Research links IT confidence to SMB strategies

SMBs could benefit from using IT strategically

Research commissioned by Symantec has found that small and midsized businesses (SMBs) that are confident in their use of IT stand are more likely to use it to drive business strategy and outcomes.

The survey, which was conducted by ReRez between February and March 2013, questioned the IT habits of 2,452 organisations with between 10 to 250 employees from 20 countries. Symantec has categorised respondents into three 'tiers' of confidence based on the results, which has formed the "SMB IT Confidence Index".

Strategic driver

The survey found that 83% of top tier SMBs use IT as a strategic business driver, compared to just 44% of bottom tier SMBs. Of the organisations surveyed, 81% of 'top tiers' said that using computing strategically to drive the business forward was a somewhat to extremely effective way to increase market share, compared to 25% of bottom tier SMBs.

For top tier organisations, Information security was a business priority, with 78% stating that they are somewhat or extremely secure, versus 39% in the bottom tier.

Symantec says 'top tiers' are more likely to invest in a high quality IT infrastructure and deploy advanced computing platforms, such as cloud and mobile, as they see the technologies are worth the potential risk.

IT confidence also started at the top for many respondents, with 74% of top tier organisations saying their founder's previous business experience has a somewhat to extreme influence on their IT philosophies. This was compared to 61% of companies with low-ranking confidence scores.

Security threat

The research also found that top tier SMBs have made information security a business priority, with 78% stating that they are somewhat/extremely secure, versus 39% for the bottom tier. Additionally, they see fewer cyber attacks and lower monetary losses, with 51% lower annual loss from cyber attacks, in addition to reporting much smaller impacts from IT complexity.

This could mean bottom tier organisations are more susceptible to cyber attack. Symantec's 2013 Internet Security Threat Report found that the largest growth area for targeted attacks in 2012 was businesses with fewer than 250 employees, with 31% of all targeted attacks directed at them.

According to a separate study by TalkTalk, smaller businesses in the UK may have adequate levels of IT confidence to successfully drive business outcomes. The survey found that 62% of 1,027 people surveyed would take on an IT challenge, compared with one quarter who would report it to the IT team. Moreover, 40% of those surveyed said they had received no formal training.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.