Failing technology costs UK SMEs £5k a year

Problems with IT are causing small businesses twice as many days lost as sick days.

By News Desk
15th December 2008 at 14:38

Small business DIY PC repair problemsThe number of days lost as a result of problems with IT or failing technology is double that lost to employee sick days adding up to a big headache for UK small businesses according to a study conducted by O2.

Nearly half (49%) of the 500 firms that took part in the research said they’d lost business as a direct result of malfunctioning technology or internet outages.  In addition 43% said staff frustration at IT issues had lowered productivity.

Taking this lost time and productivity into account 22% of SMEs assessed the total annual cost to exceed £5,000.

This situation is made worse by a DIY approach to fixing IT problems as small businesses shun professional help to cut costs.  This comes at a time when the survey suggests that small firms are leading the way in adopting new technology as a means to compete more effectively.

Almost a quarter (24%) of those surveyed said they rely on mobile technology as they spend up to half of their time out of the office.

Gary O’Connel, managing director of Burn Marketing, commented on the research saying:

We never thought twice about downing tools and just trying to fix any technical hiccups ourselves …  It wasn’t until we’d expanded a bit and got a dedicated tech support service we realised how much valuable time we were losing trying to be IT technicians and not marketers. Now we’re able to concentrate on doing what we’re good at.

The old issues of delegation and false economies are as relevant in the technology space as any other for startups and small businesses.  Clearly, however, SMEs are facing tougher decisions on what they spend their money on as the economy continues to look bleak.

[Picture credit: Don Fulano licenced from Flickr]

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