Small businesses could boost their efficiency by over 50%, by investing in IT, independent research claims.
Studies by E-skills UK, the public private sector partnership for IT skills and training, show that many small businesses do not understand how IT can simplify their operations and help them reach new customers.
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E-skills estimates the economy could be boosted by an additional £50 bn over the next 5 to 7 years, if more small businesses take-up advanced IT. It found that small firms, particularly those employing 10 or less are less likely to use IT effectively in their operations.
"Many don't know what questions to ask. When they do ask the questions, they get terribly technical answers, so there is a vicious circle going on," said Martin Harvey, director of UK partnerships at E-skills UK.
Research by E-skills UK and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, shows IT has helped 89% of small businesses boost efficiency, enabled 85% reach new customers, and helped 72% retain existing customers.
However, many small businesses are too busy focusing on their day-to-day operations to think how IT can help them. They are not convinced of the benefits, said Harvey.