How does your business technology spending measure up? What are your business priorities for the near future, and how is business technology helping you achieve them? A new survey by CompTIA has some insights. Top priorities for SMBs in the year ahead include implementing new systems and processes, identifying new customer segments and markets, renewing existing customer accounts, innovation, and launching new products and services.
Underlying all of these priorities is a focus on improving efficiency, whether by implementing brand-new systems or by fine-tuning the systems you already have. To help accomplish their goals, small businesses are turning to technology. In fact, nearly two-thirds (64%) say technology is a primary factor in pursuing their business objectives, and more than half (56%) of firms with fewer than 20 employees say the same.
How are small businesses using business technology?
Overall, 59% of small businesses are mostly satisfied with their use of technology. However, there is still room for improvement. The areas in which small businesses say they most need to improve their technology are:
- Integrating different applications/data sources/platforms/devices: 38%
- Cyber security/data security: 35%
- Effectively managing and using data: 35%
- Modernizing aging equipment or software: 31%
- Getting more ROI or bang for the buck from technology investments: 31%
- Hiring workers with the skills needed to work with newer technologies: 30%
- Next-generation customer engagement/management 28%
- Managing increasingly complex technologies: 25%
- Understanding or deciding among the extensive choices available: 24%
- E-commerce or mobile commerce: 23%
Technology spending: Too much or too little?
The average SMB in the survey spends between $10,000 and $49,000 per year on technology. More than half (52%) of small business owners feel they are spending too little on business technology, 22% feel they are spending too much, and 44% feel they are spending the right amount.
What have small businesses spent their technology budgets on in the past two years? Some 36% of respondents say they have been focusing on infrastructure: laptops, desktops, servers, phones, storage, and the like. (New or upgraded hardware is a top item on respondents’ technology wish lists.) In addition, 31% said they have been spending on industry-specific software, while 30% say their technology spending has focused on both areas.
Asked what type of technology is their biggest priority going forward, customer experience technology is by far the most important concern, cited by nearly one-fourth (23%) of companies as their biggest tech spending priority. Thirty-five percent of companies also say hiring skilled workers to help them drive technology initiatives into the future is a priority. (Learn more about digital transformation for small businesses.)
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How SMBs choose business technology
The majority of SMBs choose technology from several different sources, including directly from the technology company, from a primarily online retailer such as Amazon, or from a brick-and-mortar based retailer such as Best Buy. The survey surmises that small business owners conduct due diligence, including researching a source’s product offerings, prices, and reputation for customer service, before making their decisions.
Originally published at All Business Technology