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Chamber SME E business Survey

Published: September 2002

Executive Summary

  • In almost half of all companies (45%) surveyed, over 80% of their staff used computers on a daily basis.
  • Similar numbers of companies purchased their computer equipment from a local retailer (33%) or direct from the manufacturer (32%). Companies with a turnover of €6.35million (£5million) were more likely to purchase directly from the manufacturer.
  • The majority of companies outsourced their technical support with only a third (37%) having internal IT support. However, this figure represents a 10% improvement on last years level of internal support.
  • Internet penetration appears to have stabilised (84%) within the SME market, with only a 3% increase on last year’s figure. Firms in the retail and wholesale industry were the least likely to have Internet capability (69%).
  • Over half (56%) of companies who do not have access to the internet say they are “very unlikely” (38%) or “rather unlikely” (18%) to establish an internet connection within the next 12 months, suggesting that internet penetration, in the short-term, will remain steady at its present rate.
  • 62% of companies have had access to the internet for more than 3 years, with virtually all companies (89%) on-line for over a year.
  • Connectivity to the internet via a standard telephone line (40%) is reducing close to last year’s figure (16%) at 13%. ISDN and dedicated leased lines are taking up the slack with a 9% and 3% growth respectively (47% and 9% connection) on last year’s figures.
  • 55% of companies have their own website – up 9% on last year. 68% of companies with a turnover of over €1.27million (£1million) have their own website.
  • 33% and 17% of SMEs respectively have intranet and extranet capability.
  • For over half of companies (57%) their website acted as an information point (on-line), however for almost a quarter (23%) it fulfilled a more sophisticated role – allowing on-line transactions (26%), and with front and back end integration (7%).
  • Sourcing information and e-mail are the most common e-business applications for companies with internet access. The use of on-line banking has grown by 21% to over half (55%) of companies and is forecasted to grow by a further 10% within the next year. On-line  purchasing from suppliers (46%) and the on-line receipt of orders from customers (40%) were also prominent e-business applications used by businesses.
  • The majority of companies (92%) expect their use of the internet and involvement in e-business to increase over the next 5 years, 8% expected their usage to remain the same.
  • The main obstacles to e-business have remained unchanged from last year - “the cost of specialist technical skills in computer/e-business specialist companies” (46%) and “concerns regarding security when passing confidential information electronically” (41%). Concerns with regards to these two issues have increased in the last year, with a 7% and 5% increase respectively. Legal and regulatory uncertainty (32%) and the lack of broadband (40%) services in Ireland were further e-business obstacles.
  • There was strong agreement with the statements that “technology and the Internet are increasing the pace at which we do business” (67%) and that it was “… allowing closer collaboration between trading partners and customers” (66%). 


Chamber-SME-E-business-Survey-2002.pdf-121683Click here to download the full report: Chamber SME E-business survey