72 percent of entrepreneurs in the UK claim inadequate technology is reducing profitability in their business, with the majority highlighting a reduction of 30 to 50 percent due to technology not fulfilling requirements. According to a study of 400 small business leaders, “security of data” is cited by 40 percent of respondents as being their biggest IT challenge, closely followed by “capital cost” at 33 percent, with only 9 percent stating that the right technology is helping them to win business.
Cloud technologies are equally problematic for the majority of small business decision makers. Only 8 percent claim they have extensively taken advantage of cloud computing. Security concerns are putting off 33 percent whilst problems with speed and performance when accessing the cloud are issues for 28 percent. 24 percent admit to being unclear about the benefits of cloud, with 21 percent being concerned about being locked into long-term contracts.
The study gains an insight into the relationship that leaders of UK SMB’s have with their technology. The findings suggest that there is a significant problem, perhaps because the technology industry is failing to deliver on promises and is not making the benefits of cloud technology available to small business leaders.
The research also points to a lack of support and flexibility, which are particularly important to fast growth businesses that need simple to manage solutions that they can trust. Cloud services are gaining traction as a fundamental part of an SME’s IT resource, particularly for companies working in online or digital markets, where compute resources need to be switched on and off to deliver client projects.
Noel Elliott, managing director, The Inventory Crew, who took part in the survey said: “Technology has not only enhanced, but underpins how we run our business. As specialists in inventory reporting and property maintenance and repair, fast and efficient information is the key to successful delivery.”
He continues: “Our business is heavily dependent on the use of tablets as a hardware device. It is imperative that our clients receive accurate, comprehensive information and smart technology enables us to provide that in a fast and efficient manner reducing our carbon footprint and saving us and our clients’ money. Technology is not the future, it is the present and I’m old enough to remember the first fax and the first mobile phones! We must always drive best in class technology to remain competitive in the marketplace.”
Sally Lynskey, CEO of Business Solent, which represents over 200 businesses in the Solent region, said: “It’s crucial for business to buy into the latest technology to help their companies to compete in the modern age. Businesses should look to technology partners who can support them with the latest digital breakthroughs to stay innovative.”
The Cloud Industry Forum predicts that adoption of the cloud by UK SMEs will increase over the next few years as proven financial benefits are achieved, with growth to focus on the areas of email, storage, data back-up/disaster recovery, collaboration solutions and web services.