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Channel could benefit from SME Brexit bounce

With the UK just hours away from officially leaving the EU it looks like many SMEs are gearing up to start spending on tech

Aside from tea towels, commemorative coins and the excuse for some flag waving the main Brexit benefit for the channel looks like being a positive bounce in SME tech spending.

Whatever side of the political argument there have been calls from businesses for more clarity and the official departure by the UK from the EU tomorrow night provides some of that.

The private equity player Leonne International hired Censuswide to try to gauge the attitude of SMEs and revealed that just shy of a third are planning to invest in the next three months. There was also a feeling among many that the spending w0ould be widespread and the UK economy would grow in the months following Brexit becoming official.

A third of those SMEs quizzed revealed plans to increase tech spending this year with many also indicating they had plans to open new offices and expand their own operations.

There were calls for more tax breaks from the government to foster further SME growth but overall the messages coming back from the channel's core customer base were upbeat.

The expectation is that some of the money being spent will go towards cloud and SaaS products as small business look to take advantage of the numerous options in the hosted application space.

Sridhar Iyengar, managing director of Zoho Europe, said that there were opportunities for businesses to use technology to unlock more efficiencies.

“SMEs serve as the engine of the UK economy, creating jobs and driving growth, yet all too often these pioneering companies lack the necessary IT support systems to thrive. Every ambitious business owner knows that with increased headcount and revenue comes more administrative responsibility. This aspect can often wrong-foot companies, leaving them distracted trying to juggle sales, marketing and a host of other roles with limited resources," he said.

“In 2020, the culture of SMEs getting stuck managing IT processes instead of focusing on new business and customer acquisition must come to an end. Increasing investment in technology this year will only work if businesses recognise the benefits of SaaS solutions, to cater for everything from finance, CRM to analytics," he added.

Michael Haston, CEO, Leonne International, said that that clarity would aid spending and the prospects for the year ahead were looking brighter: “As we reach the final chapter of the Brexit saga, business decision-makers will be relieved to finally have some clarity about the future of our economy, industry and trade. Therefore, we can expect 2020 to be a great year for many SMEs.”

The UK will officially leave the EU at 11pm tomorrow night bringing to an end several years of uncertainty around the timetable. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson talked up the prospects for the country when he signed the Withdrawal Agreement at the end of last week.

"We can now move forward as one country – with a Government focused upon delivering better public services, greater opportunity and unleashing the potential of every corner of our brilliant United Kingdom, while building a strong new relationship with the EU as friends and sovereign equals," he said.

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