Small firms lagging behind in IT race

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Small firms lagging behind in IT race

IT can help drive business growth, but SMEs are missing out.

New research from Cisco suggests that UK businesses that embrace new technologies grow faster and hold on to their employees for longer. 

The study showed that smaller businesses still lag behind their larger counterparts in technology adoption and outlook.

In particular, wireless network adoption (41 percent compared to 64 per cent) and remote or home working technology capabilities (46 percent compared to 67 percent) were lower in SMEs than in larger businesses.

"With British businesses contending with increasingly tight markets, stronger competition from overseas and key labour shortages at home, companies are turning to strategic technology investments to help them improve operational efficiency, cut costs and drive business growth," said Nick Watson, vice president for enterprise business at Cisco UK & Ireland.

"However it is clear from the research that, without support from business managers, technology investments alone cannot necessarily drive positive business outcomes.

"The IT network can provide the platform for new and productive working experiences, but the bottom-line growth is only really guaranteed when executives show leadership and support for IT in their organisation."

Business managers' top concern was finding and retaining the most talented staff, according to the study.

Despite this, 47 percent of business managers said that their company did not allow remote or tele-working, and 38 percent said that they allow staff to work remotely or from home only under 'certain circumstances'.

The apparent unease with remote and home working among business managers was reflected in IT investment plans.

Home working ranked as the lowest influencing factor on IT managers' technology investment priorities over the next 12 to 18 months.

The survey polled more than 600 business and IT directors across the UK in companies ranging from 20 to 1,000 employees, split into firms with 20-249 employees and larger companies with over 250 employees.
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