Just a third of small to medium businesses (SMBs) believe that IT is critical to the day-to-day running of operation, according to a Microsoft-sponsored survey.
This is despite three-quarters saying they would be better off if they had more sophisticated IT available to them.
Some 43 per cent said they don't have adequate resources to manage IT and over a third still use consumer email services, but most were unaware that they could outsource their IT services to hosting companies, the poll found.
"Small businesses still spend a significant amount of their time fixing IT," said Michael Korbacher, director of web and apps hosting for the communications sector in EMEA at Microsoft. He added that managing directors of SMBs spend as much as 15 to 20 per cent of their time fixing IT.
Korbacher told IT PRO that SMBs suffer "a kind of envy of larger enterprises, and the systems they can afford to run."
"If you look at large business, you can see there's a good case to say small businesses are not getting as much out of IT as larger companies," agreed Dale Vile, industry analyst at Freeform Dynamics. "Larger organisations use technology to be more efficient and small businesses have less opportunity to do that."
The survey also suggested that just a quarter of SMBs in the UK use social networking to talk to their customers or find new ones. "From a UK perspective, the bleeding edge stuff, like mobile and social networking, we're a little bit behind," Vile said.
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