Quarter of UK's small firms reject technology

One quarter of UK small businesses has effectively rejected technology, says a NOP report, claiming technology has no direct affect on their business.

Small businesses will "leave themselves dangerously vulnerable" if they do not accept new technology. NOP Research Group was commissioned by Cisco Systems to show the effects of large corporations insisting that clients and suppliers match their own IT infrastructures.

A survey of six countries -- UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic -- found 20 per cent of European small businesses, 25 per cent of UK small businesses and a third of German small businesses have effectively rejected technology. Goran Strandberg, European director for small and medium businesses at Cisco warned, "If they do not wake up, they are going to lose business."

The report uncovered five ‘typologies': rejecters, technophiles, islands, sharers and worriers. Island types, who see technology's benefits but have yet to build the required electronic ‘bridges' with their clients and suppliers, Worriers, who are concerned that technology will leave them behind and that staff will not be able to grasp developing technology, and Rejecters stand to lose the most.

Those who dare, and subsequently win, are Technophiles, whose business is fully dependent on technology, and Sharers, people who have adapted quickly to technological developments and identify strongly with the need to share information.

Cisco claims cost and a lack of technological knowledge were the two main barriers. Many people found technology to be "daunting, evolution as opposed to revolution."

Cliff Condon, research director for industry analyst Forrester Research, Amsterdam, agreed that one of the main deterrents was cost. He quoted on line charges as a case in point, saying that they were, "a deterrent... a flat rate fee would obviously be preferred."

Strandberg was hopeful for the future: "Growth of companies adopting technology is very rapid and in the future we will see a drop in the percentage of Rejecters."