SMBs Bypassing Cost Savings, Technology Benefits, Vendors' Study Says

Lenovo and AMD-sponsored study finds financially stressed SMB community not leveraging full effect of technology to reduce costs, improve efficiency and security.

December 11, 2010

D.H. Kass

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A study sponsored by chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and PC maker Lenovo Group Ltd. of technology use by small businesses revealed that many are scuffling with cutting costs yet shunning some aspects of technology that could makes their operations more efficient and secure.

The Lenovo-AMD Small Business Tech Survey was conducted online by researcher Harris Interactive Inc. on the vendors’ behalf from mid-October into early November of some 722 adults who either owned or worked at a business of fewer than 500 employees.

The results suggested a business segment hit hard by the economic downturn and slow recovery, with resources stretched thin and struggling to stay afloat. Some 85 percent of the respondents acknowledged that they conduct work outside of the office and 72 percent said that rarely do they take an email-free vacation.

To keep up with their workload, about 38 percent of the small business professionals use a laptop computer while 31 percent rely on a smartphone.

The survey findings indicated that while many small businesses back up critical business data, a startling number resort to using unreliable media, a practice that could result in lost files and additional expense. For example, some 50 percent of the respondents use USB thumb drives and CD/DVDs to backup important information and only 40 percent back up files to external hard drives.

A scant 13 percent of the study’s participants said that they store critical information online through cloud-based services.

Similarly, a surprisingly high number of the study’s participants admitted to conducting business online using unsecured WiFi networks, in effect, risking confidential data might be seen by others at best, or, at worst, high-jacked.

Some 25 percent of the respondents said that they, or someone in their company, use unsecured WiFi networks to conduct business and nearly 20 percent of senior-level executives and business owners admit to the practice.

The study also found that 70 percent of small businesses are not using Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) for low cost audio and video communications. Moreover, nearly 90 percent of small business professionals in the survey were unfamiliar with unified communications, or the integration of voice, video, audio and instant messaging tools.

Lenovo used the study to tout its line of ThinkPad Edge laptop computers based on AMD’s technology, certain models of which the vendor believes address a number of SMB-related technology issues arising from the study.

TAGS: SMB,AMD,Lenovo,technology,VoIP

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