SYDNEY, Australia – 19 June 2013 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today released its 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index, which found one of the biggest IT challenges for SMBs in Australia and New Zealand was trying to keep up with new trends such as cloud and mobility. Budget issues and disaster preparedness were also named as top challenges.
Brenton Smith, vice president and managing director, Pacific Region, Symantec, said despite computing often being a "double-edged sword" for SMBs today – requiring sophisticated management – there's no doubt that even the smallest companies are relying more on technologies such as mobility and cloud to do business and remain competitive.
"We're seeing an unprecedented relationship developing between IT and the business goals of organisations. This increasing emphasis on IT is naturally leading to a dramatic jump in the complexity of business computing."
To see how SMBs are coping with this increasingly technology-centric business world, Symantec surveyed nearly 2,500 SMBs across the globe – 150 of which were from Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). Their responses were utilised to develop an SMB IT Confidence Index – a measure of how confident they are in using IT to address strategic business goals. Three tiers of companies emerged, with the contrast between the top tier and bottom tier forming the basis of the key takeaways.
The survey found that globally, SMBs with higher IT Confidence scores are more successful in leveraging IT to drive their business, and ultimately experience stronger, better business outcomes.
IT Confidence Starts at the Top
One of the biggest drivers of high IT Confidence scores was the founder's perspective and how that impacts IT. Seventy-four percent of top tiers globally said their founder's previous business experience has a somewhat to extreme influence on their IT philosophies, compared to 61 percent of companies with low-ranking index scores, and ANZ was behind both, sitting at just 47 percent.
In addition, 83 percent of top-tier SMBs use IT as a strategic business enabler, compared to just 44 percent of bottom-tier SMBs, and 64 percent in ANZ.
"Symantec's survey of SMBs around the world reveals how founders' attitudes about IT can have a significant impact on their business. There appears to be a positive correlation between protecting their information assets and achieving their business goals," said Brian Burch, vice president of Global Consumer and Small Business Marketing. "If small businesses want to maximise their success, they need to embrace IT as a strategic tool with the potential to deliver a competitive advantage and really drive their business"
Higher IT Confidence Tied to Better Business Outcomes
SMBs with the highest IT Confidence Indices are doing better than their bottom-tier counterparts in a variety of ways. Eighty-one percent of top-tier SMBs said "using computing strategically to drive our business forward" was a somewhat to extremely effective way to increase market share, compared to just 35 percent of the bottom-tier SMBs. Fifty-three percent of ANZ businesses shared this sentiment.
Additionally, these SMBs have made information security a business priority, with 78 percent stating they are somewhat/extremely secure versus 39 percent for the bottom tier. While the ANZ figure was higher – at 61 percent – security, as well as disaster preparedness and data protection, were rated as the most significant computing issues in ANZ.
ANZ companies also listed their top business challenge as business uncertainty, with budgets and the increasing pace of business tied for second.
To Duplicate the Success of Highly Ranked SMBs, Think Like a Founder:
- Invest for value, not cost. When evaluating IT solutions for business, SMBs should consider long-term cost and value, and determine what technologies will help differentiate them from the competition while supporting future growth.
- Use IT strategically to address core business objectives. Top-ranking SMBs match the right IT initiative to their business goal. They are more aggressive at deploying advanced technologies such as mobile and cloud, and they focus on efficiency. For example, top-tier SMBs would consider using online collaboration tools and video conferencing to reduce landline and travel costs.
- Keep your IT house in order. Especially when it comes to protecting data – data loss can be a death sentence for an SMB. In terms of security, SMBs are now being specifically targeted by cybercriminals. Top-tier SMBs understand the importance of keeping security up-to-date, and 81 percent aggressively employ security measures. The same pattern holds true for backup and disaster preparedness.
Read blog post: Symantec SMB IT Confidence Index Shows Value of IT as a Strategic Business Enabler
Symantec's 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index
Symantec's 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index is a result of research conducted by ReRez in February-March 2013. The full study represents 2,452 organisations from 20 countries. Responses came from companies with a range of 10 to 250 employees.
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