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IT's so hard, say SMEs

Can't live with it, can't live without it

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Small businesses are finding it hard keep pace with changes in technology. At the same time, though, SMEs accept that IT is of value even if firms are not even able to make full use of it.

This mixed picture comes from a survey by Lloyds TSB Business and the Open University which found that Britain's small firms are proving sluggish in embracing new technology.

The study found that a quarter of small firms find it hard to keep pace with technological change, while a fifth said that IT has taken the 'personal touch' out of working relationships. The study also showed that IT skills need to be improved.

At the same time, two thirds of SMEs admitted they would not be able to operate without their current level of investment in IT, while almost half recognised that spending on technology was vital if their business was to remain competitive.

Stephen Pegge, head of Communications, Lloyds TSB Business, warned: "If small businesses fail to invest for the future, they may not meet customers' expectations and could find they are soon overtaken by more efficient and more productive competitors. It's part of our responsibility as a bank to help small firms make the best use of technology to maximise their potential." ®

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