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UK printer firm still uses IBM Datamaster PC

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Small firms are not investing enough in office technology to ensure their future growth, according to corporate turnaround specialist Begbies Traynor.

In a confidential poll, the firm asked over 200 individual owner-managers of small businesses which was their oldest piece of office technology still in regular use including computer software and hardware, printers, fax machines, photocopiers and video recorders.

The research found over half of the firms were still regularly using technology up to five years old and well over a third (37 per cent) were using equipment and software between six and ten years old.

The study cited examples of a travel and tourism operator based in the Midlands using a 16 year-old Telex machine and a firm of printers in the North East still using a ten year old IBM Datamaster PC with 8 inch floppy drive.

And the oldest laptop computer named in the survey was a Tandy, which had been used by a North West printing firm for the past eight years.

Nick Hood, senior London partner at Begbies Tranor said it came as little surprise there was still so much older technology in everyday use.

“A part of me thinks this might be because smaller firms are prudent to get the best out of fully functioning equipment and it’s pointless replacing something that does the job.

“But another part worries that this is actually a sign too many small firms are not keeping up to date – modern software and hardware is very efficient and, for not much cost these days, many of the companies we spoke to could really up their information flow,” he said.

According to research carried out by Mintel, price is the major factor for smaller firms when deciding whether or not to renew office technology.

Begbies Traynor advises small businesses that they can still take advantage of the 100 per cent first-year tax allowance when purchasing information and communication technology until March 31, 2004.

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