SMEs slow to network: IDC

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Small to medium enterprises' uptake of local area networks (LANs) has risen only slightly compared to this time last year, according to a report.

The IDC Australia report, titled 'Trends in Australian SMEs, Demand for Networking 2004', indicated that 75 percent of businesses surveyed had implemented a LAN this year, with 5 percent intending to install one. The remaining 20 percent had no intention of moving to a networked environment.

According to IDC Australia's press release, this was only “marginally higher” than last year's results where 74 percent of respondents were currently LAN-based and 2 percent were intending to become so.

IDC Australia's SME market analyst, Brad Hill, pointed to a general lack of understanding in small businesses about networked environments.

“It is the smaller businesses that really do not understand the benefits of deploying a LAN -- shared resources and cost savings need to be clearly explained and demonstrated to these businesses.”

Additionally, Hill said that part of the responsibility lay with the industry: “It is crucial for vendors to demonstrate how implementing a LAN will be of benefit to the business,” he said.

Security fears, said Hill, were also affecting the uptake of LAN-based services like remote access. According to the report, 62 percent of surveyed businesses were offering the service to staff -- a 4 percent increase over last year's result.

Of those businesses that were currently running a LAN, 85 percent were server-based with 30 percent running HP products, 23 percent IBM and 14 percent Dell.


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