Almost half of small businesses in the UK will use IT to become more efficient, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit study.
The global study, based on a survey of 1,072 small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) for SAP found that the top priority for companies was to grow the business (54%). The study found that three-quarters of businesses were looking to exploit social media and the mobile web to launch differentiating products and services in emerging markets.
Christopher Watts, contributing editor, EIU, said: “Over the last three years, 60% of respondents perceived the business environment would get tougher. For next three years, the situation in Europe, China and the US, will put pressure on commodity prices.”
Collecting information and market data is one of the steps SMEs are taking to understand market opportunities, according to the EIU study. In fact, 53% say that it has become easier in the past three years to find the data that the company needs. To pave the way for its planned expansion overseas, UK fine wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has recently doubled expenditure on market research.
Phil Wood, head of presales, SAP, said: “From a UK-perspective, SMEs have decided the race to the bottom is not worth winning.”
He said IT can be an inhibitor in SMEs, because the system they used is often built up over a number of years. This makes SME IT too complex to adapt, preventing the business from being agile.