More than half of European small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) believe that IT vendors are inflexible over financing arrangements or in providing tailored packages that suit their particular needs, according to research by HP.
SMBs in Italy felt this most strongly (64 per cent), and a quarter of all European SMBs believe that this directly hampers their growth.
Polish SMBs, which have arguably experienced the fastest economic change in recent years, are the most dissatisfied with IT vendors' inflexibility. Some 58 per cent stated that this inflexibility has directly limited their ability to upgrade workplace technology.
Two-thirds of SMBs believe that IT vendors should do more to cater to their business needs in terms of solutions, payment options and support.
Only Italian and Polish SMBs went on to agree that a supportive and flexible approach from IT vendors would directly help their growth.
The survey also found that 84 per cent of Europe's SMBs consider IT critical to productivity and control.
Of SMBs across Europe, Polish companies are the most pro-IT. Some 95 per cent stated that they would purchase a technology solution to alleviate their office issues.
But despite these findings SMBs seem optimistic about the future. Over four-fifths are 'positive' about their business outlook, and 46 per cent of UK SMBs are 'very positive' about the near-term future.
Second were the Spanish with 25 per cent feeling 'very positive' about the future. Least positive are French SMBs, 31 per cent of which admitted to 'not feeling very optimistic at all'.
Across the board, confusing EU legislation is the most immediate threat to European SMBs (55 per cent), even beating concerns over economic downturn (51 per cent).
The majority of respondents in all countries fear the impact of a global economic downturn, with UK SMBs feeling the most vulnerable.
Around 42 per cent of Spanish SMBs believe that international competition is the greatest potential threat to their business.
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