Biztech Jul 1, 2014
Symantec Corp. in its 2013 Global SMB IT Confidence Index, which found that SMBs with higher IT Confidence scores are more successful in leveraging IT to drive their business, and ultimately experience stronger, better business outcomes.
“Symantec’s survey of SMBs around the world reveals how founders’ attitudes about IT can have a significant impact on their business. There appears to be a positive correlation between protecting their information assets and achieving their business goals,” said Brian Burch, vice president of Global Consumer and Small Business Marketing. “If small businesses want to maximise their success, they need to embrace IT as a strategic tool with the potential to deliver a competitive advantage and really drive their business.”
IT Confidence Starts at the Top
One of the biggest drivers of high IT Confidence scores was the founder’s perspective and how that impacts IT. Seventy-four percent of top tiers said their founder’s previous business experience has a somewhat to extreme influence on their IT philosophies, compared to 61 percent of companies with low-ranking index scores. In addition, 83 percent of top-tier SMBs use IT as a strategic business enabler, compared to just 44 percent of bottom-tier SMBs. Top tiers are also more likely to invest in a high quality IT infrastructure and deploy advanced computing platforms, such as cloud and mobility, seeing innovative technologies as being worth the potential risk.
“We work hard to make investment choices that provide the highest value over time, scaling efficiently as our business grows,” said Larry Green, president of LAGLAW. “We also try to stay a step ahead in our technology adoption. We implemented cloud computing and mobility early on and they have enabled us to be more efficient and productive.”
Higher IT Confidence Tied to Better Business Outcomes
SMBs with the highest IT Confidence Indices are doing better than their bottom-tier counterparts in a variety of ways. Eighty-one percent of top-tier SMBs said “using computing strategically to drive our business forward” was a somewhat to extremely effective way to increase market share, compared to just 35 percent of the bottom-tier SMBs. Additionally, these SMBs have made information security a business priority, with 78 percent stating they are somewhat/extremely secure versus 39 percent for the bottom tier. They also see fewer cyberattacks and lower monetary losses (51 percent lower annual loss from cyberattacks), and in areas such as storage management, backup windows and disaster preparedness, the top tiers report much smaller impacts from IT complexity.
To Duplicate the Success of Highly Ranked SMBs, Think Like a Founder
Invest for value, not cost. When evaluating IT solutions for business, SMBs should consider long-term cost and value, and determine what technologies will help differentiate them from the competition while supporting future growth.
Use IT strategically to address core business objectives. Top-ranking SMBs match the right IT initiative to their business goal. They are more aggressive at deploying advanced technologies such as mobile and cloud, and they focus on efficiency. For example, top-tier SMBs would consider using online collaboration tools and video conferencing to reduce landline and travel costs.
Keep your IT house in order. Especially when it comes to protecting data – data loss can be a death sentence for an SMB. In terms of security, SMBs are now being specifically targeted by cybercriminals. Top-tier SMBs understand the importance of keeping security up-to-date, and 81 percent aggressively employ security measures. The same pattern holds true for backup and disaster preparedness.