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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are showing signs of confidence as life starts to get back to a more normal footing, and are planning to invest in more automation and security tools.
A Xerox survey of SMEs across the UK, US and Canada has found that as the world starts to mull over exiting the pandemic, 85% of customers are now more reliant on the channel for support, using more comms technology and after investing in security hardware and software.
The Xerox State and fate of small and medium business survey adds to a growing number of surveys and anecdotal examples pointing to a rising confidence across the SME sector.
The vendor found that 64% expected to emerge from the pandemic stronger, and 81% accepted that the pandemic had made them more reliant on technology. That had translated into budgets, with 75% increasing them to get more IT.
“Small and medium businesses are the foundation of the economy and are critical for sustained economic growth,” said Joanne Collins Smee, commercial, SMB and channels officer at Xerox.
SMEs revealed that they were looking to spend on digitisation, workflow technology and security, and there was a widespread indication that many were prepared to invest time and money in improving their remote IT support.
“They need technologies designed specifically for them with local service and support from experts who understand their unique business needs,” said Collins Smee.
Reasons for optimism
The recent Q4 2020 SME finance monitor also found optimism, despite what for many SMEs had been a challenging year.
“All SMEs have been affected, especially in Q2, but as the year progressed there were some signs of optimism as more SMEs innovated and planned to grow,” said Shiona Davies, director at BVA BDRC.
Concerns continued, with some worried about getting access to finance, but there did appear to be a sense that the second half of last year had been stronger and optimism was rising
Xerox’s findings come in the wake of recent research from Agilitas, which found that the channel was also feeling more optimistic about the future. Given the importance of the SME sector to resellers and MSPs, that insight gave an idea of the mood on the other side of the market.
“This past year has been one of challenges, opportunities and lessons learned for the IT channel community, and seeing such strong levels of confidence is hugely promising for the times ahead,” said Richard Eglon, marketing director of Agilitas.
“It is also a celebration of the positive outlook from channel businesses to turn a moment of crisis into one of reinvention and betterment for the future of people and business.”