Small Businesses Hear Contradictory Message On Tech

20. May 2018.








Small businesses are in a tight spot when it comes to technology. Most understand the value and opportunity of innovative tools, yet feel they lack the resources to invest in them. It’s holding entrepreneurs back, too, with a lack of technology adoption being linked to lack of growth, cybersecurity risk and a broader impact on their national economies. This week’s B2B Data Digest dives into the latest data on how small businesses approach technology, revealing troubling evidence about the ways the pressure to innovate can actually leave a small business more vulnerable.

Forty-three percent of small businesses define themselves as “agile adopters” of strategy, according to a report from Pegasystems and Frost & Sullivan, “Why Business Agility Matters.” The survey of 437 senior executives at businesses across the globe found a stark contrast between businesses that have adopted an agile approach to their strategies, and those that have not: Those without an agile approach average 25 percent lower satisfaction with performance across top business metrics like innovation and productivity.

Eighty-four percent of firms that embrace agility report significant increases in revenue growth, Pegasystems found, while a majority of agile adopters also reported increases in profitability, customer acquisition and customer retention. Analysts noted, however, that less than half of companies are using an agile approach to strategy and missing out on these benefits as a result. The report noted that those that choose not to adopt an agile approach instead focus on cost and risk aversion. According to Pegasystems chief technology officer Don Schuerman, the data suggests companies have to “become more comfortable with risk.” Companies that remain too focused on cutting costs, he added, “are in more danger of becoming obsolete by allowing their competitors to gain a significant advantage.”

Forty percent of U.K. SMBs plan to invest in technology in the next three years, meaning most are holding themselves back from technology adoption, according to the latest data from the 2018 International Business Festival. The most common reason for not adopting new technology, the survey found, was that business owners felt the investment was beyond their spending capacity.

Eighty-three percent of SMBs surveyed agree that their companies have to change to meet future market demands, the International Business Festival’s report found. The statistic demonstrates a disconnect between the understanding of the importance of technological innovation, and the reluctance to actually invest in and adopt innovative tools.

Fifty-five percent of small firms said they recognize the opportunity in Big Data, according to the International Business Festival, more so than automation and artificial intelligence. At the same time, though, U.K. small businesses are limited, with 42 percent admitting they would struggle to keep pace with the rapid advance of technology.

Thirty-six percent of businesses are undecided on real-time payments adoption, according to a survey conducted by bobsguide. While the publication did not reveal the sample size, the survey did show that 24 percent of executives say their companies are already using real-time payments, and an additional 24 percent plan to adopt the capability in a year or two.

Thirteen percent of SMBs plan to integrate new technology into their business with the money they save form the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, only slightly less than the 14 percent who told TD Bank that they would use the extra cash to pay down debt. Thirteen percent also said they would use the money to buy new equipment.

Thirty-one percent of U.K. small firms have invested in a new cybersecurity technology since WannaCry, but overall, research from Tanium concluded, a lack of resources is holding small businesses back from investing in cybersecurity technology to protect themselves. While SMBs are paying greater attention to the risk of cyberattacks, the report found a troubling predicament for entrepreneurs: The pressure to innovate is actually causing them to place cybersecurity technology investment on the back burner. Forty percent of U.K. SMBs surveyed said they feel more exposed to a cyberattack than ever before.

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