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Irish SMEs bamboozled by technology

Mobiles the answer to daunting tech, says O2

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Irish mobile operator O2 released results of its survey which it claims shows that "complexity turns business users off technology" and that many companies surveyed found technology "too confusing".

The third annual TNS MRBI poll of small and medium-sized businesses for O2 reveals that 21 per cent of SMEs found technology too confusing. This figure rises to 26 per cent in firms employing between one and three people.

The survey also found that security and virus issues are big turn-offs for firms using technology, with 21 per cent citing this as their major criticism. Reliability was an issue for seven per cent, while 15 per cent are "fed up" with spam.

Marketing director for O2 Ireland Paul Farrell (unsurprisingly) said mobile phones were the answer to all these ills. "If the mobile sector can continue to deliver critical business services, like email, in a user friendly manner, then the mobile, whether it is a phone or BlackBerry, will increasingly become the communications device of choice for many business users," he said.

Just under one third of those surveyed by O2 described their personal computer skills as poor or non-existent, while 50 per cent rated their PC skills as average.

The survey shows 35 per cent of SMEs use texting (SMS) for business purposes - up six points from last year's survey. In addition, 37 per cent use texting frequently for business purposes, up from 26 per cent last year.

"Young people were the first to identify and exploit the benefits of texting. This study, and indeed our own experience with customers, suggests that many firms are now discovering the business benefits as well," added Farrell.

According to the research, only 37 per cent of SMEs have a website. "Twenty-eight percent of firms employing less than three people have a website which is perhaps understandable, but we were a little surprised that only 56 per cent of those employing more than 10 people possess a website."

O2 Ireland commissioned TNS MRBI to survey 300 owners, managers, or directors of Irish businesses employing less than 250 employees.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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