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Study: IT on the Cheap Causes Problems

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If you’ve cheaped out on your office technology, a new study claims you’ll pay the price.  

Yes, the study is from Hewlett Packard, but still the results are eye-opening: Nearly every small business surveyed (93 percent) admitted they tried to save money instead of buying what they really wanted. Of those, 89 percent reported at least some problems as a result of penny-pinching. The survey – conducted by Wakefield Research – polled 500 small business owners.

The top three IT problems: low-performing hardware (46 percent), out-of-date hardware (37 percent), and unreliable hardware (23 percent) The most needed upgrade: Faster processors, cited by over a third (35 percent) of businesses. A distant second, with 19 percent, was more reliable components.

"The survey findings confirm that budget-constrained small businesses are playing tug of war when it comes to balancing smart IT purchasing decisions and their budgets," Stephen DiFranco, the general manager of HP’s Personal Systems Group – Americas, said in a statement.

Not surprisingly, IT managers surveyed think the best solution is to upgrade to newer and better quality components (29 percent). About a fifth (21 percent) think the answer is investing more money in IT systems, and 13 percent say they should spend more time planning and researching the best solutions for the company’s needs. (Two in five IT managers think planning company IT strategy is the best use of their time, compared to 11 percent who think their time is best spent on hardware support.)

Other survey findings: Just over half (54 percent) of small businesses say summer is the peak season for working remotely. At the same time, 58 percent of those surveyed said they haven’t invested in network security this year. (For a selection of Inc advice, click here.) 

Last updated: Jul 28, 2011

COURTNEY RUBIN

Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.




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