We surveyed 100 IT buyers from the top deskless worker industries to understand their IT strategy for their deskless workforce. We found that the tide is shifting and an increased attention is being paid to these workers and the ways in which new technology can help them perform better in their jobs.
Despite all the talk about automation, from autonomous vehicles to robots on the manufacturing line, empowering the human workforce with technology is a current initiative. 82% of respondents are planning to increase spending. In fact, Transportation and Manufacturing are the two leading industries. Across all industries we saw an average planned increase in spend of 31%.
Buyers in Transportation and Manufacturing are the two industries planning to increase spending on deskless technology the most. All of the companies we surveyed in Transportation and 91% of Manufacturing plan to increase spending next year.
While you can't add more hours to the day, technology can help you be more productive with those hours - or at least that's the hope of IT buyers. New technology is pushing the frontier beyond the office and helping workers right where and when the work is happening. And making sure those employees are happy is very important. Many deskless worker industries have some of the highest turnover rates. For example supermarkets and quick service restaurant workers have 100% turnover each year. Technology plays an important role in both retention as well as getting new hires up the productivity curve.
New technology and platforms are transforming the way deskless workers are able to perform their jobs. Adoption of these new technologies: mobile, wearables, and drones, is growing. Mobile adoption is still leading with 94% of companies currently using mobile solutions, but newer technology is gaining popularity - 29% of companies are using wearables, and another 40% plan to use it. Depending on the industry and technology, we saw the potential of mass adoption. For example 100% of construction companies are or are planning on adopting drones.
Though deskless technology is deployed remotely, the majority of decisions are still made top-down from headquarters. 51% of buying decisions are made by the C-suite, 38% by mid-level managers and only 11% by the end user. This causes an interesting dynamic where the technology purchased is rarely used by the decision maker. So while go to market strategy must focus on the top, in order to be successfully deployed and adopted, product design must focus on the end users' needs, surroundings, capabilities, and preferences.
Despite the interest in increasing spend on deskless technologies, only 1% of software venture funding is going towards technology serving 80% of the world's workforce. Thus, there is a big opportunity for new company creation.
Deskless technology has captured multiple waves of venture funding as the category has evolved to take advantage of new platforms. It is still early, but we may be seeing an inflection point in the future.
While the deskless software category has yet to hit its inflection point, there are a number of investors that have already started investing. Notably, corporate VCs are two of the most active investors in this space, perhaps signaling that we're likely to see more corporate venture activity from companies with large deskless workforces who see this as a strategic investment in their core businesses.