New survey reveals how South Africans use mobile devices in the workplace

More than 95 % of employees in South African companies rely on the use of mobile devices within the office. That’s according to the results of recent survey, conducted by Dell in partnership with Microsoft.

What is interesting about this number though is that it does not stipulate how many businesses have opted for mobile devices over desktop computers. Even with this, the fact that mobile devices are being used this much says a lot about the distracting effect they have had in businesses.

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To obtain the data, Dell surveyed IT professionals from companies with more than 250 employees. The respondents came from a range of different sectors including education, technology, finance and engineering.

Dell says that it hopes the survey provides insights into “the strong culture of remote working in South Africa and as well as highlighted the requirements of users in the country”

The survey went further in its research, not only did it identify specific feature, functions and challenges with devices, it also identified how innovation and usage will within the next two years transform in South Africa.

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“The survey aimed to identify the types of devices that companies are providing to employees and which devices employees have a preference for” Dell explained.

It is also interesting that these are not people using mobile devices at home but in the office, the traditional bastion of desktop computers and landlines phones.

According to the survey, some 38% of respondents rely on their mobile devices as business productivity, connectivity and as sales tools whilst out of the office.

The survey revealed further insights into the role mobile devices play in business. It found that 85% of organisations currently offer a selection of smartphones, Notebooks, Ultrabooks, tablets and desktops to their employees.

A large number of businesses in South Africa, 61%, mostly utilise tablets for business purposes. This, the survey notes, demonstrates the extent to which mobile touchscreen device has progressed beyond only being a consumer device.

“IT departments need to provide employees with a balance between productivity, security, power and portability in order to be able to work efficiently when away from the office.” Chris Buchanan, Client Solutions Lead, Dell Southern and Central Africa said.

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The advancement of mobile devices has an advantage over desktop computers as one can check emails and reply to them whilst commuting to or from work. And as such, the survey found that most smart devices are being used for Email messaging services (91%) and Internet browsing (88%) with office suites being used the least at 38%.

The biggest challenge for users, at a staggering 44% is that processing power is the single most important feature of a smart device.

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn a lot from this kind of insight, both in determining what they spend money on in growing or starting a business. Instead of desktop computers and landline phones, it appears it is worth investing in laptops and smartphones.

Dell points out that the problem is not that businesses do not know the possibilities mobile technology offers them but rather the issue is in that many businesses “are not sure how to cross the chasm of risk and complexity to get there”.

PDF of the survey

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