Fifty-four per cent of all Australian businesses intend to enhance their use of online software and services in the next year and 60 per cent of them consider it essential for employees to access this software from mobile devices, according to the Sage SME Sentiment Index.
The research report by business software vendor, Sage, showed just over a third of businesses (36 per cent) viewed technology as a priority for investment in the coming years, if they had extra budget for business development.
It exceeded other investment priorities – including marketing (35 per cent), staff recruitment (33 per cent), employee training (28 per cent) and sales (26 per cent).
The results from the study of more than 600 business owners and decision makers across all business sizes and industries highlight the challenges, priorities and attitudes among current local businesses.
Sage managing director, Alan Osrin, said maintenance, security, backup and cost causes businesses to underutilise the Web as a communication and distribution channel, although they understand the role of IT in daily operations.
“Clearly there are significant opportunities being lost by Australian businesses through the lack of adoption of online technologies [and] addressing this shortfall could potentially have a demonstrable impact on many organisations' bottom lines,” he said.
The report also showed four trends within the space:
- High recognition of the Internet as a vital business tool though only 34 per cent have a website containing details of their products and services relevant to their business.
- 63 per cent of respondents established that integrated rather than stand-alone software helps businesses run more efficiently; however, 67 per cent of them do not utilise any integrated software.
- Differing concerns of security and backup, maintenance and recovery within business IT infrastructure, different business size and gender specific business owner segments.
- Three quarters of companies consider formal, written business planning to be crucial in the future success of their business but more than half said they lacked the time to develop such plans and only 40 per cent successfully implemented a business plan in the last 12 months.