Three in four SMEs (76%) have invested in technology over the last 12 months to boost their innovative capacity, according to research undertaken by cloud accounting provider MYOB.
Other key findings from MYOB’s latest Business Monitor, which involved a survey of more than 1000 business owners and directors, also found that:
- Almost a third of respondents had acquired computer software and hardware, making it the dominant form of technological investment, followed by the acquisition of machinery and equipment.
- 78% believe technological advancements will impact their business in the next decade, while 40% expect this impact to be significant.
- 57% believe global giants such as Amazon, which is expected to commence operating in Australia next year, are forcing the local market to embrace innovation.
- 29% thought the biggest barrier to introducing and developing innovation the cost associated with this undertaking. Other barriers included excessive government regulation (26%) and inadequate government support (25%).
MYOB CEO Tim Reed said that while the findings indicate SMEs understand the need to make innovation a core component of their business, this doesn’t necessarily mean SMEs have to invest in expensive, cutting-edge technology – instead, they can derive huge value just by making small changes.
“Making the move to cloud software is a simple innovation that is easy for small businesses to adopt,” he told Dynamic Business. “Over the last 12 months we’ve seen first-hand businesses embrace online accounting solutions over old, desktop software which can often be onerous to use.
“Meanwhile, our survey revealed that 22% of businesses have a social media presence, and those using it saw an increase in enquiries and, in 54% of cases, greater interaction with customers. We also found half of businesses on social media said it made doing business easier.”
Commenting on the finding that around four in five SMEs believe new technologies will impact their business within the next ten years, Reed said: “The results revealed SMEs expected improved connectivity to be the technology that most impacts their business into the future, followed by cloud computing and the internet of things. When we looked further at the data, we found that Gen Y business owners were more likely to nominate big data and machine learning as having an impact on their business, and we are already seeing these changes hold, particularly in online businesses.”