Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/11/small_business_owners_it_budgets/

Small biz cheapskates fail the Tech industry

Bye bye to Buy! Buy!

By Drew Cullen

Posted in Small Biz, 11th February 2007 04:28 GMT

Another day, another silly survey, this time claiming that nearly two million UK small businesses are "putting their data and productivity at risk by using old technology to run their business". Why? because they replace their PCs rarely or never, and miss out on all sorts of good things, such as happy staff, cheaper running costs, smaller "footprints" and lower repair bills.

The survey by BizHelp24 - a website which dispenses advice to small business owners - bases its conclusions on responses from workers, owners and managers of about 360 SMEs (small and medium enterprises). From this sample it concludes that half of the UK's small businesse are delinquent in their duty to keep the world's IT vendor community afloat.

Says Colin Duguid, managing director of BizHelp24: "Businesses that have invested in good technology may be justified in keeping it for several years, but it is worrying that so many businesses say they do not need to update their technology at all."

How will the plumbers and painters, the hairdressers and florists manage without their Intel Core Duo PCs and their Vista upgrades?

Small businesses may be more tardy typically than larger businesses with their technology refreshes, but this is not because they are more stupid. It is rational to keep onto what you have for as long as possible: it is green to be mean. The owner is spending his money, or at least, he treats it as if it his money. Almost certainly he has probably been stung in previous dealings with tech suppliers: the benefits of IT purchases are invariably, overstated, invariably induce headaches and invariably cost more than budgeted for.

Indeed, big businesses could learn a bit about intelligent thrift from their smaller brethren. For starters, kick out the corporate email server - Reg columnist Cormac O'Reilly explains why. ®