Study shows rocketing use of business apps by SMEs

The number of SMEs using mobile apps has nearly doubled over the past 12 months, according to a new study.

A survey of more than 2,000 small-to-medium sized businesses in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK found that 68% are now using mobile or web-based apps.

A corresponding survey in 2015 found only 37% of SMEs using apps in their day-to-day business. The most recent research also found 64% of businesses are now running their operations via cloud technology.

The rapid increase shows how technology, which was once prohibitively expensive for smaller companies, has now become accessible for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Companies are increasingly catching on to the power of smartphones as a powerful and flexible business tool. There is now a vast range of cloud services and apps designed to help business do everything from managing employee expenses to tracking mobile workers.

The rising use of business apps is happening as more businesses move away from traditional paper-based ways of working and over to faster and more efficient digital methods.

Cloud-based services allow companies to manage and monitor tasks in real-time and without the need for resource-hogging manual processing of information.

Workers want business apps

A 2015 study, commissioned by Webexpenses, showed that it’s not just employers benefiting from the switch to digital data. It’s also something increasingly demanded by employees.

The research found that more than one-in-five (21%) of respondents said they would be happier at work if they were allowed to use mobile apps in the workplace.

While most people now use cloud-services and apps in their personal lives, the business world has lagged behind. Rather than embracing mobile technology, company policy has often been to deter employees from using smartphones in the workplace.

But now companies are more likely to be supplying their employees with smartphones as businesses use technology to unlock smarter ways of working.

A cloud-based service, such as Webexpenses, allows employees to manage their expenses via a smartphone app. It’s used to instantly convert paper receipts into a digital one and uses GPS to track business journeys.