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Complex Technology Wastes Up To 12 Days A Year For SMEs

Lack of technical knowledge as IT and telecoms become more complex means most small business owners are spending up to 12 days a year managing their providers, according to a study.

The problem for small businesses is they do not have the resources to employ dedicated technical staff and the small business owner manager ends up taking on the role. The report from Opal - mobile firm Talk Talk’s business division - looked at how 300 small businesses managed their IT and telecoms.

Just over half the businesses (51%) have more than four suppliers and more than 90,000 SME businesses have seven suppliers.

Most owner managers cited lack of knowledge and knowing who to trust as one of the biggest issues they face in dealing with technology issues.

About 20% said dealing with technology issues takes them away from their core responsibilities.

The two hours a week 13% of owners spend on managing their providers adds up to 12 days a year. The majority of owners (42%) who agreed they spend an hour a week managing providers actually spend a working week every year as downtime.

Lack of knowledge also emerged as a key issue for the owner-manager:

    * 10% said they didn't know what they were doing and made mistakes

    * 7% agreed they find technology complicated and frustrating

Chris Collinson, Small Business Director at Opal, said: "Small business owners, particularly owner-managers, are often required to wear many different hats which takes them away from their core business role - ranging from HR to finance, operations to marketing, telecoms to IT. We want them to be able to do what they do best - run their business.

"We regularly hear stories from small business owners who tell us that managing IT and telecoms providers take up a huge amount of their time. They are faced with countless phone calls and meetings with vendors and frequently have to 'learn on the job' - often ending up making mistakes and causing themselves even more technical problems. “


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