Small businesses are not achieving the full efficiency benefits of broadband, according to research from Brunel University.
During a three-month study into the impact of broadband on SMEs, researchers from Brunel University conducted a series of tests on rural and urban small businesses, measuring time taken to conduct tasks and the number of activities undertaken before and after implementing broadband.
The study reveals that small businesses need training to reap the benefits of broadband technology. Without training, efficiency and effective working practices suffer.
The study group selected small businesses that were new to broadband as a business tool. Each signed up to broadband without fully understanding the associated benefits.
In the case of the rural SMEs selected, the time taken to achieve tasks actually increased with broadband, even though the number of individual tasks (faxing, calling, and so on) remained about the same or slightly lower.
Jyoti Choudrie, operations director at Brunel’s Broadband Research Centre, said, "Small and medium-sized organisations need to be made aware of how to use broadband to its full potential. It is so much more than a quick and cost-effective way of downloading large files, e-mailing or accessing the internet.
“It sounds obvious but training in how to use broadband is key to using it effectively. Companies also need to be prepared to change their working practices to accommodate broadband."