A new report indicates that small and medium-sized businesses have embraced the importance of technology, even if it’s not clear how that technology is moving the needle. The study could prove insightful for associations that share common ground with small businesses.
A new study targeting small businesses offers plenty of lessons for small-staff associations that have been quick to embrace technology within their own organizations.
The CompTIA report, The Business Relevance of IT in the SMB Market, based on a survey of 600 small or medium-sized businesses around the country, states that many small organizations are willing to spend big on technology—with one-in-three respondents revealing that they invest more than $100,000 in technology each year. Even even among those that don’t have a technology budget quite that big, two-thirds of respondents say that tech is a major focus of their business objectives.
But whether that tech focus has proved to meet an organization’s business goals is another issue entirely—and the findings on that front are a bit mixed. Just 16 percent of respondents believe that they are seeing excellent return on investment from their tech efforts. While 44 percent claim they are seeing good ROIs, another 40 percent characterize the results as “just okay” or “disappointing.” (The report notes that IT department heads are more likely to give higher marks than owners or executives, and medium-sized organizations are happier with their results than smaller ones.)
The report, which notes that maintenance is a major pain point for senior staff, suggests that part of the problem on the ROI front may be perception—in other words, unrealistic expectations, according to CompTIA Senior Vice President of Research and Market Intelligence Tim Herbert.
“Because technology is often positioned as being capable of delivering on the seemingly impossible, expectations can be detached from reality,” Herbert said in a news release. “This can be especially problematic for small businesses that may not have a clear vision and strategy for how various components or technology come together to form a solution or solve a business problem.”
Despite the issues with ROI, companies are nonetheless continuing to embrace innovation and technology internally—46 percent of respondents say they are looking to implement new work processes, while 42 percent are focused on executing innovative ideas, and 40 percent are planning new product launches.
“Innovation and new product launches are two strategic priorities that moved up the rankings slightly since last year,” the report notes. “This dovetails with other findings confirming the ongoing transitions underway across many businesses as they seek to replace legacy or inadequate IT infrastructure, applications, or even their own products, with better solutions.”
Small businesses are expected to boost their IT security, data management, and modernization efforts in the new year.
The full study, which is free for registered users, is available on the CompTIA website.