TalkTalk Business research shows the channel can help British businesses embrace change and drive growth

Nine out of ten of British businesses recognise the importance of agility to grow their business, but SMEs are twice as likely to believe their organisations are agile enough to take opportunities for growth, a new study has shown.

Commissioned by TalkTalk Business, and conducted by Ovum, the Beta Business research surveyed 330 businesses and channel partners. The study unearths some significant frustrations for enterprises and SMEs, particularly around the lack of agility and the crucial role of the channel to help overcome these obstacles.

More than a quarter of SMEs say poor advice from vendors is the biggest barrier to their agility, with nearly 60 per cent believing they don't have the technology presently available to future-proof their business. Often with no IT function, determining who and how to educate SMEs can be present a challenge for the channel with 32 per cent of SMEs ranking staff IT literacy as the key barrier for achieving a more agile business. SMEs are looking to the channel for education and advice, not to just patch-up current systems.

Under-investment, security, business continuity and regulation were cited by respondents as the primary agility barriers for corporate and enterprises, and 40 per cent of firms are dissatisfied with the time needed by IT to process requests.

40 per cent of enterprises feel they are being held back by their technology, with just under half looking to the channel to help find solutions. The report highlights the need for the channel to implement change for customers as an iterative process, with three quarters of enterprises either being slow adopters of technology or only doing so as part of a mass adoption cycle.

Businesses of all sizes need to adopt a BETA state of mind that puts agility as a priority not an afterthought. Inspired by BETA successes such as Google Chrome, it calls for a move away from the 'rip and replace' mentality of old, to change being more incremental and in small steps. The channel should position itself as a knowledgeable long term partner, the report states, educating customers in the short term and benefitting from repeat revenue streams in the future.

Charles Bligh, Managing Director, TalkTalk Business said: "Agility is a key asset for businesses of all sizes and channel partners are in a unique position to help companies grow and adapt, by educating, advising and implementing updated IT and connectivity solutions.

"By providing the insight and knowledge needed, the channel can ensure that businesses maintain the bandwidth and network infrastructure to support data heavy applications and make British businesses better off."

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