The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the pain points of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around security and data protection. 48 percent described security and data protection as being their number one IT challenges. 37 percent of businesses said that their employees had experienced virus, malware or security threats due to conditions imposed during the pandemic. As a result of those security issues, 47 percent of companies have acquired or upgraded IT security software or services. The findings were revealed by new research by Keypoint Intelligence ‘Top SMB IT Pain Points & Solutions’, created on behalf of Konica Minolta. It surveyed 550 SMB IT decision-makers in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic to identify their main challenges and pain points relating to technology.
SMBs encountered significant challenges in their effort to enable remote work in the wake of the pandemic: For example, 38 percent of IT decision-makers viewed managing remote work as being difficult or very difficult. For nearly half of SMBs (49 percent), the lack of necessary employee hardware or software was a difficulty associated with home-based working. Similarly, 44 percent of IT decision-makers identified servicing/supporting home workers’ IT hardware or software as a challenge. "As a likely consequence of this, 33 percent invested in managed IT services as a result of Covid-19," sums up Olaf Lorenz, Senior General Manager Digital Transformation Division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe.
In terms of day-to-day operations, home working also presented particular challenges relating to team communication and in accessing and collaborating on files: 51 percent of respondents identified communication with managers or other employees as a business operation challenge resulting from work-from-home arrangements. Meanwhile, 37 percent indicated that locating files was an IT challenge associated with working from home, while 30 percent cited digital document collaboration as business operations challenge resulting from employees working remotely. "From these findings, it is clear why 35 percent of SMBs have invested in document sharing and collaboration applications as a result of the pandemic," concludes Olaf Lorenz.
The challenge of remote working spurring digitilisation efforts
Other technologies also saw increased adoption: 45 percent acquired or upgraded cloud data storage as a result of Covid-19, for example. “The challenge of remote working has certainly spurred digitalisation efforts overall. In 65 percent of organisations, decision-makers said that the pressures of the pandemic had accelerated their journey towards greater digitalisation,” adds Olaf Lorenz. A common way to achieve this is to digitise documents. This is probably why 56 percent of organisations cited scanning initiatives prompted by Covid-19 as drivers for increased digitalisation. Against this background, it is nevertheless remarkable that many SMBs are still heavily reliant on paper-based processes with 42 percent of business content remaining on paper. 49 percent of organisations cited privacy and safety concerns as the main reason for still using paper.
‘The SMB IT and business operations pain points study’ was conducted from February to March 2021 and in collaboration with Keypoint Intelligence. It included 550 SMBs in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. Respondents were in the professional services, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality & leisure and real estate industries. Each of the organisations has 50-250 employees. Respondents included those holding IT and non-IT roles within their organisations.