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Small businesses losing competitiveness with old technology

Australian small businesses are dragging their feet when it comes to taking up new technology, with thousands still not using computers or mobile phones. That’s one of the findings from a comprehensive new tech survey of Australian businesses with 1 to 19 staff by analysts IDC.

Telstra Business commissioned the research ahead of the launch tomorrow of a new generation of digital business products for small business.

Group Managing Director Telstra Business, Deena Shiff, said one of the key take-outs was small business needed special care and advice because owners were ‘nervous or afraid’ when it came to new technology.

The survey showed that more than one in ten operate without even a desktop PC, almost a quarter still don’t use standard mobiles while 45% don’t have smart phones, approximately half of businesses don’t have a website and don’t use online transactions in their business and 71% don’t have a network that allows staff to store files that can be accessed by co-workers.

Ms Shiff said while technology is one thing that can help a small business improve productivity and compete with larger companies, it was clear many were not keeping pace with changes.

“To put it simply, many are driving around old utes when they could be driving around in a flash new truck,” Ms Shiff said.

“There’s a core of small business operators who are very interested and quite ambitious when it comes to using technology as a business tool, but almost half describe themselves as being cautious or not interested.”

“The research shows as providers of new technology, Telstra has more to do in educating small business on the potential productivity gains to be made and how to make better use of updated communications tools.

“It’s important for our economy as we prepare for new higher bandwidth networks. The small business sector really is the backbone of the Australian economy and we can’t afford to see it left behind,” Ms Shiff said.