‘We’d rather watch paint dry than invest in IT’ say UK Businesses

Business owner-managers in the UK consider the prospect of investing in new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) so daunting that a fifth (20%) would rather redecorate their home than buy a new IT system, new research from AT Communications Group has revealed.

In fact, many owner-managers of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) consider the prospect of buying an ICT system so intimidating, they would rather buy a house (28%) or get married (25%) – often regarded as two of life’s most demanding experiences – than invest in new technology.

The research suggests that instead of providing comprehensive yet easy-to-understand information about the goods and services which could improve a business’ fortunes, the ICT industry is bamboozling business owners and managers with complex information which dissuades them from purchasing new technology.

Ironically, nearly two-thirds (60%) of owner-managers consider the investment and nurturing of relationships with customers a higher priority than investing in new technology – itself a recognised form of improving customer service.

On a similar note, customers aired their frustration at having to deal with multiple suppliers, with almost three quarters (74%) indicating that the existence of a simplified supply chain would render them more likely to invest in IT systems.

And despite the fact that a fifth of the 500,000 people who start their own business every year are destined to cease trading within the first twelve months**, more than a quarter (26%) of those surveyed by AT Communications Group said they considered launching a new commercial venture less daunting than investing in, or updating, their system.

Campbell Williams, AT Communications Group’s marketing director, said: “With so many new products that lend themselves to drastically improving the fortunes of a business coming onto the market, IT firms must ensure that information about these systems is clear, accessible and readily available. By failing to do this, the industry is, in many ways, cutting off its nose to spite its face.

“The IT industry claims it can provide small and medium-sized businesses with solutions to many of their commercial problems, but details of how it does this are not being clearly conveyed. Owner-managers want to know exactly what technology can do for their business – there’s no point sales reps up and down the country bleating on about how new systems can improve a business’ fortunes if they are using language that fails to resonate with decision makers.”

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