PC use increases but SME's still lag

PC use increases but SME's still lag

Small businesses still loiter behind large corporates when it comes to adopting technology despite their phenomenal technological growth, according to a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report.

Overall the use of PC's in Australian businesses has increased from 49 per cent in June 1994 to 64 per cent in June 1998, the majority of this growth fuelled by small and medium enterprises (SME's) according to Tim Power, manager of information technology statistics unit of the ABS.

"In 1994 large corporates had an adoption rate of 99.2 per cent, there's not much room to grow there so SME's are the ones that have increased the growth rate," claims Power.

However the humble PC has not managed to significantly infiltrate companies with between one and four employees according to theBusiness Use of Information Technology survey. Only 55 per cent of this segment use PC's, as opposed to companies with 100 or more people where there is a 99.8 per cent take up rate.

"At the moment SME's have certain barriers that inhibit them from taking up the use of PC's. Most obvious is cost but they also lack skills and training," explains Power.

However Power predicts that costs will decrease in the near future because of the diffusion of technology and more businesses will begin to understand the benefits of technology. "A PC can reduce some of your costs, especially record keeping and other tasks that are integral to a small business," claims Power.

Surprisingly the survey stipulated only 30 per cent of businesses had access to the Internet but once again big businesses accounted for a large majority of this with 90 per cent of corporates reporting access yet only 26 per cent of small and medium enterprises had Internet facilities.

Network capabilities also appear to be the domain of big business with 78 per cent of businesses with 100 or more employees having a local or wide area network (LAN/WAN), yet only 20 per cent of all businesses overall utilise LAN's and WAN's.

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