Despite the availability, many small and medium-size enterprise (SME) owners in Greece have failed to incorporate information and communication technology into their businesses, a recent study by Microsoft on a sample of 300 such firms has found.
The study notes that Greek SMEs spend little money on developing their technological capacity, even though they are aware of the important role technology can play in boosting productivity and giving them competitive advantage.
Furthermore, very few of the businesses surveyed use digital tools for promoting sales, such as online stores, while a significant proportion do not take advantage of services such as cloud computing or long-distance IT consultancy and services.
The survey revealed that just 56 percent of SMEs in Greece have a website advertising their company and products or services, 49 percent have some kind of presence on social media networks, and 20 percent offer online services to their customers.
The proportion whose websites have been adapted for use on smartphones is even lower, at 17 percent, while just 16 percent offer online retail.
The rates change depending on the size of the business surveyed, with the bigger ones making better use of technology than their smaller counterparts. For example, 77 percent of businesses with a staff of 50 to 250 employees have a website, while just four in 10 businesses with a staff of one to nine people can be found on the web.
According to the responses provided by the heads of the surveyed businesses, the researchers concluded that just 14 percent of Greek SMEs run a paperless business, 24 percent appear to use large quantities of paper in their day-to-day activities, while 58 percent admitted that while they are constantly trying to streamline operating procedures, they still use a lot of paper.
Another interesting finding to emerge from the study concerns how the business heads view their spending on information technology: 49 percent said they spend less or a lot less than what the business needs, and 41 percent believe they spend what’s necessary. Only 6 percent of Greek SME owners said they overspend on technology.
Nevertheless, the business heads do seem to realize that IT can give businesses multiple benefits and advantages. Almost seven in 10 said technology plays an important role in communication between employees, between the business and its clients, in making agreements with suppliers, in streamlining operation procedures, creating new products, innovation, etc.
These rates also depend on the size of the business, with the smaller ones recognizing the benefits of technology at a rate of 60 percent and the larger ones at a rate of almost 80 percent.