U.K. small businesses lack government IT guidance, according to study

Small businesses are not consulting the government for IT guidance, even though they often lack expertise themselves, according to a new report.

The limited money and IT expertise available to small businesses meant they were dependent on the government for advice, the University of London report said.

But in interviews with 500 small to medium businesses in the food, clothing, manufacturing and financial services industries, many businesses admitted they were not taking action and approaching the government for advice.

None of the small financial businesses had asked for government guidance. Only one per cent of small manufacturers, three per cent of clothing companies and five per cent of food firms had asked for help.

As a result, very few of the firms accepted orders online or made the most out of their IT, the report said.

Dr. Romano Dyerson, one of the report’s authors, said small businesses may be put off by the quality or availability of advice. “The survey finds that SMEs are poorly served by government and policy providers,” he said. “What is unclear is whether this reflects a lack of provision on the part of official bodies or is an indication of advice offered.”

He added: “SMEs find themselves in a difficult situation — too small to employ a dedicated ICT expert and lacking the resources to buy consultancy advice.”

The report was conducted by the Royal Holloway, part of the University of London, in collaboration with software consultants Nammis.

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