs: Sage

Research by software vendor finds that large businesses are mainly interested in mobile developments

Mobile applications and mobile optimised websites are more readily adopted by large businesses in Australia than SMBs, according to recent research carried out by Sage.

The Sage Australia Business Index 2013 discovered that 47 per cent of businesses see mobile apps as relevant to their operation, and 60 per cent consider mobile optimised websites as relevant.

Additionally, 16 per cent of respondents admitted to offering all or some services via mobile apps, and 11 per cent have a mobile or tablet optimised website.

Sage Business Solutions managing director, Mike Lorge, admits the low priority of the result is surprising compared to the popularity of the broader topic of mobility.

“There is hype in the market around mobile apps and mobile enabled web sites that is perhaps lower compared to where my expectations would be,” he said.

According to Lorge, many of the other trends that Sage uncovered in the research was representative of what the industry is currently experiencing in the marketplace.

One of those trends was lower business confidence of Australian businesses compared to 2012, which in turn has resulted in weakening performance.

“It’s a reality, and as survey uncovered, it is a reality that there are a number of factors influencing the local market,” Lorge said.

One factor that Lorge highlights as the culprit is the perceived slowdown in the mining industry.

“Many businesses depend on trading with that industry,” he said.

“Until recently, the strong Australian dollar has had an impact on business confidence, and there is a strong awareness that has a significant effect on anything that relates to exports, spanning both products and skills.”

The global macroeconomic conditions in Europe, North America and to some extent in Asia, have until recently also had an impact.

However, Lorge said the survey found that this was more inherent with SMBs than with enterprises.

“Companies that do not have significant moment feel more exposed to any deterioration because they have fewer means to withstand any significant change in the marketplace,” he said.

Mobile manageability

On the positive side, the survey found that mobility is helping Australian businesses ramp up their productivity.

53 per cent of all Australian companies view mobile enablement in the workplace as relevant to their business, with two thirds of these organisations having implemented, or are currently implementing, mobile enabled workplace systems.

Lorge said one of the challenges for an SMB is the balancing act between doing administrative work in the office with being in front of the customer.

“What mobility allows organisations to do is be out in front of the customer while also not neglecting the important back office responsibilities that are necessary in running an efficient business,” he said.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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