Small companies to spend more on digital mapping

Digital mapping might seem like something only large corporations spend their huge budgets on, but during a research presentation, World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck revealed that a number of Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) are making use of the technology.

Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx (image: Charlie Fripp)

Digital Mapping is a service where companies are able to plan routes for fleet drivers and delivery vehicles, track vehicles in real-time on a map and generally use mapping to increase security and productivity.

For the digital mapping survey conducted by World Wide Worx, they interviewed a large number of companies (over 400 SMEs and just as many large corporations), extracted how much these spend on digital mapping, what their future plans are for the technology, and for what reason they use digital mapping.

In terms of location-based marketing is was revealed that 35% of SMEs use location-based marketing, while 54% said that they be making use of it in 2013. This is less than what corporates do, as 41% of corporates use the technology. But this isn’t a surprising result, according to Goldstuck.

“SMEs usually lag behind corporates by about two to three years. A great example of this is ADSL. Between 2003 and 2009 we saw the fall of dial-up and huge uptake in ADSL in the SME space after corporates already adopted it. The same is happening now with location-based marketing, where SMEs are taking it up in the same proportions as corporates,” Goldstuck.

As for why small companies make use of digital mapping, 59% said that they use it for security such as vehicle recovery and tracking, while 39% use it for efficiency. This is slightly more than the 63% of corporates that use it for enhancing security, 59% use it for enhancing efficiency, and 58% use it for the benefits of enhanced productivity.

But a large number of small enterprises are still spending only a tiny amount of their IT budget on digital mapping, with most still largely relying on free mapping services. The survey revealed that less than 50% spend less than 1% of IT budget on mapping services, while 19% spend about 3-5% of IT budget.

“This is vastly opposite to corporations in terms of budget where a 3rd of corporates spends more than 10% of their IT budget on mapping services. 75% of corporates spend more than R50 000 on digital mapping, while three-quarters will increase their budget for digital mapping. This just shows how well digital mapping is working for corporates, and has been integrated well,” Goldstuck said.

Goldstuck added that small enterprises are still cutting corners on digital mapping and try to avoid on spending too much on digital mapping services. He noted that, according to the survey, 52% of SMEs are spending less than R50 000 on mapping, but 66% said that they will be increasing their spending in 2013.

“But the survey revealed one thing that is for sure, and that is that maps are not only about getting directions anymore. In business, directions are only the beginning, as it forms a core of the business operation,” Goldstuck concluded.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor