IT Investment Key to Recession Survival
New technology such as faster broadband and social networking has increased firms chances of surviving the recession by helping them cut costs and attract new customers, research from BT has revealed.
BT’s Business Pulse survey of 7,200 small firms, which the telecom giant claims is the largest survey of UK small businesses this year, found that firms that have invested in technology during the downturn have fared better than those who have not.
The research found that 28% of firms said that they had found new customers using new technology, and 30% said it had saved them money.
In addition, 40% of firms said ecommerce technology was benefiting their business, while 61% said faster broadband had a positive impact.
“The results show that firms that are at the forefront of technology have been less impacted by the recession,”
aid BT spokesman, Mark Walsh
“Businesses were asked about the performance of their business and the measures they have taken to weather the storm. This gave us a glance into how damaging the recession has been.
“We then cross-referenced this with businesses that have chosen to be at the forefront of technology, to see how they have coped. It was clear that they coped better than those that hadn’t.”
Ecommerce consultant, James Gurd, agreed that investing in technology such as social media can help firms get through the recession.
“Businesses should showcase their product and their brand through their website and social media,” he said. “All firms now should have some sort of online presence, whether or not their logistics allow them to actually sell online.”
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) head of public affairs, Stephen Alambritis, said that investing in new technology is not a priority for all small firms, and that some businesses thrive without it.
“It is not true that the firms that are at the forefront of technology cope better than those that aren’t. There are a lot of businesses that know their customers well and give a personal service and they would still do very well without having all the latest technology.”
The BT survey also showed that 29% of firms would only bring in technology when needed.
“If firms have the money available, now is the time to invest in it while business is slower,” said Alambritis. “But these are tough times, so if they can’t afford to invest in technology, retaining staff and keeping customers happy are equally important, as well as keeping costs down.”