SMEs feel they need to upgrade to stay ahead of large coporations
SMEs feel they need to upgrade to stay ahead of large coporations IBM

Aussie SMEs are spending big on tech for the future

AUSTRALIAN businesses are gearing up for the future through a big spend on technology, according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor survey.

The survey of more than 1000 SMEs found 76 per cent had invested in technology as a means to innovate over the last 12 months.

According to businesses, the priorities were in computer hardware, software, new machinery, and training employees.

While 40 per cent of businesses surveyed said technological advancements would impact their business in a significant way in the next decade, 78 per cent said it would have at least some impact.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said the results show the SME community is not frightened by the challenge of technological disruption.

"Innovation doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive, cutting-edge technology investment. Small changes can deliver huge value to a business - whether that measure is time, money or an improved experience," Mr Reed said.

Innovation - how and why?

Further research in April showed businesses are keen to improve their technology to get ahead of big competitors, with 57 per cent of SMEs saying large corporations like Amazon are forcing them to change to keep up.

Mr Reed said: "The Business Monitor research shows us that SMEs understand the technology evolution underway, and the need to incorporate innovation as a core component of their business, not just an added extra to address when cash-flow allows.

"Pleasingly, we are seeing SMEs walk-the-walk. They're not throwing their hands in the air with these challenges, they're investing in the required innovation which can provide a competitive edge into the future."

"One simple business innovation MYOB has seen first-hand is the migration from desktop accounting and embrace of online accounting solutions. Cloud accounting is becoming more automated to include bank feeds and bill capture, which improves efficiency and saves time," Mr Reed said.

There are still significant barriers

29 per cent of SMEs believe the biggest barrier to technological change is the cost of introducing and developing innovation. Government regulation came in at second place at 26 per cent and 25 per cent said lack of government support.

53 per cent of SMEs saying they would vote for a party that continued to increase government funding for innovation, research and development by Australian businesses.

10 per cent said they would vote against such an initiative.

"These insights outline the importance of removing these barriers to business growth. The government needs to do as much as it can to encourage achievable innovation as it will lead to a vibrant small business community," Mr Reed said.

The benefits of social media

Despite a spike in the use of social media, only 22 per cent of businesses surveyed said they had a social media presence. 

Those who did reported an increase in enquiries and 54 per cent said it allowed for more interaction with customers.

50 per cent of businesses said social media made doing business easier.

"We would encourage SMEs to continue to use innovative tools for their business and a social media presence is helping make life easier for many. Creating a social media presence and using it to interact with customers is a simple, innovative step that can help your business succeed."

"The survey also tells us that size is no barrier for using social media - 27 per cent of micro businesses have a business page of some kind, ahead of small, medium and sole traders," Mr Reed said. 
 

News Corp Australia

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