Small Businesses say technology is key advantage over bigger firms

More than 82% of SMEs say that flexibility to quickly optimise processes gives them a notable advantage compared with larger firms, when it comes to implementing technology-led initiatives.

Research from Coleman Parkes has also found that over 70% of small businesses prioritise technology leadership and have a clear tech vision in place.

CEO of the UK arm of technology compan Ricoh, Phil Keoghan, said:

“Small businesses are major employers in the UK and account for 47 per cent of private sector employment. They are also responsible for more than 33 per cent of turnover, so gaining a more precise understanding of what this sector’s technology needs are, and how its leaders plan to move their companies forward, is key.”

Most survey respondents (nearly 70%) said that they expect to see an increae in profits owing to digital transformation.

More than 25% of small firms believe that they can achieve digital maturity in one to two years, a much more rapid pace of development than their large company counterparts who see technological rollouts as taking five years or more.

Over 60% of SMEs see this digital maturity as optimal to the general improvement of business processes and growth.

Small businesses that participated in the survey said that digital maturity will add considerable value to their operations. Expectations included:

  • easier access to information (79%)
  • less times required to complete tasks (74%)
  • stronger competitive edge (68%)
  • enhanced company reputation (67%)
  • a more motivated and empowered workforce (59%)
  • better talents acquisition (54%)

However, despite the advantages of technological agility, small businesses expect to struggle with resource .

SMEs are less likely to be able to spare senior employees to drive forward their digital transformation projects, with only half of businesses surveyed reporting confidence that they could free up this resource.

The following are also reported as potential tech challenges for SMEs:

  • education regarding the business functions of tech benefits (46%)
  • changing the ways in which employees work (48%)
  • aligning technology and current ways of working (45%)

Keoghan added:

“Despite their agility, small companies lack the resources available to their larger counterparts to drive associated cultural changes. Making the investment in working with external partners at the outset will ensure they implement new technologies effectively and help them stay competitive and profitable in the long run.”

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Words: Peter Cribley

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