There appears to be a gap between the awareness of the need to invest in innovation and the number of SMEs that are actually doing it.
By now only a handful of people will have escaped hearing about digital transformation and the need to invest in IT to remain competitive. But according to CitySprint that knowledge has not translated into spending.
The courier firm has been looking into technology and innovation in the SME community and found that although 79% viewed investing in innovation as important one in ten haven't bought any new tech in the last year.
A quarter of small firms have opted to spend less than 10% of their budget on something new, which should highlight an opportunity for the channel to introduce them to the benefits of the latest products.
A hint to why investment has been slow comes from the finding that a third of SMEs would be more likely to adopt fresh IT options if there was more government support or busaries available. The channel might need to go into a pitch with some finance plans on hand to make it easier for users to find a purchase more palatable.
There was also a clear indication that resources, both time and money, were also a factor and the channel could play a supportive role helping SMEs roll out projects.
“Business owners know that innovation drives growth, but testing and adopting the latest tech is expensive and time consuming, and without more support small businesses struggle to keep up with technologies that can help them stay ahead," said Patrick Gallagher, CitySprint Group CEO.
“Whilst further support is crucial, it’s understandable that some SMEs don’t want to go it alone, particularly during a period of economic uncertainty," he added that small business owners should also look for the government's Business Basics Programme as a way to get funding for proven technologies.
"What this research ultimately shows is that if SMEs aren’t able to keep up with the latest tech then the UK’s well-earned reputation as a hotbed for innovation could be impacted," he warned.
Top three reasons
The CitySprint survey asked SMEs why they used technology:
Improving IT infrastructure
Reducing business costs through automation
Using tech to protect information through cyber security