Survey: S'pore SMBs yet to fully exploit IT

Over 60 percent of small and midsize companies are unsure how to beef up their IT capabilities; one out of three say IT has had no impact on their business.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--A significant number of small and midsize businesses in the country believe that technology has not helped their organization, a recent survey has revealed.

The annual SME (small and midsize enterprise) Development Survey 2006 found that 32 percent of the 1,068 respondents polled, said that technology has had no impact on their businesses.

Conducted by credit information services company DP Information Group between May and July this year, the survey targeted some 10,000 SMBs across various industries in the island-state.

According to Chan Yew Nah, managing director of DP Information Group, 85 percent of very small businesses--particularly those with fewer than 25 employees--feel that they have not benefited from the use of technology.

Some 53 percent of respondents that indicated they have profited from the use of technology cited improvements in productivity as a benefit. This group of respondents also noted an increase in cost efficiency and their company's ability to meet customer expectations, as two other main benefits of IT.

Another significant finding, noted Chan, is that six in 10 of SMBs surveyed said they were unsure of how to strengthen their technological capabilities. When asked to name critical factors in strengthening their IT capabilities, 62 percent said they did not know.

According to Chan, the statistic showed that while the younger workforce may be IT-savvy, some SMBs may "need more help" to understand how IT can play a bigger role in their business. One way to resolve this could be to set up IT academies to showcase IT successes of SMBs, so others can learn from their peers and be encouraged to adopt technology, he suggested.

And for SMBs that do spend on IT, 27 percent of the survey respondents have plans to invest in new technology over the next two years, with about half of this number expecting to spend more than S$100,000 (US$62,690). The finance, retail and services sectors were some of the markets that indicated an interest in investing in IT solutions and infrastructure in the next two years.

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