Only a third (33 per cent) of UK SMEs have reported adopting flexible working technologies, with the remaining two thirds highlighting perceived difficulties to integrate these technologies into their day-to-day operation as a barrier to adoption, according to a new survey by LifeSize, the HD video solutions provider.
The much needed cash injection of Ã‚Â£40bn to support SMEs in the UK, announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in his Autumn Budget statement, will make it easier and cheaper for SMEs to secure credit. This, when coupled with planned funding in broadband and coverage improvements, will afford SMEs better access to, and usage of, high quality communications tools, thereby aiding their continued growth.
Even though 30 per cent of respondents state that delivering flexible working is a top priority for 2012, more than half (58 per cent) of those surveyed feel it is not easy to adopttechnologies within their business.
However, the poll of 1,000 senior decision-makers revealed that almost half of those surveyed (47 per cent) believe technology such as video communications, remote server systems and cloud computing would help them during their work day.
These technologies can help businesses to deliver an experience that can replace many of the reasons to travel and improve both customer and supplier experiences. Video communications can also allow UK-based SMEs to seamlessly reach and service customers offshore and potentially improve the UK export figures in the process.
For those SMEs that did have flexible and remote working policies in place, the most popular technology to facilitate these schemes was video communications (59 per cent). Additionally, 44 per cent of businesses equip employees with tablet devices to help them work on the move or from home.
With almost a third (32 per cent) of SMEs feeling the effects of the economic downturn on their business, 64 per cent have had to reduce face-to-face meetings and 36 per cent stated that more meetings are now conducted by video conferencing systems or over the phone to better manage costs.
Michael Stephens, UK and Ireland general manager at LifeSize, said: “SMEs will welcome the Government cash injection and reduced cost of borrowing. However, with the cost of travel set to increase, the predicted bad weather and the continuous need to reduce costs will mean looking for innovative ways to do things differently. One way is to introduce a high quality, interoperable and business-ready solutions at an accessible cost. Businesses of all sizes are cutting costs across the board but perceive that it is too complex to implement the required technologies to enable their staff to work efficiently from any location. This couldn’t be further from the truth as there are a range of cloud based solutions available to provide enterprise quality communication and productivity tools to businesses of all sizes.”