Mundane IT problems are the biggest headache for SMEs in the UK, according to research released this week.
A poll of 200 UK IT managers and directors found that 37 per cent of UK SMEs said that regular IT hassles are their biggest bugbear, followed by IT security which 32 per cent identified as a major problem.
However, security was more of a problem for smaller businesses, 35 per cent of which identified security as one of their top two headaches as opposed to just 27 per cent of larger firms with 50-250 employees.
The research was carried out by Connect Support Services, an IT support company for small to medium sized businesses.
Mark MacGregor, chief executive at Connect, said: "Much of the IT debate revolves around what we would call 'big ticket' items like mobile working, web 2.0 or open source software.
"While we are certainly not dismissing those concepts, the reality is that, for the entrepreneurs and owner-managers that drive much of the innovation and growth in our economy, the issues are really much simpler."
The other key issues cited by the companies surveyed also related to 'day-to-day' IT problems, particularly the lack of understanding by staff in the use of IT.
However, while only 20 per cent of smaller companies perceived this to be a problem, the comparable figure for companies with 51-250 employees was 42 per cent. Just over a quarter cited cost as one of their two biggest headaches.
Although there is widespread agreement as to the critical issues, there are some revealing discrepancies between the smaller (fewer than 50 employees) and the bigger (51-250 employees) firms, according to MacGregor.
"It is not unexpected to see that the smaller firms are more worried about cost, but it is surprising to find that bigger firms are more worried than smaller firms that their staff do not understand IT," he said.
"You would expect bigger firms to have larger training budgets, so there is a clear disconnect in terms of how the larger firms communicate with employees and develop their IT skills."
The poll also found that 19 per cent of all those surveyed perceive email/internet downtime as one of their top two headaches. But this is much more of an issue for smaller companies than for their larger counterparts.
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