By Max Clarke

Over half of UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are failing to exploit new ways to increase productivity and facilitate mobile working, research from business software and services provider Sage UK today revealed.

Despite mobile being one of Gartner’s top ten strategic technologies for 2011, many SMEs are still missing out on the benefits and opportunities that mobile technology can bring, according to the most recent Sage UK Omnibus, which polled 1,100 SMEs from its 800,000 strong UK customer base.

These benefits include:
· Providing fast and instant access to business information, regardless of your location;
· Helping employees to make quicker and more informed business decisions;
· Giving easy access to all sales and customer data on a mobile device, allowing employees to quickly check sales, quotes and vital customer information while on the road;
· Making a business more responsive to customer queries and helping to boost relationships with customers, partners and suppliers.

While the primary barrier to mobile adoption was a lack of understanding around the specific benefits mobile could deliver, just under half of respondents thought their company was not large enough to benefit, while more than one in four SMEs lacked the right infrastructure to implement mobile working.

Mobile technology may not be relevant for every business, but for most organisations - regardless of size - it can provide real value, “ commented Steve Attwell, General Manager for Sage’s Mid Market and Channel Division.

“Access to customer-critical information and productivity tools anytime, anywhere, can play a fundamental role in increasing efficiency and enabling a small business to differentiate itself. For organisations to stay ahead of the curve and capitalise on the new level of accessibility mobile technology brings, business owners must act now and seek advice from software providers who can help them understand how to best unlock the benefits of mobile.”

The research also highlighted that the vast majority of small businesses believe customers expect a quicker response to customer service issues or queries because of mobile technologies.

“The emergence of mobile working is changing the face of business as we know it and in today’s fast-paced, 24/7 world, it’s no surprise that people are demanding greater responsiveness from the companies they work with,” said Sage’s Attwell.

“But by working smarter and utilising mobile applications to keep employees connected to important business information regardless of their location, organisations can stay closer to their customers, respond more efficiently to customer needs and ultimately enhance the customer experience”.

Mobile technology has gone far beyond email functionality. Today, software solutions such as Sage 200 Mobile - which integrates Business Intelligence, CRM and financial software and makes it accessible on iPhone, iPad and Blackberry devices - give employees the freedom to choose how, when and where they access business-critical information.