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SMBs are not using technology to their full advantage and channel resellers could be the ones to help them to that end, a new survey says.
The report, released by AMD and Lenovo Thursday, found that SMBs are increasingly strapped for resources and cash due to the current economic climate and, as a result, many are cutting corners and putting data at risk rather than taking advantage of opportunities to save on costs. In addition, some SMBs face a "knowledge gap" with regards to some of the latest technology.
Harris Interactive, which conducted the survey, questioned 722 participants, who were all adults in the U.S. and who either own or work for a business with no more than 500 employees.
In an interview with CRN on Friday, Jay McBain, director of small and medium business at Lenovo, said technology in general is becoming an integral part of running small and medium-sized businesses -- whether it's e-mail, social networking or the use of various software platforms. And according to AMD and Lenovo, channel resellers are in a position to provide SMBs with the solutions they currently lack for networking, storage, communications and design.
The survey found that only 13 percent say they're using an online storage service, while 50 percent of SMBs use USB thumb drives and CDs/DVDs to backup important information.
As for wireless capability, 25 percent of respondents said they or someone in their company piggyback other available Wi-Fi networks to conduct business. With multiple users sharing one connector in a variety of ways, piggy-backing creates a security threat and raises privacy issues, McBain said, attributing the problem to a knowledge gap.
In addition, 70 percent of small businesses are not using Voice Over IP for business calls. Additionally, 87 percent of small business professionals are either somewhat or not at all familiar with the term “unified communications,” which is the integration of voice, video, audio and instant messaging tools.
McBain said some SMBs may be held back in the integration of new technology because of the use of industry jargon, as some may not have heard the term unified communications. Nevertheless, McBain said VoIP appeared to be a significant opportunity for the channel in addition to networking and storage. However, he said solution providers would need to overcome a knowledge gap with small businesses.
"It's an awareness issue," he said, "We need to educate small businesses on what technologies are available. Retailers and e-tailers aren't going through this discussion with businesses, their focused on consumers."