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Australian SMEs unhappy with internet providers: Report

Australia’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are unable to realise the full potential of the cloud due to internet speeds and costs.

Those are the findings from a report released by Australian business management solutions company MYOB. Over 1000 owners of small and medium businesses (SMBs) were surveyed, revealing 24 per cent of businesses are dissatisfied with their internet connection speed and 23 per cent are unhappy with the price they have to pay.

The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) is expected to help, with 47 per cent saying they believe the NBN would have a positive impact on their business.

“As we realise improvements in the nation’s online infrastructure via the NBN roll out, the benefits to Australian businesses and the economy will be significant,” MYOB CTO Simon Raik-Allen said.

“The results show that SMEs who use cloud computing are reporting stronger revenue growth than those who are yet to embrace cloud technologies.”

46 per cent of SMB owners are now using cloud computing, marking a 9 per cent rise in the last six months. Of those businesses using cloud computing, 27 per cent saw their revenue increase in the last 12 months. Non-cloud users saw a 20 per cent increase in revenue.

The year ahead also looks good for cloud users. 39 per cent are expected to see a rise in revenue, compared with 27 per cent of non-cloud users.

Online/Social Media

The amount of SMEs with an online presence has risen by 11 per cent since August 2014. 55 per cent of Australian SMEs now have an online presence thanks to a business website or social media services.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook lead the social media platforms for businesses. 18 per cent have a Facebook presence, followed closely by the 17 per cent using LinkedIn. The retail and hospitality sector are the highest users of Facebook (38 per cent), while businesses focusing on professional services and property businesses are most likely to be using LinkedIn (22 per cent). Twitter came surprisingly low among social media services, with only 7 per cent of businesses using the channel to connect with customers.

While online use is climbing, the amount of businesses using social media has dropped by 5 per cent from the amount registered in August 2014. The latest survey revealed only 26 per cent of businesses are using social media, highlighting the uneven practice of promotion without social interaction.

Of businesses with websites, 41 per cent cited the generating of sales leads as the main benefit. 39 per cent said a website boosts their brand image, and 35 per cent said it makes it easier for customers to do business with them.

Businesses focusing on social media found different benefits, highlighting an increase in their interaction with customers (49 per cent) as the most positive factor. Generating sales leads came second with 38 per cent, and an increase in their business’ appeal to younger customers was pointed out by 31 per cent.

Online payments

Despite the growth of cloud-based services and the strengthening demand from customers, only 31 per cent of businesses accept online payment from their customers. Agribusiness is leading the Australian business world in terms of online payments, with 47 per cent accepting this form of transaction. The transport sector came next with 35 per cent and businesses in hospitality followed closely with 34 per cent.

“We need to do all we can to support more SMEs to adopt online payment as it will benefit their bottom line and the national economy more broadly,” Mr Raik-Allen said.

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Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo Troncoso

Guillermo is the Editor of Dynamic Business and Manager of film &amp; television entertainment site ScreenRealm.com. Follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/gtponders">Twitter</a>.

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