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Training and Financing are Main Barriers to Technology Adoption for Colombian SMBs


ICT investments are focused on computer purchase and Internet use, but are not currently a integral part of business processes

BOGOTA, Colombia - Lack of technology knowledge and lack of financing are the main obstacles for the adoption of information and communication technologies by small and medium companies, according to a Cisco survey “Adoption and Use of ICT by Colombian SMBs”.

The study was sponsored by Cisco in association with the Colombian Micro, Small and Medium Business Association (ACOPI) to better understand how small businesses use and invest in technology, and how they can take advantage of IT to increase both productivity and competitiveness.

“Technology plays an increasingly important role in allowing small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to operate, capture new markets, reduce cost and be more competitive”, says Simbad Ceballos, country manager Cisco Colombia. “The study shows that SMBs could dramatically improve the use of technology, which is critical for the development of SMBs, and is a call to action for industry, government and business to work together to improve training initiatives and offering the best financing options.”
Main findings:

* 55.5 percent of the surveyed SMBs have websites.

* 69.5 percent of business respondents said they use the Web to communicate (chat and email, gaining clients, company marketing).

* 49 percent of SMBs are unaware of using the Internet for establishing relations with their clients (B2C), 48.5 percent are not familiar with using the Web for business to business transactions (B2B) and 46.5 percent are unaware of using the Internet for interacting with government.

* 61.5 percent of the surveyed companies have between 1 and 20 computers. 41.5 percent say they have networked PCs, and only 39.5 percent say that they have PCs connected to the Internet.

* 55 percent of the surveyed business respondents reported using IP telephony, and 45 percent said they are not familiar with this technology.

* 36 percent of SMBs stated they have at least 1 server, while 38.5 percent are unaware of this technology.

* 37 percent of the surveyed stated that they have a PBX, while 34 percent responded that they are not familiar with this technology.

* In regards to security, 39.5 percent of the persons surveyed stated that they have network security equipment and 57 percent have antivirus; 46 percent have some type of firewall.

* In terms of mobile devices (PDAs), 54 percent of SMBs report use of these devices.

* Only 23.5 percent of business respondents have data storage systems.

* 19.5 percent of SMBs are unaware of financial offers in the market for purchasing technology.

* 6 percent have technology that is leased, and only 15.5 percent use a service provider.

* In terms of types of financing, 21 percent of SMBs use short term loans for purchasing technology, 13 percent use long term loans and 11 percent use their own resources.

* For investments in IT, 30.5 percent of the entrepreneurs stated they use long term loans and 24.5 percent use medium term loans.

* According to the research, 45 percent of SMBs budget for between 500 and 1,000 dollars per year for the purchase and maintenance of computers and Internet services, while 37 percent do not have a budget for these types of investments.

Cisco’s “Adoption and Use of ICT by Colombian SMBs” was conducted by the Asociación Colombiana de las Micro, Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas (ACOPI) (Colombian Micro, Small and Medium Business Association) and by the Corporación para la Investigación Socioeconómica y Tecnológica de Colombia (CINSET) (Colombian Corporation for Socio Economic and Technologic Research), through a survey of 200 micro and SMBs on a national level.

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