In this year's SMB index, we asked 17 survey questions of some 2,452 SMBs across 20 countries, distilling the answers into a single “SMB IT Confidence Index”. By doing so we were able to group respondents into how confident they were in their approach to IT, comparing top performers with the bottom tier.
The headline findings are compelling. Not only do 81% top-tier businesses feel that strategic use of IT was effective at increasing market share, compared to 35% of bottom-tier companies. But also, more confident attitudes to computing have a positive impact on IT:
- 51% of top-tier businesses report fewer cyber-attacks overall, compared to 13% of bottom-tier businesses.
- 37% of the top-tier report shorter backup windows, against 10% of the bottom-tier.
- 58% of the top-tier rate storage management as easier, versus 12% of the bottom-tier.
The real kicker, however, is the fact that the top-tier organisations are not spending any more on their technology than the other organisations surveyed. Indeed, top-tier SMBs spend on average 7% less on IT than the bottom tier.
Confidence doesn't have to be expensive, as one small business owner explained to us: “If you are confident ... you know what to buy, you always want to be able to grow and add to it so you don’t have to retool every time. People who don’t know tend to have to reboot and start from ground zero.”
The key, as this example illustrates, is that such attitudes start from the top. The survey found that SMBs with a more proactive management team stand a better chance of keeping on top of technology. The result, we found, was a front-foot approach which considers technology more in terms of business value than pure expense, and which takes a hands-on attitude to risks, tackling security risks head-on rather than leaving them to chance.
It turns out that confidence does not have to cost excessively in financial terms. However it does place a demand on the leadership of the business. SMBs that do not want to be proactive about IT are not only incurring unnecessary expense, they are also reducing their effectiveness. In the current climate, few businesses can afford such a luxury.
To read the report and understand the keys to SMB success, click here: http://bit.ly/16niIHj