Small and medium enterprises: successful growth through IT investment

Small and medium enterprises: successful growth through IT investment
Document type
Norton, Jim
Institute of Directors
Date of publication
1 September 2006
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business, Small business & enterprise: the practicalities of running a small business and the theory of entrepreneurship
Business and management
Material type

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A report describes the results of a survey of small and medium businesses on their IT use and policies. Technology is still seen as key to realising ambitions for business growth. 87% of respondents want to grow their businesses. For all who sought growth, 85% saw technology as a key factor. Use of wireless technologies has become ubiquitous. Use of wireless technology has grown substantially since our 2004 survey. In 2004 57% of respondents used wireless technology in their business compared to 77% in 2006. Wireless is used in a wide range of applications, again showing dramatic growth on 2004. Wireless access to e-mail is cited by 94% of respondents who use wireless technologies, compared to 6% in 2004. The switch to notebooks continues but has moved on from smaller companies to larger ones since 2004. Whilst only 41% of respondents overall indicated that they had switched purchasing to favour laptops in the last two years, this figure was 54% for the largest companies (201+ employees) and 47% for 101-200 employees. This complements the trend seen in 2004 where the greatest move was amongst the smallest companies with 1-10 employees (52%) and the smallest move was amongst the largest companies. Partial outsourcing of ICT delivery and support rose in popularity. The major change since June 2004 is the sharp increase in popularity of the hybrid option, part in-house and part contracted out. This was cited by only 1% of respondents overall in June 2004 compared to 27% in June 2006. The critical importance of ICT is better understood. SMEs are more inclined to admit concerns about ICT now than they were in 2004. Whilst the ranking of concerns has only changed slightly, the level of concern has risen sharply. Business continuity was the lead 2006 concern (71%) and was second in 2004 (54%). Data security, the lead concern in 2004 (64%), is second in 2006 (68%). Cost still remains a minimal concern at 1%, just as in 2004

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