SMEs see increasing value in IT

Survey: The use of technology can lead to positive results, say SMEs

IT is helping to boost productivity at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) -- which also don't mind working hand-in-hand with the business.

Nearly three-quarters of small-business executives said productivity has increased in both their company and their department over the past few years, according to a recent survey conducted by ZDNet UK sister site silicon.com and consultancy The Bathwick Group.

Over 70 percent rated this increase as 'significant' or 'very significant'.

The majority of respondents named better use of technology and the right amount of IT investment as the leading causes of the increase. IT departments appear to be in sync with the rest of the company again here as 91 percent said those two reasons increased productivity in the company while 92 percent said the same for their department.

The top two factors decreasing productivity were inefficient work processes and poor leadership.

It's not just the SME executives who believe IT helps people work more efficiently, either. Eighty percent of those surveyed said the people they work with think so too.

When it comes to the trend for making IT responsible for business goals, SME executives said it's doable - 66 percent are confident they know how to make IT accountable for business value.

And though some in the industry perceive tensions between IT and the business, over half of respondents said it's not difficult to match IT and business requirements.

Other survey highlights: two in three said cost-cutting hasn't had a negative effect on worker output at their business. And despite stories of IT cock-ups and failures, a majority -- 74 percent -- agree that over the past three years companies continue to believe IT will give them a competitive edge.

The surveyed consisted of interviews with 567 executives from companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.