SMEs embrace disruption, up their tech investment

Elizabeth Barry 26 July 2017 NEWS

small business innovation

A new survey from MYOB reveals 76% of SMEs have invested in innovation in the last 12 months.

The latest Business Monitor survey from MYOB shows that more businesses are embracing digital innovation, with more than three-quarters (76%) having invested in technology as a means for innovation in the last year. That means prioritising computer hardware or software, new machinery or up-skilling employees.

The survey of more than 1,000 small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) also found that businesses were recognising the importance of innovation for the future, with 78% of businesses surveyed believing advancements in technology will impact their business in the next ten years. A large percentage (40%) believes this impact will be "significant".

MYOB CEO Tim Reed said the survey results were pleasing.

"We're seeing SMEs walk-the-walk. They’re not throwing their hands in the air with these challenges, they’re investing in the required innovation which can provide a competitive edge into the future.”

However, the survey also found that there are still challenges ahead—namely, cost.

The Age of Change business report released by MYOB earlier this month found that 29% of small business owners thought the cost of innovation was the biggest barrier, followed by excessive government regulation (26%) and a lack of government support (25%).

While cost is an issue, Reed says there are still ways to innovate without upending your budget.

“Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive, cutting-edge technology investment. Small changes can deliver huge value to a business – whether that measure is time, money or an improved experience."

“One simple business innovation MYOB has seen first-hand is the migration from desktop accounting and embrace of online accounting solutions. Cloud accounting is becoming more automated to include bank feeds and bill capture, which improves efficiency and saves time,” he said.

Another example he gives is social media. The survey found that only 22% of businesses have a social media presence, and those using one said it led to more enquiries and 54% said it allowed more interaction with customers.

“We would encourage SMEs to continue to use innovative tools for their business and a social media presence is helping make life easier for many. Creating a social media presence and using it to interact with customers is a simple, innovative step that can help your business succeed.”

“The survey also tells us that size is no barrier to using social media – 27% of micro businesses have a business page of some kind, ahead of small, medium and sole traders."

Picture: Shutterstock

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