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Most SMBs say pandemic has helped them digitise

small business software
(Image credit: Pixabay)

The new ways of working enforced by the pandemic and related lockdowns has given many small businesses the impetus to greatly speed up their digitalisation process, new research has found.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of small businesses surveyed in a study by web hosting provider IONOS said that the pandemic has impacted digitalisation programs in a positive way, helping them stay efficient and effective during these difficult times.

The survey found a range of benefits linked to digitalisation, with almost one in four (39%) businesses saying it had helped them win new customers, and 64% said they have received positive feedback on new measures they've put in place.

SMB boost

Overall, nearly three quarters (74%) of SMBs say they now feel better prepared for future crises because of the technology they’ve established in recent months. In particular, online collaboration tools such as G Suite or Office 365 have seen a significant increase in use, along with email communications and digital newsletters to help keep current and potential customers better informed.

However it wasn't all positive responses, with 22% of SMBs saying they don’t believe digitalisation is required for their company, despite the benefits listed above and more.

“It’s clear that in the UK, small businesses are taking significant strides in their digitalisation efforts, and our survey results demonstrate the accelerating impact the pandemic has had on this process,” noted IONOS CEO Achim Weiss.

“However, it’s worrying to see that more than a fifth don’t actually think transformation is required. This shows a real gap in knowledge of the benefits for these businesses – something that the tech industry needs to work together to plug, and to ensure SMEs are as supported and well-informed on the topic as possible.”

The study, which also exained SMBs on the continent, found that the UK was slightly ahead of other European markets when it comes to seeing the benefits of digitising - with the majority (61%) of UK SMEs having an online presence, whereas only 39% of French SMEs, and not even half of Spanish SMEs (44%) had their own website set-up.

“Our survey confirms what we’ve seen over the past twelve months in the demand for our products: many small companies have realised that digitalisation can help them to get through the crisis," noted Achim. "With our world becoming increasingly digitalised, it is more important than ever to position one's company in such a way that it is both present online and able to work remotely to ensure long-term sustainability."