Is a lack of IT innovation stifling small business growth in 2012?

How often does a day pass where you haven’t interacted with a screen, a mobile phone or a personal computing device? Technology now permeates almost everything that we do, especially in the fast moving world of business. With this in mind, as part of the Epson Business Council project, we looked at the latest trends and developments in the IT space and how small businesses are using these to their benefit.

51% of British small businesses say that IT is an integral part of their drive for business growth, increased innovation and productivity. While it’s good to see so many prioritise technology, that figure could (and should) certainly be higher. To be a competitive, successful small business in today’s economy you need technology on your side – a point our European peers have come to accept: in France and Germany 76% of small businesses consider IT integral to growth, 73% in Spain and 68% in Italy. We’re also slightly down on latest mobile technology; over one in four (27%) of British small businesses may use smartphones, and 38% use tablets, but again, at the French and German counterparts, this number is even higher, with over half using tablets. Perhaps the natural British scepticism is dampening our attitude towards the impact IT innovation could have on growth. Perhaps it’s the perceived cost issue. Either way, small businesses should look to the experts for guidance: Confused.com founder Sara Murray, for example, believes that staying ahead of the technology curve is crucial to small business’ survival. Murray explained to Management Today: “You may be a small business, but your technology doesn’t have to reflect that. In the past many of the benefits of new technology have only been available to large organisations with vast resources. Now many new technologies are available to micro businesses in far more manageable forms – whether that’s cutting your costs with cloud computing or presenting a professional edge with modern projection and presentation technology.” That said, there are signs of optimism. Many British small business do still have a healthy view of the role technology

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can play in supporting their operations – 57% say modern IT is vital for staff productivity, one in four (27%) thinks it helps attract and retain staff, and only 2% think it is an unnecessary expense. What we’d encourage, especially in light of recent indications from the ICAEW and CBI highlighting business concerns towards the UK’s uncertain economy, is that companies of all sizes at least investigate the resources available that can help streamline processes and drive cost saving. How about you; how good is your business in adopting the latest technology on the market? What’s

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the innovation that your company is most proud of?

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